Saturday 16th of December 2017

the art of the dicks on the hill... amazing portrait of putin circa 1435...

modern van dicks

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump reluctantly signed into a law a new set of sanctions against Russia, issuing a statement criticizing the “seriously flawed” measure, which also curtails his power to ease Russian sanctions. “In its haste, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions,” Trump said. “Yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity.”

Trump’s statement distancing himself from the bill is similar in tone to the Kremlin response; both blame Congress and political divisions in the United States for the new sanctions.

In a statement last week, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Congress’ nearly unanimous approval of the sanctions bill indicates that “in certain circles” of US politics “Russophobia and the course of open confrontation with our country have become entrenched.” The ministry added, “[T]he new law on sanctions clearly showed that relations with Russia have become hostage to the internal political struggle within the United States itself.”

Seva Gunitsky, a political-science professor at the University of Toronto and Russia commentator, notes that “by saying things like ‘certain circles’ in Congress are pushing for these sanctions, they are still trying to appeal to Trump. They are saying, ‘Look, these sanctions are not really Trump’s fault; they are the Congress’ fault or the deep state’s fault.’ They don’t say it in those words, but that’s sort of implicit.”

Writing on his Facebook page on Wednesday, Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev also eased Trump’s responsibility for the bill he just signed: “The news is mainly that Trump has given up,” he wrote, noting that Trump’s other option was to go against Congress. 

Meanwhile, state-controlled Russian media led with the news that Trump had criticized the sanctions bill. “Trump: Newly-Signed Russian Sanctions Bill ‘Significantly Flawed,'” read a headline from Russia Today.  A headline on the state-owned online news website Vesti declared, “Trump Isn’t Sure That the Sanctions Bill He Signed Is Constitutional.”

read more:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/08/the-trump-administration-and...

Orignal painting by Jan Van Eyck, Louvre, Paris, Madonna of the Chancellor Rolin... (flipped by Gus)

 

the fools on capitol hill... and on late night shows...

 

Trevor Noah of Comedy Central addressed another aspect of the administration’s relationship with the Kremlin: the Russia sanctions bill that overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate.

“While we know that the autocrat billionaire brothers from another mother badly want to improve US-Russia relations, it seems like it’s not going quite that way,” he began, explaining the passage of a veto-proof bill leveraging sanctions on Russia.

“Not only did they put sanctions on Russia, they’ve effectively put sanctions on Donald Trump,” he said. “And by the way, it wasn’t even close. Not only did the sanctions pass the Senate by 98-2, in the House the vote was 419-3. Everyone in congress went up against Russia like it was Ted Cruz.”

The host then detailed Russia’s retaliatory efforts, including the expulsion of 755 American diplomats and the seizure of a US compound in Moscow.

 

Read more if you can be bothered...:

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2017/aug/02/late-night-russia-sancti...

 

when the disbelievers become believers by default...

Most of the Yanks don't believe in "global warming" — especially in congress... So by voting for sanctions against Russia they are actually betraying their anti-global warming beliefs. Yoohoo!... See, without sanctions, Putin and Exxon could make a deal to exploit the arctic oil fields. With sanctions, Exxon cannot participate and thus will be missing out on profits from burning the planet down. The dills on the hill are most likely bidding against themselves or for secret profits, considering most of them would have shares in petroleum related products. Here the sum of all things could go up or down depending on what shares they have and how the price of oil could go up or down with more exploitation/exploration or not... It's a fine line but by voting for sanctions, they are actually helping the planet while losing or not some cash on the stock market... With less exploration, shares in Exxon will go south, but shares in plastics, oil distribution and shale oil could go up — as well as shares in electric cars... go figure... 

 

Here is the contradiction:

According to a Wall Street Journal report: “Lobbyists for Exxon and other oil industry players have expressed dismay to lawmakers about several provisions in the legislation, including measures to prohibit partnerships with Russian individuals or companies under sanctions around the world, and to add congressional review of certain sanctions exemptions … Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said the company doesn’t have a position on sanctions but has provided legislators with information about how the bill could ‘disadvantage U.S. companies compared to our non-U.S. counterparts.’” Exxon was reportedly concerned, among other things, about the fact of its joint projects with Rosneft in New Mexico and Canada.

But the bill, even as modified, remains a barrier to the easing of Russia sanctions that Putin has sought, and thus, in particular, a barrier to the lucrative Exxon-Rosneft Arctic deal.

The White House hedged for week as to whether Trump would sign or veto the legislation. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last week that Trump “has been very vocal about his support for continuing sanctions on those three countries.” But she added that Trump “wants to make sure we get the best deal for the American people possible … Congress does not have the best record on that. . . . He’s going to study that legislation and see what the final product looks like.”

Vladimir Putin, unlike Trump, could count votes, and knew that even a Trump veto would likely be overridden by Congress. So Friday morning, Putin tried a new take, implementing the retaliation he put on hold in December. Russia seized two U.S.diplomatic properties in the Moscow area ― a warehouse a collection of rustic cottages ― and ordered the U.S. to cut its staff in Russia down to 455, matching the number of Russian diplomats in the U.S. “It’s impossible to endlessly tolerate this kind of insolence toward our country,” Putin said Friday.

Friday afternoon the White House announced that Trump would sign the bill, tightening the grip of the Russia sanctions ― the opposite of what candidate Trump had proposed.

Still, Putin and Trump seem unlikely to stop pursuing their bromance, seemingly driven by a mutual love of autocratic government, of pressuring the media and judiciary to do their bidding, of their white nationalist fans, and of mingling their financial interests with their government power, as well as their agreed-upon liquids of choice, oil and gas.

Whatever the fate of its former CEO Tillerson in the Trump government, and despite its current tiff with Treasury, ExxonMobil, along with Sechin and Rosneft, will be waiting in the wings, hoping that a new era of detente will unleash boundless new fossil fuel production and profits.

Kert Davies directs the Climate Investigations Center. David Halperin, a lawyer, formerly worked at the National Security Council and the Senate Intelligence Committee. This article also appears on Republic Report.

read more:

https://www.desmogblog.com/2017/08/01/exxon-treasury-fight-and-roots-rus...

a grand witch hunt...

Donald Trump has sought to rally thousands of diehard supporters against the investigation into his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia – on the same day news emerged that the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has convened a grand jury in the case.

“They’re trying to cheat you out of the leadership that you want with a fake story,” Trump told a rally in Huntington, West Virginia.

The concerted effort could be a sign that the White House is realising the full gravity of the situation. Mueller, appointed special counsel in May following the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, has recruited more than a dozen investigators, including current and former justice department prosecutors with experience in international bribery, organised crime and financial fraud.

It was confirmed on Thursday that Mueller is using a grand jury in Washington, meaning he could subpoena witnesses and records in the coming weeks and months.

The use of a grand jury, a standard prosecution tool in criminal investigations, suggests that Mueller and his team of investigators are likely to hear from witnesses and demand documents in the coming weeks and months. The person who confirmed to The Associated Press that Mueller had turned to a grand jury was not authorized to discuss the investigation by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

read more:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/03/donald-trump-west-virgin...

a full-blown national psychosis...

Russia hysteria has become a full-blown national psychosis at a moment in history when a separate array of troubles poses the real threat to America’s well-being. Most of these have to do with the country’s swan dive into bankruptcy, but meeting them honestly would force uncomfortable choices on the grifters and caitiffs in congress. Meanwhile, the Treasury Dept is burning through its dwindling cash reserves, and all government activities will face a shutdown at the end of the summer unless congress votes to raise the debt ceiling — which may be way harder than passing the stupid Russia sanctions bill.

That bill, vaingloriously called The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act will only blow up in America’s face. This country’s actual trade with Russia is negligible, but the bill aims to interrupt and punish Europe’s trade, centering on oil and natural gas, which they need desperately. Mainly, the US bill seeks to interrupt a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea that would bypass several of the Baltic Nations currently being used by America — under the NATO banner — as staging areas for unnecessary and provocative war games on Russia’s borders.

Germany is certain to not stand for it, and like it or not, they are the straw that stirs the European drink. The sanctions pretend to seek to isolate Russia, but the effect will only be to isolate the United States. Europe will laugh at the measure as impinging on their sovereign prerogatives to trade as they please. And Russia can turn around and sell all the natural gas it wants to customers in Asia. Left undiscussed in the moronic American media is the American gas industry’s hidden role in pushing the sanctions so it can sell liquefied gas overseas — which would only end up raising the price for American gas customers to heat their homes.

The stupid bill pretends to be a lever for improving relations between the US and Russia, but is actually designed to make relations much worse. In the meantime, the US Deep State military and intelligence matrix is engineering new crises and confrontations for absolutely no good reason. For instance, shoveling arms to Ukraine so it can step up conflict in the eastern Donbass region bordering Russia. The sanctions bill will also make it impossible for the US and Russia to coordinate an end to the conflict in Syria. Anyway, Deep State strategists in the State, Defense, and Intel departments are tacitly determined to create another failed state by insuring continuing chaos there.

Another interesting unanticipated consequence of the sanctions bill is that it will only intensify Russia’s effort, already well underway, to provide for itself many of the products it currently imports. Import replacement, as the process is called, is actually the same dynamic that led to the rise of the USA as a great industrial power in the 19th century, so the bill only prompts Russia to diversify and strengthen its economy.

So what exactly was Mr. Trump thinking when he signed the “deeply flawed” (his words) Russian Sanctions bill coughed up like a hairball by congress? It’s a ridiculous piece of legislation from any angle. It limits the president’s own established prerogatives for negotiating with foreign nations (probably unconstitutionally), and will only provoke economic warfare (at least) against the US that can easily lead to shattering global trade relations entirely. Some observers say he had to sign it because the vote for it in congress was so overwhelming (419 to 3) that they would only override a Trump veto. But the veto would have had, at least, symbolic value in the Jacksonian spirit that Trump pretended to want to emulate at the outset of his term. Perhaps he sees the Deep State endgame and is tired of resisting.

On the home front, Russia paranoia is at the center of Robert Mueller’s intensifying probe of Trump and his political associates as he calls a federal grand jury to hear testimony — which implies that he some lined up. This opens up all kinds of opportunities for prosecutorial mischief, for instance going after every business transaction Trump made as a private citizen before he ran for president, and coercing Trump intimates into immunization deals in exchange for testimony, real or cooked-up, to enable the establishment’s ultimate goal of shoving Trump out.

The “Russian meddling in our election” story hasn’t produced any credible evidence after a full year — and speaking to foreign diplomats is not a crime — but the Russian meddling juggernaut rolls on perfectly well, and might accomplish its ends, without it. Just repeating “Russian meddling” five thousand times on CNN has surely induced many poorly-informed citizens to believe that Russia changed the numbers in American voting machines though, in fact, voting machines are not connected to the Internet.

All of this psychotic political behavior screams for the rise of a new party, or more than one new party, composed of men and women who have not lost their minds. I’m sure they’re out there. Plenty of traces on the Internet attest to the existence of a higher and better political consciousness in this country. It just hasn’t found a way to congeal. Yet.

read more:

http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/russiatosis/

gold rush...

Russia continues buying large quantities of gold. In July, Russia's Central Bank purchased 9.1 tons of gold. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, because of new US sanctions, Russia is forced to start developing a system, within which the dollar will not be needed. Pravda.Ru conducted an interview on the subject with Alexei Vyazovsky, analyst, vice-president of the Golden Mint House.

"Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Russia, in response to new US sanctions, is stepping up efforts to reduce dependence on the US dollar. Some believe that Russia, China and India will completely abjure international payments in dollars and euros. The president of Turkey also urged other nations to give up the US dollar and buy gold and lira instead. Forbes analysts write that the Bretton Woods system of finance, which made the dollar the world's largest currency since 1944, may collapse. Are there any reasons for such fears? Do you think the Kremlin has a major geopolitical strategy at this point?

read more:

http://www.pravdareport.com/russia/economics/09-08-2017/138366-russia_bu...

the gold standard...

 

The German central bank (Bundesbank) has brought back 674 tons of gold reserves kept in Paris and New York since the Cold War.

Some 53,780 gold bars, each weighing 12.5kg and worth €440,000 [each], have been shipped to Germany over the last four years, said the bank. The last 100 tons were moved from Paris earlier this year, which means the Bundesbank now holds no reserves in France.

"This closes out the entire gold storage plan – around three years ahead of the time we were aiming for," said Carl-Ludwig Thiele, a member of the Bundesbank’s Executive Board.

The bank has already repatriated 940 tons of gold from London to save on storage fees.

In 2013 Germany said it planned to transfer at least half of the country’s gold to Frankfurt by 2020. The move was in response to public concerns about having so much of the nation’s wealth kept abroad.

Over 50 percent of Germany's gold reserves are now in Frankfurt. The remainder is stored in London and New York, where it can be quickly exchanged for British pounds or US dollars in an economic emergency.

Read more:

https://www.rt.com/business/400735-bundesbank-repatriates-gold-paris/

 

Read item above...

 

 

The newspaper Bild has deliberately misled the public by publishing fake news about the early return of Germany's gold reserves, finance expert Peter Boehringer told Sputnik.

Boehringer, who is also a Germany gold repatriation activist, referred to Bild's article titled "The gold is finally in Germany. Bundesbank brings German gold reserves from abroad three years earlier than planned."

He said that "this is semi-fake news" as only fifty percent of Germany's gold reserves were returned. Given the sluggish schedule Bundesbank has set itself, this is hard to label a success, according to him.

"Well, fifty percent of the gold had been brought back. This, in principle, is good. However, the newspaper's report is only half true because Bild said that Germany is bringing back all its gold reserves. But it hasn’t managed to do this, it’s only returned half," Boehringer told Sputnik Germany.

read more:

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201708251056780624-germany-gold-reserves-return-bundesbank/

 

committee spreading falsehoods...

 

Famously brash Republican strategist and US President Donald Trump supporter Roger Stone delivered explosive testimony before the House Intelligence Committee (HIC) Tuesday, accusing the committee and others of spreading falsehoods to prop up the story of alleged Russian interference into the 2016 US presidential election.

Stone, who served as an adviser on the Trump campaign in its earliest days before leaving under controversial circumstances in August 2015, was one of the first to be accused of collusion with the Russian government. Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta accused Stone of having prior knowledge that his emails had been hacked, and that the Russians were the ones who stole them. Stone denied both allegations.

The famously flamboyant Stone accused members of the HIC of making "irresponsible, indisputably and provably false statements in order to create the impression of collusion with the Russian state without any evidence that would hold up in a US court of law or the court of public opinion."

read more:

https://sputniknews.com/us/201709261057724757-rorger-stone-russia-gate-testimony/

 

tightening butts, all in a god's day's work...

 

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Roy S. Moore, a firebrand former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, overcame efforts by top Republicans to rescue his rival, Senator Luther Strange, defeating him on Tuesday in a special primary runoff, according to The Associated Press.

The outcome in the closely watched Senate race dealt a humbling blow to President Trump and other party leaders days after the president pleaded with voters in the state to back Mr. Strange.

Propelled by the stalwart support of his fellow evangelical Christians, Mr. Moore survived a multimillion-dollar advertising onslaught financed by allies of Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader. His victory demonstrated in stark terms the limits of Mr. Trump’s clout.

In a race that began as something of a political afterthought and ended up showcasing the right’s enduring divisions, the victory by Mr. Moore, one of the most tenacious figures in Alabama politics, will likely embolden other anti-establishment conservatives to challenge incumbent Republicans in next year’s midterm elections.

read more:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/us/politics/roy-moore-alabama-senate.html

The victory of Moore, a former state Supreme Court judge who believes Christian biblical morality should invalidate federal court decisions, sends a clear warning signal to President Trump and GOP leaders — who supported incumbent Luther Strange — that conservative, grass-roots anger will continue to roil the party into the 2018 midterm elections.

read more:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/moore-vs-strange-polling-opens-in-alabama-republican-primary/2017/09/25/9c7192f8-a253-11e7-b14f-f41773cd5a14_story.html?utm_term=.b189aeba0713

 

We, the atheists of this little insignificant planet, can only look in awe at the bullshit pile...