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Tue, 23 Jan 2018
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Bizarro Earth

Are we in the West's final phase?

Doomsday destruction art
There is hardly a day that goes by without a terror attack somewhere in the world, emphasis on western world. There were three successive UK terror attacks within less than three months, one in Manchester two in London, where all the 'terrorists' - who all yelled coincidentally Allahu Akbar (God is Great) while committing their heinous crimes - were killed. None was left alive for testimony. Since then another one was carried out in front of a Mosque in northern London. Yesterday in a Brussels railway station someone exploded a bomb, and people heard him scream Allahu Akbar. Its terror non-stop. We better get used to it.

Terror is reigning in Africa every day, in Central Africa, the Congo, Burundi, Nigeria - you name it. The Islamic State is fighting in the Philippines. They are fighting a proxy war for Washington against the inconvenient President Duterte, who likes to ally with China and Russia. Geographically, economically and politically speaking, a logical choice. It's hardly reported by the presstitute. And if reported, its twisted and turned into a barrage of lies. Terror is the scare of the day; and terror is a branch of the US military - it's a weaponized strategy to conquer the world by fear and as a consequence, by militarization. People ask for it, for protection.

Star of David

Israel has 'unimaginable' power to strike Hezbollah, boasts Air Force chief

jet fighters
© Pichi Chuang / Reuters
Israel has significantly increased its air superiority in the last decade following Israeli - Lebanese conflict of 2006, its Air Force chief has stated, warning Hezbollah and its allies of dire consequences should another war break out in the future.
"What the air force was able to do quantitatively in the Lebanon war over the course of 34 days we can do today in 48-60 hours," Israel Air Force Commander Major-General Amir Eshel boasted at the 17th annual Herzliya security conference.

"This is potential power unimaginable in its scope, much different to what we have seen in the past and far greater than people estimate," the air force chief said on the second day of the security conference, as quoted by the Times of Israel.

Snakes in Suits

Trump defends billionaire cabinet picks in Iowa rally: 'I just don't want a poor person'

Donald Trump
© Scott Morgan / Reuters
President Donald Trump addressed supporters twice in Iowa, including a campaign-style rally, where he boasted of plans to regrow American agriculture, winning electoral victories and having rich economic advisers. He also blamed Democrats for stalling the GOP health care bill.

Trump's "Make America Great Again" rally at the US Cellular Center was the first time the president has staged a gathering since he made a trip to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in late April.

The mass meeting began with a roar of supporters, booing a protester armed with a whistle and deep breaths. The crowd chanted, "USA! USA!" before Trump resumed.

"We love our police," Trump said to rounding applause.

Quenelle

House Republicans Temporarily Block the 'Russian Sanctions Bill'

Donald Trump
© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
US President Donald Trump

After recruiting Trump, the KGB and Moscow have clearly also managed to make all House Republicans their puppets, because the Senate bill that passed last week and slapped new sanctions on Russia (but really was meant to block the production on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia and which Germany, Austria and France all said is a provocation by the US and would prompt retaliation) just hit a major stumbling block in the House.

At least that's our interpretation of tomorrow's CNN "hot take."

Shortly after House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas said that House leaders concluded that the legislation, S. 722, violated the origination clause of the Constitution, which requires legislation that raises revenue to originate in the House, and would require amendments, Democrats immediately accused the GOP of delaying tactics and "covering" for the Russian agent in the White House.

Comment: According to Politico, the Senate has since sent the necessary language to the House:
A spokeswoman for House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) confirmed receipt of the Senate's language. "We're making good progress on this issue and working to make sure we get this right," the spokeswoman added.

The trigger for the delay of the Senate's Iran and Russia sanctions package, according to a source familiar with the holdup, is one provision in the vast bill that empowers Congress to prevent Trump from easing or ending sanctions on Russia. Altering sanctions could affect the amount revenue collected by the government, and any bill affecting revenue is constitutionally required to start off in the House.

Democrats openly suspect that the House's so-called "blue slip" objection to the sanctions bill is a thinly veiled excuse to help the Trump administration make progress on its stated goal of warmer relations with Russia.



Fire

Theresa May admits 600 buildings are in danger of Grenfell's fate

grenfell tower
© AFP
Flames and smoke coming from Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire broke out there on June 14, 2017.
Around 600 buildings in the UK have similar "combustible cladding" to Grenfell Tower, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May has said.

Tests have revealed that at least three tower blocks across the UK are fitting with combustible cladding, with hundreds more checks planned, Sky News reports.

The Department for Communities and Local Government says details of at-risk structures will be revealed after residents are informed.

Comment: Further reading:


Jet3

Russian FM: ISIS leader al-Baghdadi's death is 'highly likely'

al-Baghdadi
© Reuters
The Russian Foreign Ministry has said it is "highly likely" that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL), was eliminated in an airstrike carried out by the Russian Air Force in Syria earlier in May.

"It is highly likely that Islamic State leader [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi was eliminated in an airstrike of the Russian Air Force on a militant command post in a southern suburb of the city of Raqqa in late May," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told Sputnik News, citing data provided by the Russian Defense Ministry.

Syromolotov added that the information about al-Baghdadi's death is now being verified through "various channels."

MIB

Spiegel reports German intel agency spied on White House, State Dept and US military for years

Whie House
© Saul Loeb / AFP
Germany's intelligence agency spied on high-profile US targets, including the White House, the State Department and the military for almost a decade, Spiegel has reported. Even US-based international organizations such as the IMF and HRW were on the watchlist.

The Spiegel report comes four years after Chancellor Angela Merkel famously said "spying on friends" was unacceptable, when commenting on the National Security Agency spy row that had put a strain on ties at the time.

In 2013, it was revealed the chancellor's mobile had been "monitored" by the NSA as part of systematic wiretapping operations worldwide.

Comment: The West should learn a thing or two from Putin:
"Our intelligence services always conform to the law," Putin said. "That's the first thing. And secondly, trying to spy on your allies, if you really consider them allies, is just indecent. Because it undermines trust. And it means that in the end it deals damage to your own national security."



Snakes in Suits

Don't cede influence to China and Russia: Schaeuble warns US pullback could 'end our liberal world order'

Wolfgang Schaeuble
Less than a month after German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that "Europe must take its fate into its own hands," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble implored US President Donald Trump to reconsider his "America First" policy, claiming that a pullback by the US would risk the destruction of "our liberal world order" by ceding influence to the Chinese and the Russians.

Trump's hostility toward his European partners has strained relations between the US and its Continental allies. Since taking office, Trump has insulted fellow G-7 and NATO leaders, pulled out of the Paris Accord and attempted to ban travelers and refugees from six Muslim majority countries. Though Trump has treated at least one NATO leader with respect: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, whom he honored with a Rose Garden press conference.

Comment: Schauble sounds like he would be lost without the US control over Europe or for the world for that matter.


Attention

Contingency plan: China may finance Russia's Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Europe

Natural gas pipeline being laid
© Zamir Usmanov / Global Look Press
Gazprom's Nord Stream 2 pipeline may get Chinese financing if European companies are forced out of the project by the latest round of US sanctions, business daily Vedomosti reports.

Russian officials have already contacted Chinese banks, sources have told the media.

"Nord Stream 2 has a good rate of return and low risks for creditors. Chinese banks may be interested," explains Aleksey Grivach, deputy CEO at Russia's National Energy Security Fund.

Info

Iran's Revolutionary Guard to RT: US seeks to 'milk' terrorism sponsor Saudi Arabia

Trump and the globe
© Saudi Royal Palace / AFP
The inauguration of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh on May 21, 2017
As the US influence in the Middle East wanes, it increasingly associates itself with dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, whose "dark face" and "role in supporting terrorism is known to everyone in the region," a high ranking Iranian Revolutionary Guard official told RT.

The United States and President Trump in particular consider only one "dimension" of convergence with Saudi Arabia, ignoring the "ideological and intellectual" challenges and costs such ties entail, media adviser to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Commander-in-Chief Hamid Reza Moghadam Far told RT in an exclusive interview.

"That was one of Trump's senseless moves. He was just seeking to milk this cow and thinking about only business," Moghadam Far said.

"The first challenge is that Trump goes to such a country as his first trip after being elected... That is the behavior shown towards a dictatorial regime in which democracy is meaningless and no elections take place and the people have no presence on the scene. The next challenge is that they claim that they are combating terrorism. It is no secret that Saudi Arabia has provided the most support for terrorism."