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Mon, 20 Feb 2017
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Puppet Masters


Trump vows penalties for companies that outsource American jobs: 'Stop foreign cheating!'

President Donald Trump pledged to fight for American jobs in a speech to Boeing workers in Charleston, South Carolina, at the unveiling of a new 787-10 Dreamliner. He also promised to rebuild the US military and punish companies that move jobs overseas. "Our goal as a nation must be to rely less on imports, and more on products made here in the USA," the president said, vowing to "unleash the power of the American spirit and put our great people back to work." "That is one beautiful aeroplane," Trump said, pointing to the Dreamliner. "What an amazing piece of art, what an amazing piece of work." He commended the airplane's name as symbolic of the American spirit.

"That's what we do in America, we dream of things and we build them." In addition to building passenger planes, Boeing is a major supplier of military aircraft. Trump name-dropped the F-18 Super Hornet, the F-15 Strike Eagle and the Apache attack helicopter, telling the crowd that his administration will rebuild the US military so "that none will dare to challenge it." "As George Washington said, being prepared for war is the best way to prevent it," he said.

Comment: Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor: "It's time to break free of excessive regulation and let our entrepreneurs do what they do best: create jobs and support communities."
See also:

Light Saber

Rex Tillerson fires 7th floor 'shadow government'

The infamous 7th floor
Americans were stunned to learn of the State Department rogue Shadow Government which operated in secret from the 7th floor. They were behind the corrupt handling of the Clinton documents.

CBS News announced that Rex Tillerson, the new Secretary of State, fired most of the 7th floor policy makers who so famously called themselves the "shadow government".

Policy will be controlled by the White House, not professional diplomats, CBS stated.

CBS bemoans the loss of the shadow government's policy-making expertise.

In October of last year, a NY Post story reported that the coterie of State Department officials who called themselves the "shadow government" controlled the release of the Clinton emails. Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy even offered the FBI a quid pro quo for changing the classification of the Clinton emails.

Comment: While Rex Tillerson is on his first overseas trip as Secretary of State, his aides laid off staff at the State Department on Thursday.
Much of seventh-floor staff, who work for the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources and the Counselor offices, were told today that their services were no longer needed.

These staffers in particular are often the conduit between the secretary's office to the country bureaus, where the regional expertise is centered. Inside the State Department, some officials fear that this is a politically-minded purge that cuts out much-needed expertise from the policy-making, rather than simply reorganizing the bureaucracy.

There are clear signals being sent that many key foreign policy portfolios will be controlled directly by the White House, rather than through the professional diplomats.


The rise of 'imaginary news'

I think we can all agree that there has been plenty of fake news coming from both sides. Fake news is usually intentional, although in some cases it is the result of honest mistakes. But lately we are seeing an entirely new type of untrue news. I call it Imaginary News. Here's a good example from the Huffington Post.
I watched President Trump's press conference with the alleged "meltdown," and all I saw was Trump talking the way he normally talks. The Huffington Post watched and apparently saw some other set of circumstances. That means we have three possibilities to consider:

1. Huffington Post saw the situation accurately while I was hallucinating.

2. My version of events is accurate and Huffington Post hallucinated.

3. Both the Huffington Post and I were hallucinating.

When I was younger, I would have automatically assumed that I was right and the Huffington Post was either intentionally lying or deluded. My more mature understanding of the world is that most people are hallucinating most of the time. We live in our own personal movies. This is a perfect example. Millions of Americans looked at the same press conference and half of us came away thinking we saw an entirely different movie than the other half. Many of us saw Trump talking the way he normally does, and saying the things he normally says. Other people saw a raving lunatic, melting down.

Those are not the same movies.

So how can we know who is hallucinating in this case? The best way to tell is by looking for the trigger for cognitive dissonance. In this case, the trigger is clear. Trump's unexpected win forced the Huffington Post to rewrite their mental movies from one in which they were extra-clever writers to one in which they were the dumbest political observers in the entire solar system.

Comment: See also: Trump, Bannon and the danger of self-fulfilling prophecies

Stock Down

Careful what you wish for: If the Eurozone fails, Russia's economy will fail with it

Great in theory. First sort out the euro mess, though.
Many eurosceptics believe — and with good reason — that the collapse of the eurozone would free the continent from Washington's grip, allowing European states to pursue economic and political relationships that actually serve their own national interests. What a novel concept, right?

This is all well and good — in theory. But if the eurzone broke apart tomorrow, Russia's economy would almost certainly evaporate.

The reasons for this are numerous, but Bloomberg has very thoughtfully compiled the most difficult-to-dismiss figures illustrating Russia's current dependence on the euro.

For starters, Russia holds close to 40 percent of its foreign currency reserves in euros, and Putin has stated on the record that his country is "not interested in the collapse of the euro zone."

Imagine if 40 percent of Russia's foreign currency reserves became worthless overnight.

Worse still, imagine all the Russians who keep euro accounts as a way to protect themselves from the ever-fluctuating value of the ruble.

Here's the reality: Russia is in no way, shape or form prepared for a eurozone collapse. It would be catastrophic for Moscow.

Snakes in Suits

'Revolting' Tony Blair says 'Brexit not inevitable', calls on 'Remain' voters to rise up against the referendum outcome

© Reuters
Tony Blair
Tony Blair says leaving the EU is "not inevitable" and has called on pro-EU Britons to "revolt" against Brexit. He also blamed the outcome of the June 2016 referendum on his own Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

Speaking in the City of London for Open Britain on Friday morning, the former Labour prime minister said his "mission" is to urge Remain voters to "rise up" against the referendum outcome, as he claimed people voted "without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit."

"Our challenge is to expose, relentlessly, what that cost is.

"To show how this decision was based on imperfect knowledge, which will now become informed knowledge.


British think tank says Chinese military approaches technological 'near-parity' with NATO in air domain

© Defense Ministry of Japan / Reuters
A Chinese SU-27 fighter flies over the East China Sea
Beijing's military development has placed it on 'near-parity' with Western nations, with some weapons having no equivalent, a British think tank says. Meanwhile, NATO members are lagging behind in the development of advanced military capabilities.

The warning comes from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), one of the world's leading defense research institutes, which presented its annual assessment (the Military Balance 2017) on the world's armed forces on Tuesday. China's growing capabilities and the danger they pose to Western dominance were the focus for IISS director John Chipman, who presented the assessment in London.

"We now judge that in some capability areas, particularly in the air domain, China appears to be reaching near-parity with the West. Also Beijing is now beginning to offer for export some of its modern military systems," he told the audience.

One particular weapon the institute sees as a possible threat is the PL-10 short-range air-to-air missile, which "only a handful of leading airspace nations are able to develop," according to Chipman.


Why Kiev's shelling raids on Donbass coincide with Poroshenko's foreign tours

© REUTERS/ Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service
Kiev deliberately has protracted the talks over the Minsk agreements, according to Natalia Nikonorova, Foreign Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR). Speaking to RT Russian political analyst Alexei Chesnakov, she assumed that Kiev wants international security forces brought in to eastern Ukraine to gain the upper hand.

Kiev used pauses in the negotiations of the Normandy Four and the Trilateral Contact group to sabotage the Minsk accords, Natalia Nikonorova, Foreign Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), told a press conference Thursday.

"Of all 13 paragraphs, which describe the whole set of measures necessary for the implementation of the Minsk accords, only one has been implemented [by Kiev] — to create subgroups," Nikonorova said as quoted by RIA Novosti.


More #FakeNews: AP reports Trump considering mobilizing 100,000 National Guard troops to round up illegal immigrants - White House denies

© Adrees Latif / Reuters
The Trump administration is considering mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up illegal immigrants, according to a draft memo obtained by AP. The White House said the agency's report is "false," however.

What the AP called "unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement" would affect locations as far north as Portland, Oregon and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana, according to the 11-page document, purportedly written by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

The proposal would four states bordering on Mexico - Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas - as well as the seven neighboring states of Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah. Governors in the eleven states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate in the round-up, according to AP.


RT chief describes US media's campaign of intimidation and harassment

Simonyan always keeps it real
Margarita Simonyan says that the Wall Street Journal has pressured advertisers who cooperate with RT into pulling their money. Very professional.

The idea of "questioning more" is not particularly welcome among "respected" outlets such as the Wall Street Journal. So it's not easy being editor-in-chief of a news organization that puts the US media to shame.

Margarita Simonyan knows this all too well.

RT's chief explained on Russian television how the Wall Street Journal launched a campaign of intimidation to prevent advertisers from working with her organization.

Real classy. And shows a great deal of professional courtesy.

We reported just a few days ago on an excellent commentary that Simonyan wrote detailing why the west's pathological hatred for Russia is so dangerous.


German intel clears Russia of any interference

© Stefan Dimitrov
After a multi-month, politically charged investigation, German intelligence agencies could find no good evidence of Moscow-directed cyber-attacks or a disinformation campaign aimed at subverting the democratic process in Germany. Undaunted, Chancellor Angela Merkel has commissioned a new investigation.

Last year, Berlin's two main intelligence agencies, the BND and BfV (counterparts of the CIA and FBI) launched a joint investigation to substantiate allegations that Russia was meddling in German political affairs and attempting to shape the outcome of Germany's elections next September.

Like the vast majority of Americans malnourished on "mainstream media," most Germans have been led to believe that, by hacking and "propaganda," the Kremlin interfered in the recent U.S. election and helped Donald Trump become president.