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Wed, 23 May 2018
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Chess

Putin names new Cabinet members, changes little from previous administration

trump
© epa
His early May reappointment of Dmitry Medvedev was hugely disappointing, an extremely unpopular figure in contrast to overwhelming public support for Putin.

He's pro-Western, and dare I say a fifth columnist threat to Russian sovereign independence by seeking unattainable improved ties with Washington, perhaps willing to sacrifice plenty to get it.

He supports so-called "liberal" governance - what I call neoliberal harshness, benefitting privileged interests at the expense of most others, how the US and EU are deplorably run, how Washington wants all nations run, along with bending to its will overall.

Thankfully Putin didn't appoint fifth columnist Alexey Kudrin to what Russian analyst John Helmer called vice president for capitulation to the West - "the dominant policymaker...after Putin."

Network

Russian ambassador to US: Developing relations with BRICS countries a top foreign policy priority for Moscow

diplomatic meeting
© Embassy of Russia in the USA / Facebook
Developing close relations with the BRICS states remains one of Moscow's top foreign policy priorities, Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, said ahead of Narendra Modi's meeting with Vladimir Putin in Sochi.

"Deeper strategic partnership in BRICS is one of the priorities of Russia's foreign policy. Over recent years, the alliance has matured, turning into a full-scale mechanism of cooperation," Antonov said last week, answering media questions following the VI Annual Conference 'Doing Business with the BRICS' in Washington DC.

Noting the increasing global role of BRICS countries, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, Antonov highlighted the main benefits of the association of five major emerging world economies, noting that the New Development Bank serves to reform the "outdated" global financial system.

Comment:
PM Narendra Modi leaves for Sochi for informal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin

...
Mr Modi's one-day trip to Russian summer beach resort of Sochi coincides amid US sanctions against Moscow.

The US move has raised concerns that the Washington's decision could possibly affect Russian military supplies to India, particularly an estimated Rs 40,000-crore deal to buy the sophisticated, long-range S-400 air defence system.

However, it is in this context, a senior official had said on Thursday, "We are not going to allow our defence requirements to be dictated by any other country.

Whatever is in India's interest in terms of procuring equipment for national security and defence is what will determine the manner in which we act with various countries".

The US sanctions against Russia is for its meddling in Ukraine, Syria and the 2016 presidential elections.

India's military and strategic ties with Russia date back to the Cold War era.
...
Mr Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a similar informal summit in China recently.

Indian officials say Russia is an "old friend and trusted partner" and thus it is not an issue of building a relationship or deepening trust.

"It is a question of using that trust and friendship that we have to discuss a number of issues those have emerged as a result of important changes in the international and regional situations," a senior official has said.



Hourglass

When justice becomes politicized, desperate times call for disparate measures

comey
© Brian Snyder/Reuters
Former FBI Director James Comey at a news conference in 2014.
FBI director Comey and the Obama Justice Department applied a double standard in their handling of the Clinton-email and Trump-Russia investigations.

We wuz robbed. That's the theme Democrats and their media allies are working hard to cement into conventional wisdom. And robbed in a very specific way: The 2016 presidential election, we're to believe, was stolen from Hillary Clinton by disparate treatment. As Democrats tell it, the FBI scandalized their candidate while protecting Donald Trump.

You might think peddling that story with a straight face would be a major challenge. But they figure it may work because it was test-driven by the FBI's then-director, James Comey, in his now infamous press conference on July 5, 2016 - back when the law-enforcement and intelligence apparatus on which we rely to read the security tea leaves was simply certain that Mrs. Clinton would win.

Chess

French finance minister: 'US not economic gendarme of planet' - suggests EU may compensate firms hit by US sanctions

European union EU iran sanctions trump
France's economy minister has suggested that the EU may compensate European companies affected by US sanctions on Iran, stressing that the bloc should not accept Washington as "the economic gendarme of the planet."

Bruno Le Maire referred to a series of countermeasures that the EU adopted in 1996 in response to US extraterritorial economic sanctions against Cuba. Back then, Brussels argued that those sanctions benefited Washington's foreign policy interests at the expense of EU sovereignty. The regulation aimed "to protect the economic and/or financial interests of natural or legal persons against the effects of the extraterritorial application of legislation."

Comment:


Better Earth

Eurasian Economic Union summit in Sochi welcomes Moldova into economic superbloc

eurasian economic union
Today, Moldova officially joined the Eurasian Economic Union, but only as an observer state for now. But particular attention was drawn to the new Armenian prime minister, who publicly cleared up the new government's attitude toward union.


Attention

Sally Yates was the true blackmailer in the Flynn matter

Sally Yates
© Wikipedia
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates
In dramatic testimony Monday, Obama holdover Attorney General Sally Yates testified that she warned the incoming White House its newly installed national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was "compromised" by a lie and therefore a potential "blackmail target" of the Russians. President Trump can be forgiven for ignoring her warning. It was Yates who was blackmailing him.

It's clear from recent revelations that President Obama and his holdovers had a morbid fear of Lt. Gen. Flynn, an anti-Islamic terror hawk, and were gunning for him early in the transition, long before rumors he was involved in any alleged Russian conspiracy.

Just two days after the election, Obama urged President-elect Trump not to rehire Flynn, whom he once fired from the Pentagon. Obama reportedly made it clear he didn't like the man. (Flynn says his views on Islam put him at odds with the former president.)

Comment:


Clipboard

Witness to Andrew Breitbart's sudden death vanishes

A private investigator has been unable to find the only eyewitness to the sudden death of media innovator and conservative activist
Christopher Lasseter

Christopher Lasseter (right)
The apparent disappearance of Christopher Lasseter, who says he saw Breitbart drop to the sidewalk in front of a restaurant, adds to the mystery surrounding Breitbart's March 1 death.

On the day the Los Angeles County coroner released Breitbart's autopsy report, a photographic technician at the coroner's office died suddenly of suspicious causes.

In addition, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., just three weeks before Breitbart's death - where he promised to unveil "damning" new video evidence of Barack Obama's radical past that would change the election - Breitbart gave WND details of his upcoming revelations.

He claimed to WND that he had a video showing radical Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers and Barack Obama at Harvard planning revolution in the United States. But the video, aired just after he died, was of Obama introducing a radical Harvard professor, and the general response was flat.

Horse

Facebook Announces Partnership With Atlantic Council to 'Protect Democracy'

NATO Facebook

What better way to protect democracy than to have Amerika do it?
Facebook has engaged a think tank funded by weapons manufacturers, branches of the US military and Middle-Eastern monarchies to safeguard the democratic process. It's akin to hiring arsonists to run the fire brigade.

If Facebook truly wanted to "protect democracy and elections worldwide," it would build a broad coalition of experts and activists from a wide and disparate range of the countries it serves. Instead, the American social media giant has outsourced the task to NATO's propaganda wing.

For the uninitiated, the Atlantic Council serves as the American-led alliance's chief advocacy group. And its methods are rather simple: it grants stipends and faux academic titles to various activists that align with NATO's agenda. Thus, lobbyists become "fellows" and "experts," while the enterprise constructs a neutral sheen, which is rarely (if ever) challenged by Western media outlets - often reliant on its employees for easy comment and free op-eds.

While that has always been ethically questionable, Facebook's latest move, given its effective monopoly position, is far more sinister. Because it is now tied to a "think tank" which has proposed terrorist attacks in Russia and has demanded Russian-funded news outlets be forced to register as "foreign agents" in the United States.

Make no mistake: this is a dream scenario for NATO and those who depend on it for their livelihoods and status. Because the Atlantic Council is now perfectly positioned to be the tail wagging the Facebook dog in the information space.

Bad Guys

Kadyrov: Thwarted terror attack on Orthodox church in Chechnya ordered by West, not ISIS

Emergency services seen at the Church of Michael the Archangel in Grozny, Chechnya on May 19, 2017.
© Said Tsarnaev / Sputnik
Emergency services seen at the Church of Michael the Archangel in Grozny, Chechnya on May 19, 2017.
Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the Saturday attack on an Orthodox church in Russia's Chechen Republic, which left a worshiper and two police officers dead.

The terrorist group took the credit for the attack, issuing a statement through its online mouthpieces, the SITE Intelligence Group reported Sunday. Four terrorists, armed with blades, incendiary devices and guns, stormed the Church of Michael the Archangel in the Chechen capital, Grozny.

Comment: See also:


USA

Engelhardt: An Empire of Nothing at All?

CARTOON-CIVIL-WAR-1862
© Granger - Historical Picture Archive
CARTOON CIVIL WAR, 1862
The U.S. Military Takes Us Through the Gates of Hell

As I was putting the finishing touches on my new book, the Costs of War Project at Brown University's Watson Institute published an estimate of the taxpayer dollars that will have gone into America's war on terror from September 12, 2001, through fiscal year 2018. That figure: a cool $5.6 trillion (including the future costs of caring for our war vets). On average, that's at least $23,386 per taxpayer.

Keep in mind that such figures, however eye-popping, are only the dollar costs of our wars. They don't, for instance, include the psychic costs to the Americans mangled in one way or another in those never-ending conflicts. They don't include the costs to this country's infrastructure, which has been crumbling while taxpayer dollars flow copiously and in a remarkably -- in these years, almost uniquely -- bipartisan fashion into what's still laughably called "national security." That's not, of course, what would make most of us more secure, but what would make them -- the denizens of the national security state -- ever more secure in Washington and elsewhere. We're talking about the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. nuclear complex, and the rest of that state-within-a-state, including its many intelligence agencies and the warrior corporations that have, by now, been fused into that vast and vastly profitable interlocking structure.

Comment: When costs outweigh benefits, when progress becomes regression, when life no longer matters...the price is too high to pay.