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In story: July Open Thread

General Observation
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When analyzing the United States it must be kept in mind 67% of Americans reject the Theory of Evolution.

Meaning: 67% of Americans have the Knowledge and Critical Thinking Skills of a medieval peasant.  

Therefore: whenever there is a choice between deciding an action was based on ignorant stupidity or a rational deeply laid plan .... go with ignorant stupidity.

by ATinNM on
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I have a phone camera, but I don't have cable tv.  My understanding is, this new presenter's name is Jake Tapper.




by Cat on
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I just learned today that the 'glorious' revolution of 1688 was basically a Dutch invasion. Funny how that got dropped from the history books.

Anyway, now that your default no-deal crash Brexit case looks prescient, my cynical detachment is dissipating.

Having sat on their hands, Labour maybe will simply collect when the Tories have turned it all into shit. The problem is time is running out and there may not be much left to collect once this show has crashed. A bad accident of history is just waiting to happen.

Am I naive to think that those mad contortions in the Commons can not possibly be a deliberate strategy? An anarchic chaos strategy chanced upon by May to let the contradictions of Brexit fully run its course so that... what? Find soft Brexit? No Brexit? In another election or referendum? I would welcome the irony if it (accidentally) came to pass (with lots of unwitting Brexiteer help) but I don't think so.

As Chris Grey says: "Brexit in its nature is divisive, but it's quite an achievement to have alienated every shade of opinion." Ms May is simply not the type to ride the surfing board of chaos very well.

In conclusion, I'm not stocking up on spam but I am looking to expedite the sale of my UK stocks.

by epochepoque on
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Wow, I've finally found someone who is even more pessimistic than I.

I've always seen the negative effects of Brexit as being long term and incremental rather than short-term and dramatic. More a case of people being in denial rather than widespread social unrest.

But hey, you live in the UK and I don't. Maybe you have a better sense of what is lurking just beneath the surface.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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by Cat on
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I'm increasingly pessimistic.

I think we'll see an asteroid-crash disaster in March, followed by riots and social unrest, followed by a state of national emergency, followed by a fascist government, with close ties to the US far-right and Russia.

Which presumably was the plan all along.

I take little comfort from the fact that I'll have left by then, because a lot of people I know will still be here.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on
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In story: HTTPS Cert Added

Re: HTTPS Cert Added
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I re-inserted same macro and it worked. Thanks!

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: HTTPS Cert Added

Re: HTTPS Cert Added
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hard to tell. "Pew Research Study on Populism in the EU" is now on recommended list but my new diary with 4 recommends isn't.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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Yes but there is no transition period if there is no deal, and formally the UK is out of the EU next March regardless. Anything agreed during the transition period will require the unanimous agreement of the Council as it would for any deal involving a non member.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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Trump could not have been more damaging to May if he had tried, and presumably that was the intention. He undercut the whole logic of her negotiating position (based on retaining access to the EU market but also getting a free trade deal with the USA) and praised her chief critic and arch rival, Boris Johnson.  His démarche on Putin also destroys her policy on Russia and the Novichok attacks. He utterly humiliated her and then promptly lavished praise on her after their meeting undermining his own credibility even further - if that was possible.

Frankly I don't write about him because there is nothing worth writing about. He has nothing positive to contribute to anything. Ironically, his undermining of cold war narratives has its positive aspects, but even here he is totally inconsistent, criticising Merkel's Germany for making deals with Russia while trying to do the same. If it's not about Trump he is negative or disinterested. All he is doing is uniting most of the world against him (and the USA). In that sense he may even be helping increase internal EU solidarity.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: Trump Meets Putin [Updated]

Putin Suggest Offer 12 GRU officers for Browder
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I did take notes, quite extensively, and there were some very interesting points made in this session ... some highlights.

News conference: Q&A Session with the presidents of Russia and the United States

Question: For President Putin, if I could follow up as well... Why should Americans and why should President Trump believe your statement that Russia did not intervene in the 2016 election given the evidence that US intelligence agencies have provided? And will you consider extraditing the 12 Russian officials that were indicted last week by a US grand jury?

Donald Trump: We, I'm going to let the President answer the second part of this question, but, as you know, the whole concept of that came up perhaps a little bit before, but it came out as a reason why the Democrats lost an election, which, frankly, they should have been able to win, because the Electoral College is much more advantageous for Democrats, as you know, than it is for Republicans. We won the Electoral College by a lot - 306 to 223, I believe - and that was a well-fought battle. We did a great job, and, frankly, I am going to let the President speak to the second part of your question, but just to say it one time again, and I say it all the time: there was no collusion; I didn't know the President; there was nobody to collude with; there was no collusion with the campaign.

...

VladimirPutin: Regarding whom you can believe and whom you can't, you shouldn't believe anyone. What makes you think President Trump trusts me and that I fully trust him? He defends the interests of the United States of America. I defend the interests of the Russian Federation. We do have converging interests, and we are seeking common ground. We have issues that we disagree on so far. We are seeking options to settle these differences and make our work more constructive.

...
Second, as for the 12 alleged Russian intelligence officers, I don't know about this yet. I have to find out what it is you're talking about. The President also asked me this question.

What can I say? Generally, we talked about this, but now it occurs to me what I can suggest. There is the Treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1999. By the way, this has proven effective. We initiate up to 150 legal proceedings in Russia at the request of other countries. Several years ago, our former nuclear industry minister was extradited by the United States to Russia and received a sentence in court here. It is an effective treaty. The treaty provides concrete procedures for cooperation.

We can suggest that your relevant commission led by US Special Counsel - what is his name, Mr Mueller or Meller? - should send us, in compliance with this treaty, an official request for interrogating the people that he believes to be guilty of committing a crime. Our Prosecutor-General's Office and investigative agencies can interrogate these people and forward the relevant materials to the United States.

Moreover, we can take another step to meet you halfway. We can allow US official representatives, including those from the Mueller-led commission, to be present at the interrogation. Certainly, in this case, we will be seeking reciprocal steps from the United States. We'll expect the American party to interrogate the officials, including the US intelligence officers, who are suspected of committing illegal acts in Russia, in the presence of our investigation officers.

I mean the high-profile case, involving [Bill] Browder's Hermitage Capital company. According to our investigative officers, a group of people - Mr Browder's business partners - who illegally made over $1.5 billion in Russia did not pay taxes either in Russia or the United States but transferred this money to the United States. They contributed $400 million to Ms Clinton's election campaign. This is official information included in their reports - $400 million. Well, it was up to them, they might have done this legally, but the gains were ill-gotten.

We have grounds to suspect that US intelligence officers supported these illegal transactions. This is only one step forward. We can talk about expanding our cooperation. You're welcome, there might be options that are provided for in the appropriate intergovernmental treaty.

US/UK Point Man in Anti-Russia Campaign Speaks Up
Fusion GPS Transcript of Testimony Released

    Quite interesting, Glenn Simpson worked for a Russian oligarch to defeat the Magnitsky Act. In his testimony Simpson literally destroys Bill Browder!!! See also my earlier diaries ....

The Story Behind Chris Steele - Ukraine and Nuland
Khodorkovsky, Browder and the Magnitsky Act

by Oui on
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In story: Europe is not a market, it is the will to live together

Re: Europe is...the will to live together
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Pools in the UK are still relatively balanced between Labour and the Conservatives, although Labour has taken a small lead recently. Polls asking how voters would vote in a second referendum on the EU, if held now, have also been reasonably balanced until recently, when the Remain side has taken a small lead.

So while it is by no means a slam dunk, the likelihood is that voters would vote to remain and would vote in a Labour government if given the choice. These trends have yet to have much impact on sentiment in Westminster, however, where attitudes have polarised and hardened.

The Lib Dems - the only party unambiguously pro-Remain - have remained marooned around 9-10%, meaning they would win few seats and have little chance of helping to form a government.

So the bottom line is that a lot still depends on how May and Corbyn act. Third parties outside Parliament have little chance of having much influence. Even the business lobby has had difficulty getting its voice heard.

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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In story: The beginning of the end?

Re: The beginning of the end?
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Government in the UK is collapsing right in front of us

The fact nobody in the Tories has clue fucking one what is going on has to please the SNP.  

by ATinNM on
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... maybe the EU agreeing to a Transition Period is what is giving Remainders hope Brexit can be walked back?

by ATinNM on
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by ATinNM on
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Days until December 30, 2020 and the end of the transition period.

by ATinNM on
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In story: Trump Meets Putin [Updated]

Transcript Press Conference Helsinki Q&A Part
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I did take notes, quite extensively, and there were some very interesting points made in this session ... some highlights.

News conference: Q&A Session with the presidents of Russia and the United States

Question: I have a question for the President of the United States.

During your recent European tour, you said that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project and other projects make Europe hostage to Russia. You suggested saving Europe from this dependence by supplying US liquefied gas.

This past cold winter proved the viability of the current energy supply system in Europe, at a time where the United States was forced to buy additional liquefied gas, including from Russia, to cover the heating needs of Boston.

So, my question: is your idea more of a political nature? Might it lead to a situation where a gap could develop in Europe's energy supply system which would impact primarily the consumer countries?

Donald Trump: No, actually, I called him a competitor, and a good competitor he is. And I think the word `competitor' is a compliment. I think that we will be competing when you talk about the pipeline. I am not sure necessarily that it's in the best interests of Germany or not, but that was a decision that they made. We will be competing. As you know, the United States is now - or soon will be, but I think it tactually is right now - the largest in the oil and gas world, so we are going to be selling LNG and will have to be competing with the pipeline. And I think we will compete successfully ...

VladimirPutin: I would like to add a couple of words to that.

I spoke with the President, including on this topic. We are aware of the President's position. But I believe that we, as a major oil and gas country - and the United States is also such a country - could work constructively to regulate international markets, because we are not interested in a sharp drop in prices below the lower limit. Our producers, including the United States with its shale oil and gas, will be affected by this.

The profit margin of production comes to naught below certain levels. We are not interested in excessively high prices either, because they can kill refining, engineering and other branches of the economy. We have things to discuss and there is room for cooperation. This is my first point.

Second, with regard to Nord Stream 2, the President expressed concerns about the possible end of transit across Ukraine. I assured him that Russia is willing to keep this transit in place. Moreover, we are willing to renew the transit contract, which expires next year, if the dispute between economic agents is settled in the Stockholm Arbitration Court.

Shut Down Nord Stream, Buy US Shale Gas

US President Trump opens NATO Summit breakfast with a frontal attack on Angela Merkel and German economic ties to Russia. US foreign policy is all about self-interest and fossil fuel: Middle East allies Israel and GCC states, Iraq War, Libya oil contracts and Syrian corridor for Qatar gas. Ukraine in 2014 ... undercutting Russia supplying gas to Europe, offering shale gas contracts. A long term "vision", worth going to war for? At least NATO gets emboldened with an aggressive stance from New Europe towards old Cold War foe, the Russian Federation. Just keep voicing fake news and misinformation ... the Americans living the new virtual reality of the digital age.

Donald Trump says Germany 'captive' of Russia | DW |

All smiles in 2011 - important year with Russian president Medvedev joined by Dutch PM Mark Rutte. Gazprom had taken a stake in Dutch giant Gasunie.

Report: Russian "Black Money" in the EU

The Expert Group on Fighting Transborder Corruption of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, in which NHC Associate Policy Director Harry Hummel takes part, issued a new report with two new case studies on investments of Russian companies in the European Union: the Nord Stream project and the Transmashholding company. The case studies document a range of questionable practices of these companies and raise questions about the role of business and individual counterparts in the European Union.

The North Stream project is a gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea implemented by a Russian-German-Dutch business consortium, with a majority share of Gazprom. The case study relates how high-level politicians in Russia and Sweden were involved in the project both while serving in official positions and after that. Questions are also raised over financial support given by the company to Swedish groups originally opposing the project, and on the extremely high costs of the Russian part of the pipeline. This case study was written by Grigory Pasko of the Foundation 19/29, a Russian investigative journalism group.

Merkel, Medvedev Launch Nord Stream Pipeline Beneath Baltic Sea | RFERL - Nov. 8, 2011 |

by Oui on
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The UK is out in 255 days. Where do you get the 897 days from?

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on
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anonymous. political cartoon. digital photo composite. 2018.

Senate panel upholds finding that Russia backed Trump, contradicting House
The ICA relied not only on public Russian leadership commentary and state media reports, but also "a body of intelligence reporting to support the assessment that Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for Trump," the committee found.
[...]
The House committee declined to make an assessment about whether the intelligence community's underlying claim -- that Putin developed a clear preference for Trump -- was correct, one of the GOP members leading that probe said at the time. What the panel has taken issue with, according to Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), is "how they came to it and the underlying documents they used."

TheHill.com. comedy. 2018

by Cat on
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until March 29, 2019, 897 days until the UK is officially out of the EU.

It's been 822 days since the start of the Brexit campaign.

In that 822 days the Tories have accomplished Sweet Fanny Adams.  

There is no reason to expect the Tories to accomplish anything in the next 897 days.

by ATinNM on
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In story: Trump Meets Putin [Updated]

Transcript Press Conference Helsinki Meeting
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News conference following talks between the presidents of Russia and the United States

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

The talks with President of the United States Donald Trump were held in a candid and business-like atmosphere. I think they were quite successful and beneficial.

We reviewed the current state and prospects of Russia-US relations and key international issues. It is obvious to everyone that our bilateral relations are undergoing a complicated period but there is no objective reason for these difficulties and the current tense atmosphere.

The Cold War ended long ago, the era of acute ideological confrontation belongs to the distant past, and the situation in the world has fundamentally changed.

Today both Russia and the United States are facing completely different challenges - the mechanisms of international security and stability are dangerously out of balance, there are regional crises, the spread of the threat of terrorism and cross border crime, crime in general, growing world economic problems, environmental and other risks. It is possible to cope with all this only by working together. I hope we will come to this same understanding with our American partners.

Today's talks reflected the shared desire of President Trump and myself to correct the negative situation in bilateral relations and map out initial steps to improve them, restore an acceptable level of trust and return to the former level of cooperation on all issues of mutual interest.

As a major nuclear power, we have special responsibility when it comes to international security. I consider it important, as we discussed, to get the dialogue on strategic stability and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction on track. We made a note with a number of concrete proposals on this matter available to our American colleagues.

We believe that continued joint efforts to fully work through the military-political and disarmament dossier is necessary. That includes the renewal of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty, the dangerous situation surrounding the development of elements of the US global missile defence system, the implementation of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, and the topic of deploying weapons in space.

We are in favour of continued cooperation in the sphere of combating terrorism and ensuring cybersecurity. Notably, our special services are working together quite successfully. The most recent example of that is the close operational interaction with a group of US security experts as part of the World Cup in Russia that ended yesterday. Contacts between the special services should be made systematic. I reminded the President of the United States about the proposal to reconstitute the anti-terror working group.

We covered regional crises extensively. Our positions do not coincide on all matters, but nonetheless there are many overlapping interests. We should be looking for common ground and working more closely, including at international forums.

Of course, we talked about regional crises, including Syria. With regard to Syria, restoring peace and harmony in that country could serve as an example of successful joint work.

Of course, Russia and the United States can take the lead in this matter and organise cooperation to overcome the humanitarian crisis and help refugees return to their hearths.

We have all the requisite elements for effective cooperation on Syria. Notably, Russian and American military have gained useful experience of interaction and coordination in the air and on land.

[Read on ...]



by Oui on
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I think a critique of Mr Trump's "performance" with Madame May is in order. That is to lend a fresh, immediate comparison of narcissistic, treasonous, and humiliating behavior of heads of state purportedly engaged in international diplomacy.

While you impatiently await the direct result of such endeavors to which you are subject and captive audience.

by Cat on
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In story: Trump Meets Putin [Updated]

Re: Trump Meets Putin [Updated]
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Concern for the 2014 coup in Ukraine is a weak ruse. These are the headlines this week.

by Cat on
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In story: Europe is not a market, it is the will to live together

Re: Europe is...the will to live together
( / )
Before a thing can be done it is necessary that some conceive that it is possible and desirable. Brexit passed by less than 2% for fuck's sake, in an election campaigned on the assumption it would fail and conducted in a reprehensible manner. What would be helpful now is a campaign by a group not currently in Parliament to have another Brexit vote, now that the problems with such a deal have become more apparent. That would likely cause May's government to fall. Were a tide of favorable opinion develop perhaps Corbyn might come to see the virtue of seizing that tide, and, if successful in forming a government, finding a way to stay in the EU or negotiate a more favorable set of terms for leaving.

Assuming a hard Brexit is inevitable is tantamount to endorsing a hard Brexit. Optimism can be a choice and should be here.

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on
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In story: Trump Meets Putin [Updated]

Re: Trump Meets Putin [Updated]
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No.

Two heads of state meeting in private and conducting a joint press conference to publicize the agenda of their meeting is not inappropriate, whether the states are at war or at peace. Why?

A permanent condition of conflict between rational people is not a socially acceptable objective of any government that purports to concern itself with the welfare of its constituents.

Think about that the next time anyone criticize the "performance" --this is the term propagated by the homicidal maniacs who infest the US government-- of elected representatives whose task it is to assure peaceful co-existence on this dying planet.

by Cat on
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In story: HTTPS Cert Added

Re: HTTPS Cert Added
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Fixed. Good job!

by Bernard on
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News and Views

 16 - 22 July 2018

by Bjinse - Jul 16, 22 comments

Your take on this week's news

 9 - 15 July 2018

by Bjinse - Jul 9, 78 comments

Your take on this week's news

 July Open Thread

by Bjinse - Jul 16, 1 comment

He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of an open thread.

 June Open Thread

by Bjinse - Jun 3, 97 comments

Whatever thread you make makes you. Thread wisely.

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