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'A Titanic Challenge': The deal Russia wants from Donald Trump

Any comprehensive deal for a genuine reset of relations between a Donald Trump led US and Russia will have to address the three issues that concern the Russians most. These are (1) NATO expansion; (2) anti ballistic missile defence; and (3) the US's regime change policy.

As Donald Trump edges towards the White House and calls for a deal with Russia, it might help him to assess what sort of deal the Russia would be looking for from him.

There is a vast pall of misunderstanding in the West about this subject in large part because Western coverage of Russia over the last decade has been so intense and distorted that it has distorted the understanding of even the most hardheaded of Western policy makers.

Eye 1

The Color Revolution against President Trump

What will happen on Inauguration Day?

Anti-Trump protest movements are envisaged alongside a campaign to disrupt.

While there are "genuine protests" - e.g. those led by the Answer Coalition and Workers World - , the main thrust is coming from an "engineered" campaign supported and financed by the Neocons, which is largely intent upon disrupting the inauguration and destabilizing the Trump presidency. Several progressive organizations have nonetheless joined the bandwagon of the #Disruptj20 campaign.

Comment: Further reading:


Stop

Russia's Constitutional Court rejects ECHR order on $2bn Yukos compensation

© Vladimir Vyatkin / Sputnik
The Yukos office building
Russia's Constitutional Court has ruled that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision to order compensation of over $2 billion to former Yukos shareholders violates the Russian constitution and cannot be executed.

"Russia has the right not to fulfill the imposed obligations when this is the only way not to act against the constitution," chairman of the Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin announced on Thursday.

The judge also noted that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had ordered the compensation to be repaid from the Russian state budget - the same budget which had been hugely underfinanced because of the Yukos tax evasion schemes that had eventually led to the company's dissolution. "This contradicts the constitutional principles of equality and fairness," he said.

At the same time, the court chairman said that the European system for protection of human rights was of fundamental value, and that it would be best if Russian authorities and the European court found a compromise.

Comment: See also: Putin gives Russian Constitution precedence over international court rulings


Георгиевская ленточка

Medvedev says degrading relations with Russia is Obama administration's biggest foreign policy failure

© Ekaterina Shtukina / Reuters
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
The breakdown of relations with Russia is a key foreign policy blunder committed by the Obama administration and it will go down in history as such, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said.

In fact "US-Russia relations completely fell apart by the end of the second term of the Obama administration," Medvedev said in a Facebook post.

The administration of Barack Obama has proven to be "short-sighted on such an important and complex issue as relations with Russia."

This, despite Moscow and Washington having earlier managed to actually develop a functioning cooperation on some of the world's major issues and challenges, Medvedev said.

"Our countries signed a nuclear weapons reduction treaty, and Russia and the United States played a leading role in resolving the controversy surrounding the Iranian nuclear program," the Prime Minister recalled.

Those two notable achievements gave "hope" to the Russian leadership that both states would establish good relations despite the "different" approaches to various international processes and problems.

However, that did not happen, Medvedev laments.

Heart - Black

Ex-House speaker Dennis Hastert sues his sex abuse accuser for $1.7 million

© Reuters/Frank Polich
MoreFormer U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert leaves the Dirksen Federal courthouse after his sentencing hearing in Chicago, Illinois, United States April 27, 2016.
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, serving prison time for a financial crime stemming from a child sex abuse scandal, has filed a lawsuit seeking the return of $1.7 million in hush money the disgraced politician admitted paying to one of his accusers.

The filing was made in response to a breach-of-contract case the unidentified man brought last year claiming Hastert paid only about half of the $3.5 million he had privately promised as compensation for decades of pain and suffering his misconduct had caused.

In Hastert's countersuit, filed on Wednesday in Kendall County Circuit Court in Illinois, he acknowledged paying $1.7 million to the accuser from 2010 and 2014 to buy his silence, but said their verbal agreement was not enforceable.

Hastert also argued the plaintiff himself engaged in a breach of contract by disclosing details of the allegations he made against the former lawmaker.

"To the extent any contract existed between plaintiff and defendant, plaintiff breached that contract," the filing said. "Plaintiff's breach of conduct resulted in damages to defendant, and plaintiff is accordingly required to return $1.7 million."

Comment: So a child molesting psychopath who held the position of Speaker of the House for years is suing one of his victims.


USA

Obama makes incredible admission about WikiLeaks in final press conference

© AntiMedia
President Barack Obama's last press conference was a success, but only if you consider journalistic incompetence worthy of praise.

During the one-hour affair, Obama answered questions ranging from the commutation of whistleblower Chelsea Manning's sentence to personal queries concerning his and First Lady Michelle Obama's approach when talking to their daughters about the 2016 election — not quite a hard-hitting last inquiry for an outgoing president who, as the Los Angeles Times recently noted, managed to keep U.S. military forces "at war for all eight years of [his] tenure."

But despite the media's toothless strategy — showing the established press doesn't understand its own role in a free society — the outgoing president made at least one admission most of the media has also ignored.

Around the eight-minute mark of the press conference, Obama says he hasn't "commented on WikiLeaks generally," and that the "conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the [Democratic National Committee] DNC e-mails that were leaked."

To Craig Murray, an author, broadcaster, and human rights activist, Obama's comment clarified that the U.S. government has "no evidence of how WikiLeaks got the DNC material."

Bomb

CNN: Assassinating Trump & Pence might keep Obama in power

© CNN/YouTube
As the nation prepares for the peaceful transfer of power on Inauguration Day, CNN is dreaming up scenarios whereby the Obama administration can keep power if President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence were blown up as they prepared to take to oath of office.

On the Wednesday, January 18 broadcast of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer aired a segment with a chyron featuring the headline "Developing Now." During that "developing" segment, Blitzer and correspondent Brian Todd discussed what would happen if the unthinkable occurred on January 20.

Blitzer introduced the segment, saying, "What if an incoming president and his immediate successors were wiped out on day one?" and from there, CNN contributor Brian Todd took over to outline the line of succession if an attack blew up the inaugural dais, killing both Trump and Pence.

The upshot was that in the case of both heads of state being killed, the Secretary of State would take over. Currently that man is Secretary of State John Kerry, But in case some objected because his office would also end as of noon on Inauguration Day, then it would be the Speaker of the House — Republican Paul Ryan — or even Obama's Under Secretary for Political Affairs Tom Shannon.

The report also noted that the designated survivor appointed by the Obama administration could also become president in the case of a disaster. So, in CNN's analysis, most of the people who would take over in the worst-case scenario would keep the Obama administration in power, at least indirectly.


So while most of the country is looking to enjoy the day's events and waiting expectantly to hear what our new president will have to say for his first address as our leader, CNN is wondering what will happen if he is assassinated. Perhaps CNN is still stuck in anger, the second stage of grief.

Comment: Is there anyone left on the planet not questioning the integrity of the news and insanity this station produces?


Георгиевская ленточка

"New Russia" political movement plans reforms in economy and state management

© Alexey Druzginin / Anton Denisov / Sputnik
The head of Russia's Institute of Contemporary Economics has announced the start of the New Russia political movement, which will attempt to re-format the management of the state and fight economic recession through major reforms.

In comments with RIA Novosti, Nikita Isayev noted that in his opinion Russia needs "new faces, new approaches and a comprehensive and familiar ideology" and the New Russia movement will fulfill these demands through changes in the political elite and corps of experts.

"Our people are already starting to work in federal and municipal power bodies. These are new faces, not yet made popular through PR, guys who are used to work instead of idle talking," Isayev said.

However, the economist told reporters that the movement's registration had just started and did not name even an approximate date for its official launch.

When asked about the general political and economic course of the new movement, Isayev answered that he intended to implement his own 'New NEP' policy in which NEP stands for "national economic policy" (the abbreviation is a nod to the New Economic Policy - the partial return to private entrepreneurship allowed by Bolsheviks in 1920s to facilitate the restoration of the country devastated by the Civil War).

Snakes in Suits

Sore loser Soros lashes out at Trump and his 'self-contradictory' ideas

© Andrew Kelly / Reuters
The gray eminence of US politics, billionaire financier George Soros, criticized President-elect Donald Trump, calling him a con man and would-be dictator. A supporter of liberal causes, Soros donated generously to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

"I have described him as an imposter, a con man and would-be dictator," Soros, the chairman of Soros Fund Management, told Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum on Thursday. "But he is only a would-be-dictator because I am confident that the Constitutions of United States are strong enough, the division of power, is in operation."

Soros said that Republicans have a unique victory by taking control of the presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court. He remarked that Trump has greater powers in foreign policy than domestically, but he thinks Congress will "be a bulwark protecting its rights."

"When Trump oversteps the mark they will fight back and if they have a bipartisan coalition, they will actually succeed in limiting him," stated Soros.

Comment: Soros has enough of his own problems:


USA

Pepe Escobar: How the Trump presidency will play out

© AFP 2016/Paul J. Richards
The day breaks behind the White House in Washington,DC.
The Trump era starts now - with geopolitics and geoeconomics set for a series of imminent, unpredictable cliffhangers.

I have argued that Trump's foreign policy guru Henry Kissinger's strategy to deal with the formidable Eurasia integration trio - Russia, China and Iran — is a remixed Divide and Rule; seduce Russia away from its strategic partnership with China, while keep harassing the weakest link, Iran.

In fact that's how it's already playing out - as in the outbursts of selected members of Trump's cabinet during their US Senate hearings. Factions of US Think Tankland, referring to Nixon's China policy, which was designed by Kissinger, are also excited with the possibilities of containment regarding at least one of those powers "potentially arrayed against America".

Kissinger and Dr. Zbig "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski are the two foremost, self-described Western dalangs - puppet masters - in the geopolitical arena. In opposition to Kissinger, Obama's foreign policy mentor Brzezinski, true to his Russophobia, proposes a Divide and Rule centered on seducing China.

Yet an influential New York business source, very close to the real, discreet Masters of the Universe, who correctly predicted Trump's victory weeks before the fact, after examining my argument offered not only a scathing appraisal of those cherished dalangs; he volunteered to detail how the new normal was laid out by the Masters directly to Trump. Let's call him "X".