Brexit could help EU strike free trade deal with India, MEPs believe

Leaked document suggests Indian tariffs on scotch and Theresa May’s visa rules for skilled Indians had been impeding progress

The EU believes it may stand a better chance of striking a free trade deal with India after the UK leaves the union, despite the importance Britain attaches to trade with its old colony.

A document drawn up by MEPs on the powerful trade committee analysing the impact of Brexit on the EU’s trade talks around the world suggests India’s desire to maintain tariffs on scotch whisky has hindered progress on a EU-India deal.

Related: Trade between UK and India to suffer double hit, says business chief

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Orgy Enthusiast Bill Maher Defends Statutory Rape On Several Occasions – “The Crime Is That We Didn’t Get It On Videotape”

What an interesting turn of events. Days after outspoken Trump-supporter Milo Yiannopoulos appeared on Bill Maher’s panel of idiots where he was subject to a liberal hit-job, the left decided to execute operation McMuffin; a collaboration between liberals and former CIA “never-Trumper” Evan McMullin to strategically release dredged up flippant remarks Milo made about homosexual grooming – which led to a canceled book deal and his resignation as tech editor for Breitbart. With over 1500 sex trafficking and child exploitation arrests in the first month of Trump’s presidency, this was clearly the left’s desperate attempt to try and insinuate some sort of hypocrisy on the right concerning pedophilia. Weak.

The MSM, predictably, wasted no time attacking Milo – a strategy which surely couldn’t backfire:

Salon.com even deleted a pro-pedophilia article so they wouldn’t look like total hypocrites when they ran an story quoting Bill Maher, who took credit for kicking off the Milo smear campaign:

Hours later, thanks to 4chan and Reddit – the tides are turning, and Bill Maher’s about to get blown the fuck out…

Turns out the 61 year old host of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher, who attends a $75K / year elite Los Angeles sex club, is also a huge fan of pedophilia as long as the abuser is a woman – as told in a 2007 issue of Playboy magazine:

This isn’t the first time Maher has defended statutory rape. While the official DSM definition of pedophilia has an age cutoff of 13, the HBO host vehemently defended former teacher and convicted statutory child rapist Mary Kay Letourneau for having a sexual relationship with one of her students, which began when the boy was 12 – firmly putting Maher’s advocacy for the relationship in pedo territory.

(Note how Henry Rollins is completely on point?)

 

  

Karma Bill, karma. Oh, and about that sex club mentioned earlier; it appears Maher is into some Eyes Wide Shut shit. While normally I wouldn’t care – the hypocrisy of his ivory tower judgment of a gay conservative, and the fact that he piled on and took credit for kicking off Milo’s “downfall” for the exact same practice he’s advocated several times, makes it fair game to point out that the HBO host loves him some expensive orgies!

At a swanky party in a Beverly Hills, Calif., mansion last Saturday, I spot Bill Maher in a sea of beautiful young women and make my approach.

 

“Are you a Leo?” I ask the host of HBO’s “Real Time,” while eyeing a lion pendant around his neck.

 

“No, they make me wear this stupid thing because I’m a member,” he replies, stroking the back of his date, a pretty younger woman in a short black leather dress.

 

Single men pay $1,850 per party, or $1,500 if they come with a female partner. For the erotic elite, there’s an annual Dominus membership for $75,000, which includes admission to all parties, a sterling-silver necklace with a lion pendant and access to private rooms at parties and Lawner’s network of sex experts.

The sex club also has an interesting initiation:

Dominus members sign a “blood oath,” involving blood and a paper document, to join — but Lawner won’t go into details. NY Post

What??? AIDS tests are in the back of the store at the pharmacy counter, Bill.

The crickets are warming up for yet another prolonged silence from the MSM.

 

  

MSNBC Anchor: “Our Job” Is To “Control Exactly What People Think”

During a lively discussion centered on fears that President Trump is “trying to undermine the media,” MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski let slip the awesome unspoken truth that the media’s “job” is to “actually control exactly what people think.”


SCARBOROUGH: “Exactly. That is exactly what I hear. What Yamiche said is what I hear from all the Trump supporters that I talk to who were Trump voters and are still Trump supporters. They go, ‘Yeah you guys are going crazy. He’s doing — what are you so surprised about? He is doing exactly what he said he is going to do.'”

 

BRZEZINSKI: “Well, I think that the dangerous, you know, edges here are that he is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job.”

As grabien points out, the comment failed to raise any eyebrows from her co-panelists. Instead, her co-host, Joe Scarborough, said that Trump’s media antagonism puts him on par with Mussolini and Lenin…

How Tennessee Could Be About To Start A Constitutional Crisis

The State Senate of Tennessee has laid the legislative groundwork for something that hasn’t been done in the United States of America since the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia.  With a vote of 27-3, the Tennessee Senate has voted to call a “convention of the states” in order to draft and pass an amendment to the Constitution that would require balanced budgets to be passed every year. 

For those who are little fuzzy on their high school U.S. history knowledge, the Tennessean explains that the U.S. Constitution can be amended in two ways.  The first would require a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of Congress, an unlikely outcome in today’s hyper-partisan political arena.  The second, on the other hand, requires that two-thirds of the states (34 in total) pass a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention

There are two ways to propose amendments to the Constitution. The first and more traditional method is through a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Then the amendment is sent to the state legislatures, where it needs ratification by three-fourths or 38 states in order to become law. Nearly all 27 amendments have followed this path.

 

But the Constitution also provides a second, more populist path to amending the document. If two-thirds or 34 states pass a resolution calling for a Constitutional Convention, delegates from all 50 states will meet to draft an amendment. This is what the Tennessee lawmakers are calling for in their resolution.

Of course, calls for a convention to pass a balanced budget amendment started in the 1970s and have failed each time.  That said, with Republicans now controlling 32 state legislatures, this latest effort initiated by Tennessee seems to have the best chance of succeeding so far. 

And while there have been close calls for Constitutional Conventions before, each time Congress has acted preemptively to stave off the need for a convention. In 1911, for example, 28 states of the required 32 passed a resolution calling for direct election of Senators before Congress intervened and drafted the Seventeenth Amendment instead.

Con

 

But, as the Tennessean notes, the problem with amending the Constitution through a convention is that once the convention is convened anything can happen.  For example, the last time the states gathered for a convention in 1787 they ended up tossing out the Articles of Confederation and forming an entirely new government based on the current Constitution.

The last time the states gathered to amend a governing document on the scale the resolution calls for, the delegates threw out America’s first basis of government and replaced it with the Constitutional system used today.

 

“They were supposed to meet to make amendments to the Articles of Confederation but ended up with a whole new form of government,” said Nathan Griffith, an associate professor of political science at Belmont University. “Not just a new constitution, but a whole new form of government.”

If enough states pass a similar resolution, then a planning convention could meet as early as this upcoming July, and by November the first Article V Convention in history could be called by Congress.

Meanwhile, as we noted earlier today, President Trump offered his own warning on America’s national debt this morning saying that “[spending] was out of control,” as officials gathered to discuss the budget, adding that there is “enormous work to do on the national debt.”

There is a “moral duty” to taxpayers, President Trump says at White House budget lunch, “we must do a lot more with less.”

 

“Our budget is absolutely out of control” he added, and in the future “will reflect our priorities.”

 

The hiring freeze for non-essential workers will remain.

 

“We have enormous work to do on the national debt”

 

There will be “no more wasted money, we will spend in a careful way.”

 

Of course, we’re not really sure what all the fuss is about…only $10 trillion has been added to the national debt over the past 8 years, which, when you think about it, is a very manageable $31,000 per man, woman and child.

TN

 

And balancing the budget 5 years out of 50 is pretty good, right?

Budget Deficit

The Conflictual Relationship Between Donald Trump And The US “Deep State” – Part 2

Submitted by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

In just two weeks as president of the United States, Donald Trump has left traces of how he intends to tackle various international political situations. The previous article dealt with a series of possible sabotage efforts suffered by the Trump administration. In this second and concluding article, I intend to analyze the situations in Iran, Russia, Ukraine, and Syria as well as the stance towards NATO, the EU and China. The goal is to decipher how Trump has used admissions, silences and bluffs in order to advance his intentions and obviate the deep state’s sabotage efforts.

Deep-state sabotage is in full swing and is increasingly influencing the Trump administration. The latest example can be seen in the resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. He was forced to resign either for inappropriate contacts with the Russian ambassador in the US prior to his appointment, or for not telling the truth about his phone call to the Vice President and President.

As with the whole Trump presidency, it is very difficult to understand whether we are facing an act of sabotage from the deep state or whether this is yet another semi-improvised strategy to muffle the drums of war. We all know of Flynn’s closeness to his Russian counterparts, a rapprochement that cannot be placed in danger with the dismissal of the new National Security Adviser. Trump needs Russia more than Russia needs Washington; improving ties is something that Trump needs in order to avoid major conflicts and de-escalate the international situation. One could even imagine that Flynn was wisely removed given his harsh and trenchant positions on Iran that would send Washington on a terrible path of war with Tehran.

There are several international situations in which the intentions of the new administration are very difficult to understand and sometimes even provoke amazement. Let us first examine the administration’s attitude towards the Iran and Yemen. As noted a few weeks ago, very harsh words from the US administration were directed towards Tehran following a legitimate missile test, and especially with the defensive actions of the Houthis in Yemen. With Yemen and Iran not looking like diminishing their legitimate actions, the affair regarding Flynn could fall into a de-escalation strategy to contain excesses in Islamophobia expressed by the former National Security Advisor.

Trump has always preferred to counter deep-state sabotage attempts with substantial bluffing, as seen with the strong rhetoric used against Tehran regarding its recent actions, exactly as in Yemen for the actions of Ansarullah defense forces. The Trump strategy seems to want to please the factions closest to the neoconservative wing, the Israeli and Saudi lobbies. Targeting Yemen and Iran with words has at least temporarily quietened the drums of war of an important part of the establishment in Washington. Trump has to carry out a careful balancing act involving his words and actions in order not to not draw too harsh a response from the Washington establishment.

Flynn's dismissal could also be seen as an easy attempt to sabotage and prevent a rapprochement with Russia; indeed this is likely to be so.

But meanwhile, we can consider one positive aspect: Flynn has always been highly Islamophobic, tending to find it difficult to distinguish between Wahhabi terrorist goons and legitimate Islamic fighters like the Houthis or Hezbollah. Flynn has usually maintained pro-Saudi positions and even pro-Qatar Muslim Brotherhood positions. It may even be that Trump has torpedoed his own personally chosen pick dampening the excessive saber-rattling against the Islamic Republic of Iran that was possibly laying the groundwork for an escalation that Trump had to reign in. This is pure speculation, but everything is possible with this unpredictable presidency.

Much talk, little action

Trump still gives the strong impression that he intends to avoid any further conflict. Bluffing on Iran and Yemen seems to be the ideal choice for the Trump administration: harsh tones and words to placate the most hawkish factions without actually taking any action appears to be the new normal. The first strategy of Trump's foreign policy therefore seems to be to employ a tactic of inaction. Not acting could well represent a new turning point in American foreign policy, avoiding further involvement in the Middle East and in the Persian Gulf. This would represent the first confirmation of Trump’s intention not to squander American resources by going to war and betraying his election promises, thereby further impoverishing the United States. Observing the very intense words on Iran, let us try and analyze the intentions of the Trump administration. Certainly having people like General Mattis within the administration is a big test for how Trump will manage to contain the most anti-Iranian wing of his inner council. Could Flynn's departure be the first step of this internal cleansing, a warning signal to other pro-war figures? Or maybe it is none of the above and in actual fact the first successful sabotage from the deep state.

Silence as a strategy of inaction

Another important approach in Trump’s presidency is a frequent silence or lack of comment on international events. Two most recent cases concern Syria and China. With regard to the «One China» policy, Trump confirmed assumptions made in the past, namely that his intentions are anything but malicious. The tone was initially hard, only to be replaced by a long silence, and then finally words one would not expect, averting an international crisis on this front. It is a modus operandi that should be taken as an example for understanding the psychology of Trump. At first he was critical in a decisive way, calling into question China and Taiwan, then he no longer mentioned the topic, and finally he gave his blessing to the «One China» policy, initiating a likely mutually fruitful cooperation.

Another important part of Trump’s policy of silence involves Syria. Since becoming president, Trump has rendered events in Syria irrelevant, making the issue disappear from the media radar. Thanks to Trump’s guerrilla tactics, lobbing smoke grenades hither and tither and signing two executive orders a day, the media simply does not have the time and perseverance to keep up with everything. One of the sacrificial victims has been the reality in Syria; but a lack of attention from the mainstream media is currently the best hope that we can desire for the Syrian people. Trump’s attitude seems to be deliberately cautious and silent about developments in that nation. The situation in Syria is firmly in Russian hands, and what seems to be occurring is an indirect coordination between Washington and Moscow against Daesh in the country. The silence from Trump certainly irritated the most radical and extreme wing of the deep state, but any attempt to sabotage this progress in Syria now seems to be wrecked thanks to the inaction of the Trump administration and the actions of Moscow. The final coup de grace would be to openly cooperate or act in joint US-Russia actions to defeat terrorism in the region.

Admissions to confirm the election promises

Finally, Trump has never hidden and indeed has often touted his vision of the approach that should be taken with the Russian Federation. A rapprochement with Putin to combat terrorism is one of the pivotal points around which the Trump presidency rotates. During the election campaign he has never hidden his positive intentions, even though this increased the criticism directed towards him. This part of his tactic is based on the admission from the beginning of his campaign of his intention to reach a deal with Moscow. The first confirmation of this intention can be seen in Syria, with Washington apparently ceasing the flow of money and weapons to the so-called moderate rebels, pleasing Moscow and looking for a de-escalation of the conflict. Another important aspect regarding Trump’s statements in terms of foreign policy concerns the role of NATO and his European allies.

During the election campaign he repeatedly attacked the role of NATO, but then was forced to reach an agreement given the importance of the international framework guaranteed by NATO in Europe. This provided a very clear indicator of how Trump’s strategy works out if he has to defer to other considerations. He changed his initial positions by placing a strong emphasis on the need for US allies to pay their share of military spending, namely 2% of GDP. Currently all NATO countries, excluding the United States and Greece, fall below this commitment. Sharp focus is brought on the EU members on the cost of keeping NATO alive, forcing them to come to terms with the harsh economic reality that this implies. In the long term this could lead to a strong treaty revision of NATO. EU countries are increasingly facing difficulty in increasing defense spending, especially when considering existing austerity measures as well as the lack of importance placed on NATO by the European public, with the exception of the EU elite.

This tactic will further weaken the integrity of the European Union. In a sense, the Trump strategy in this case is crystal clear and will probably achieve its objectives.

This situation will provide the perfect opportunity for the European populist and nationalist parties to further attack the foundations of the European Union and its security framework guaranteed by NATO. If Trump wanted to undermine the EU's foundations, pointing to the futility of NATO and at the same demonstrating to his base that he will act on his election promises, then this strategy seems perfectly calibrated.

Ultimately, we can already say that the relations between Trump and the deep state are essentially based on sabotage efforts against Trump, and the asymmetrical responses of his administration, ranging from bluffing, to silences, and admissions.

To correctly assess Trump’s foreign policy, one should divide into three categories the vicissitudes of the United States. In a first column we can include words and rhetoric; in the second, inaction; and in the third, actions taken.

While it is clear and obvious that the first column includes Iran, Yemen and the EU/NATO, it is worthwhile noting that the second column certainly includes inaction like shown towards China, Syria, and the events in Ukraine. The third column, for the moment, essentially concerns the first steps towards Russia and the rapprochement with Moscow. In this sense, it is worth remembering that the resignation of Flynn may just be a deep-state move to sabotage Trump before he takes decisive action to settle a deal with Russia. The tactic of not acting, or of inaction, is difficult to sabotage, as the deep state came to realize when Obama decided not to act in Syria in 2013. Criticizing actions taken is much more effective and easy for the media, as seen with the attacks on Trump’s team for ties with Putin that are deemed too close. In this sense, the hypothesis that Flynn has been sacrificed should not be discarded in this context as a way of promoting a rapprochement with Russia, eliminating one of the most contentious issues between the administration and the deep state.

On this aspect we will need to await the developments between Moscow and Washington, and how this will possibly change the rhetoric against countries such as Yemen and Iran, two countries long criticized by Flynn and his colleagues.

Conclusions

The only possible conclusion relates to the previous point, namely the clear division between words, actions, or inaction. At the moment, the Trump team’s strategy seems to use these three options to further advance their own interests and strategic objectives. Given the uncertainty surrounding the intentions of Trump’s administration, the only sensible attitude seems to wait and see whether the aggressive rhetoric remain just that. Another consideration relates to actions taken by the administration to approach and mend troubled relations with the Russian Federation. Finally is the inaction in foreign policy that amounts to a precise tactic. If words remain words and inaction will continue to remain a key part of the current presidency, perhaps for the first time in decades we will see in practice a positive change in direction from the new US administration.

In all this it remains to be seen whether Trump will really change the direction set by liberal hegemony with its global ambitions for a more realistic one as repeatedly suggested by the school of political realism represented by Mearsheimer. Only time, and actions, will tell.

Dallas Police Pension Board Approves Benefit Cuts; Asks For More Taxpayer Money To Avoid Collapse

For the past several months we’ve warned that the taxpayers of the City of Dallas, despite all of the tough talk coming out of their elected city council members, would ultimately be forced to bail out the failing Dallas Police and Fire Pension (DPFP) system.  And just last night the DPFP board voted 9-0 to approve a plan that would do just that. 

The plan to save the DPFP was proposed by Dan Flynn, chair of the pensions committee in the Texas House of Representatives, and calls for Dallas taxpayers to contribute 34.5% of police and firefighter salaries each year into the failing pension system, up from 27% in 2015, plus an incremental $11 million per year.  In total, the adopted plan will cost Dallas taxpayers an extra $22 million per year.

That said, the plan also calls for pensioners to grant concessions, including the following:

  • Increase in retirement age to 58 from 55
  • Increase in employee contributions to 13.5% of payroll from 8.5%
  • Elimination of COLAs in the near term
  • Elimination of exorbitant interest payments made on employees DROP accounts

Of course, the $7 billion shortfall in the DPFP triggered downgrades to Dallas’s credit rating from Moody’s and S&P in recent months which has wreaked havoc on the city’s bond yields. (chart per Bloomberg).

Dallas

 

Meanwhile, no amount of incremental taxpayer funding will ever be sufficient to stop angry pensioners from playing the victim card when the realities of their pension ponzi schemes are exposed for all to see.  Per NBC 5:

There was a whirlwind of emotions at the meeting, from clapping, to tears and obvious tension, both from board members and from those whose futures hang in the balance.

 

“I think we’re being treated like animals to a certain degree, and I was hesitant to even come down here today,” said Frank Varner, a retired Dallas firefighter.

 

“How do you fix broken promises? These people deserve better. The firefighters and officers working today deserve better,” said Mike Mata, a Dallas police officer and president of the Dallas Police Association.

 

Don’t worry dear pensioners, there is no problem too large for taxpayers to bail out.

A summary of the plan adopted by the DPFP board can be viewed below: