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Fri, 27 Nov 2020
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Dollar

Con man Bill Browder claims Russians tricked British bank into closing his account

bill browder
© Sputnik / Alexey Druzhinin / Anton Denisov / Press service of the President of the Russian Federation; REUTERS / Henry Nicholls
Convicted fraudster Bill Browder, now a prominent anti-Russia agitator in the West, is accusing British bank NatWest of closing his account due to a dastardly "black PR" campaign waged against him by malign actors in Moscow.

Browder's allegation, reiterated unquestioningly by The Guardian, has emerged via a report issued by opaquely-funded neoconservative think tank the Henry Jackson Society (HJS). The wealthy financier made a fortune in Russia, initially during the wild 1990s. However, like many foreigners and, indeed, locals operating in the country at the time, he found conditions tougher when regulation and oversight was tightened-up in the 2000s. He was found guilty of evading around $40 million in taxes, and accused of siphoning off money to offshore accounts.

In 2005, he was banned from Russia, just a year after he had written supportively about Vladimir Putin's government in The Moscow Times. After this reversal in fortunes, he quickly turned against the Kremlin and reinvented himself as a vocal opponent of the president he'd once praised.

The HJS report warns that 'black PR,' an alleged practice said to be somehow exclusive to Russia, is seeping into Britain. It says it is used for discrediting individuals as part of political or business disputes, by creating or obtaining compromising material or by generating fake media reports on a particular individual or organization.

The obvious implication is that never before have falsehoods been disseminated by powerful state and non-state actors in order to damage reputations throughout the country's long, perfidious history.

NPC

Colbert interviews Obama, gushes that he just wants to 'drink you in' - this is why no one trusts MSM

Stephen Colbert

Lambasting Trump and pining for Mueller is a defining feature of most of Stephen Colbert’s monologues
Late night host Stephen Colbert was beaming with joy during his new interview with Barack Obama, telling him he has to "get used to looking at a president again," and the lovey-dovey exchange is making social media cringe.

"I just want to take a moment to drink you in for just a moment, because I'm having to get used to looking at a president again," Colbert told Obama on Tuesday night during 'The Late Show' after some light banter back and forth between the two.

"I got to warm up for Joe Biden," Colbert continued while his guest laughed. "I don't want to pull anything when I see him take the oath of office. You got to ease me into this a little bit."

"Physically painful to watch," Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavey tweeted in reaction to the widely shared clip.

"Isn't this more or less what Toobin got in trouble for?" reporter Becket Adams added, sarcastically referring to former New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin, who was let go after reportedly exposing himself during a virtual work meeting.


Briefcase

Justice Barrett casts deciding vote, Justice Gorsuch hammers Gov. Cuomo's COVID-19 restrictions on churches and synagogues

amy barrett
In the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning, Justice Amy Coney Barrett cast the deciding vote in the Supreme Court's ruling against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's COVID-19 restrictions. Justice Barrett's vote came as the expected 5-4 Court sided with the Catholic Diocese and two Orthodox Jewish synagogues, holding that the restrictions limiting religious services likely constituted a violation of the First Amendment.

SCOTUS's ruling is a temporary one, granting the plaintiffs an injunction that temporarily halts Governor Cuomo's executive order. The Court's unsigned per curiam opinion called the plaintiffs' need for relief "essential," and noted that the religious groups bringing suit have a strong likelihood of success on the merits. SCOTUS agreed with plaintiffs that the COVID-19 restrictions "single out houses of worship for especially harsh treatment."

The Court explained the facts underlying its decision, specifically referring to testimony given before the District Court by a health department official, who testified that "a large store in Brooklyn that could 'literally have hundreds of people shopping there on any given day,'" while religious gatherings were limited to 10 or 25 people. The Court also distinguished the New York cases from other cases previously before it regarding other COVID-19 measures.
"[The New York Restrictions] are far more restrictive than any COVID-related regulations that have previously come before the Court, much tighter than those adopted by many other jurisdictions hard-hit by the pandemic, and far more severe than has been shown to be required to prevent the spread of the virus at the applicants' services."
The Court suggested that less restrictive measures could have been used to combat the pandemic, and even went so far as to suggest that a better rule might have been tied to the specific congregation in question.

Comment: Cuomo's response?
"The Supreme Court made a ruling. It's more illustrative of the Supreme Court than anything else," Cuomo said, noting the court's new conservative bent with the addition of Justice Amy Coney Barrett by President Trump.

"It's irrelevant of any practical impact because of the zone they were talking about is moot. It expired last week," the governor said, adding, "It doesn't have any practical effect."

"The lawsuit was about the Brooklyn zone. The Brooklyn zone no longer exists as a red zone. That's muted. So that restriction is no longer in effect. That situation just doesn't exist because those restrictions are gone."
You see? He's already done violating the Constitution. No big deal.


X

Media celebrates retired general telling Biden to 'NOT' put America first; Trump tweets 'I should have fired him sooner'

James Mattis
© Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Former US Secretary of Defense James Mattis
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in an op-ed on Monday that he hopes President-elect Joe Biden will take "America First" out of the national security strategy for his incoming administration.

Mattis penned the op-ed, titled "Defense in Depth," for Foreign Affairs with Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, Jim Ellis, a fellow at the Hoover Institution and former commander of U.S. Strategic Command, and Joe Felter, a fellow at the Hoover Institution.
"In January, when President Joe Biden and his national security team begin to reevaluate U.S. foreign policy, we hope they will quickly revise the national security strategy to eliminate 'America first' from its contents, restoring in its place the commitment to cooperative security that has served the United States so well for decades. The best strategy for ensuring safety and prosperity is to buttress American military strength with enhanced civilian tools and a restored network of solid alliances - both necessary to achieving defense in depth."

Comment: Some fancy wording to create the illusion of cooperation and avoid the phrase: 'New World Order'. The four authors? Conquest, War, Famine, Plague. The apocalyptic ride has already begun. If America doesn't rebuild herself, she is no great help to anyone.

FYI: The Hoover Institute is a public policy think tank in Stanford, CA founded by Herbert Hoover and connected to Stanford University. A few of the notable think tankers: Condoleezza Rice (current director), George Schultz, Michael McFaul, H.R. McMaster, Thomas Sowell (and three of the authors above) - tells you something about who and what it attracts. It is noted to be the 10th-most influential think tank in the world. Revenue is stated to be $70.5 million.


Stop

Trump is the first president since Carter to not send troops into new conflict

Trump
© Unknown
US President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump will likely become the first president since Jimmy Carter to not send American forces into a new conflict once he leaves office, Newsweek reports.

Trump's recently-appointed acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced last week that the U.S. will cut the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to 2,500 by Jan. 15, an announcement that came just before national security adviser Robert O'Brien said that Trump was looking "to put a stop to America's endless wars."

Although the United States has formally declared war only five times, with the most recent being the country's entry into World War II, Congress has granted several "authorizations of military force" since Carter left office.

President Ronald Reagan sent troops into Lebanon in 1983, President George H.W. Bush launched the Gulf War in 1991, President Bill Clinton got funding from Congress and permission from the United Nations to send 20,000 troops into Bosnia in 1995, George W. Bush initialized the War on Terror and the Iraq War in 2003, and President Barack Obama sent American forces into Libya in 2011.

According to Thomas Gift, the director of the Centre on U.S. Politics at University College London:
"Trump hasn't faced a similar monumental national security event that's compelled him to shift focus and become a 'wartime president.' As a result, Trump's brand of belligerent isolationism has led him to avoid foreign wars."

Bulb

Russia & Germany's cunning plan for Nord Stream 2

Nord
© Nord Stream 2 / Axel Schmidt
A number of German Telegram channels posted very interesting information about the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Apparently, the completion of the pipe is already in full swing. The materials, citing high-ranking employees of the German government, report that work has begun, but they do not involve pipe-laying vessels.

After the publication of this information, it became clear that the intricate path of the Akademik Chersky to the port of Mukran from the Far East and the manoeuvring of other Russian supply vessels only distracted the opponents of Nord Stream 2 from the elegant operation. While the US and others sat with a smoking F5 button, updating data on the movement of Russian ships, Russia and Germany implemented a cunning plan that could surprise many. It is likely that in two or three months the pipeline will be declared completed, although none of the vessels even came close to the place where construction stopped after the introduction of US sanctions.

Comment: Meanwhile, RT reports that a European firm has withdrawnfrom the project in the face of US sanctions:
Det Norske Veritas - Germanischer (Lloyd 9DNV GL), whose business is tied to risk management and quality assurance, said that it had to stop working for on project under the threat of US sanctions.

"The US State Department has published a new clarification regarding the Protecting Europe's Energy Security Act (PEESA). According to the new guidelines, DNV GL's further work on monitoring vessels and equipment engaged in the Nord Stream 2 project is seen as subject to sanctions," the Norwegian-German company said, stressing that it has stopped providing the services that may become subject to PEESA.

The firm was responsible for monitoring and certifying the testing and preparation works for equipment that is used by vessels during the construction of the underwater pipeline. The company was also expected to grant a fire security certificate after the project is complete.

Meanwhile, the last remaining stretch of Nord Stream 2 goes through the territorial waters of Denmark. In accordance with the regulations of the Danish Energy Agency (DEA), Nord Stream 2 AG, the Russian Gazprom subsidiary that operates the project, may engage any other company for monitoring and certifying works.
See also:


Eye 2

Who's your daddy? Here's why European leaders are swooning over Biden's warmongering 'back to normal' team

biden
© REUTERS/Yves Herman
FILE PHOTO: Joe Biden makes a joint statement with European Council President Donald Tusk ahead of a meeting at EU Council headquarters in Brussels February 6, 2015
The EU is trembling in anticipation at the prospect of a Joe Biden administration, like Ana Steele in Christian Grey's Red Room of Pain, despite the policies he espouses being precisely the cause of their problems.

Their rushing to congratulate him, even before the presidential result is certified, speaks volumes of their delight that 'daddy' is back in the White House.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen could barely contain her joy over what she said was a "new beginning in EU-US global partnership."

Charles Michel, the European Council president, said it was time to "rebuild a strong EU-USA alliance" and he hastily invited Biden to a European summit in Brussels in the new year, even though the American election has not yet been formally concluded.

Biohazard

7 disturbing questions AstraZeneca needs to answer about its Covid-19 vaccine as it pushes for emergency authorization

AstraZeneca
© Reuters / Dado Ruvic
FILE PHOTO.
The drug manufacturer AstraZeneca said on Monday it would seek emergency authorization for its coronavirus vaccine with various regulators. However, it might first have to answer a number of serious questions about its jab.

The British-Swedish company, which has developed its candidate vaccine together with the University of Oxford, "will begin the submission of the clinical data to regulators around the world that have a framework in place for emergency use or conditional approval," its spokesman said on Monday, adding that the list of the regulators that will receive the application particularly includes the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The statement came as the drug manufacturer published interim results of the vaccine's clinical trials, which it said "showed the vaccine was highly effective in preventing COVID-19" and declaring its overall effectiveness to amount to 70 percent - much lower than 90-percent efficacy that other leading vaccine candidates showed.

Comment: These extremely concerning issues do not appear to have accompanied Russia and China's vaccine trials: And check out SOTT radio's:


Mr. Potato

'Rules for thee, but not for me': Here's a list of lawmakers who broke COVID rules

Nancy Pelosi
© NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images
Lawmakers have mandated a variety of COVID restrictions to stem the spread of the pandemic, but not all lawmakers have been willing to follow the rules.

Governors, mayors and state health departments have required that Americans wear masks, social distance, refrain from spending time in large groups, quarantine after traveling across state lines, stay home from church services and much more.

But many political leaders and members of their families have failed to comply with social distancing rules. Here's a list of lawmakers who appeared to dodge coronavirus-related restrictions.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi attended a hair appointment in San Francisco Monday, though indoor hair salons in the California city are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Fox News reported.

Bad Guys

America is not 'back' with Biden. He's just the new mask of respectability as it continues to cause chaos across the world

Joe Biden

Joe Biden
While Joe Biden is a more civil representation of the US than Donald Trump, he won't significantly change the foreign policy of the outgoing president. America will still be hyper-aggressive, but in a more courteous way.

"America is back!" said Joe Biden this week, as he prepares to take over as president. It's a sentiment that has, of course, been championed by liberals, but what exactly does it mean? And did America ever really go away?

If you ask any critic of Donald Trump, the answer is quite obvious. They will point to his erratic behaviour, his negation of alliances, his apparent abrogation of leadership and the damage he has done to America's standing around the world. Biden, of course, has pledged to end all of that, vowing to steer the US back to dignity and respect, to be a country admired rather than loathed and to promote 'American values' abroad, which Trump downplayed with his 'America First' doctrine.