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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Losing War Games



Blue Team,

US forces repeatedly lose WW-3 war games, just can't win WW-3 war games against Russia and China. 
So spend more?

The U.S. National Security Council issued a direct warning to Italy last weekend for its coziness with China. The country has been considering participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), where one segment of the global economic effort aims to unite Europe with China.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte believes otherwise. Conte has overruled the foreign ministry and joined right-wing Eurosceptics in his push for closer cooperation with China.
“With all the necessary precautions, Italy’s accession to a new silk route represents an opportunity for our country,” Conte said Friday.
President Xi Jinping is expected to travel to Italy from March 22-24, and Conte said Rome and Beijing are expected to agree to a framework deal during the state visit. Conte also announced his plan to attend an upcoming BRI summit in China.
The Italian leader’s plan to attend a BRI summit in Beijing next month has caused panic in Brussels and Washington, as Italy is on course to become the first G7 country to gravitate to China’s trade initiative that US and EU officials have intensely criticized.  

Pepe Escobar says Chinese love Italy and nice Italian stuff.
Geraci states the obvious; the BRI link will allow more of Made in Italy to be exported to China. As someone who lives between Europe and Asia, and always discusses BRI while in Italy, I see that all the time. The appeal of Made in Italy for the Chinese consumer – food, fashion, art, interior design, not to mention all those Ferraris and Lamborghinis – is unrivaled, even by France. Chinese tourists just can’t get enough of Venice, Florence, Rome – and shopping in Milan.  

Detailed report from Chinese perspective.

Theresa the Traitor?
Cast your mind back to summer last year. The Cabinet gathered at the Prime Minister’s country retreat of Chequers, on the sylvan Chiltern downs. There was very important business: Theresa May, flanked by senior civil servant Olly Robbins, presented the draft agreement for Britain’s departure from the EU...
 For Leavers in the Cabinet, it was a shocker.  Scarcely anything appropriate for a renewed sovereign nation could be found in this document, which seemed an abject surrender to Messrs Barnier and Juncker. For Brexit voters, it was hard to believe that their government would consider such punitive clauses; their faith in Theresa May, until then buoyant, was shattered. And this document, we were told, was only the initial negotiating stance – it could get worse...
It was widely reported that Theresa May paid a visit to Angela Merkel in Berlin shortly before the Chequers meeting. What did they discuss?  We weren’t told at the time...
According to a confidential source who has seen a complete transcript of the meeting, the two leaders agreed to a plan that Mrs May allegedly told the Chancellor would “appease” Brexit voters while nonetheless enabling her to get rid of those Tories who were (in her words) “against progress and unity in the EU.” According to the transcript, Mrs May is also reported to have agreed “to keep as many EU laws and institutions in effect as she could despite the current groundswell of anti-EU hysteria in Britain” (again, apparently her words). It is claimed that both leaders agreed that the only realistic future for the UK was as a member of the EU, and that in the likely course of events Britain would re-join the EU in full at some time after the next general election.
The transcript also indicated that the Withdrawal Agreement was essentially a German production, with the original draft completed in May 2018 in Berlin. It was then sent to the Cabinet Office marked “Secret”. After much to-ing and fro-ing in the subsequent few weeks, including several telephone calls between Mrs May and the Chancellor the final draft was completed late in June, with the Chancellor telling Mrs May that she was happy with it. However, a few more small concessions by the UK would be needed later on, just to keep the EU happy.

Tom Luongo:
The Brits voted to leave the EU because of this. Euroskeptic parties are rising across Europe. The latest rebuke of the EU came in Austria’s Salzburg, a traditional center-left stronghold just voted for a Lega-style nationalist/populist majority.
Now people like Theresa May, who never supported Brexit, are using this negotiating period to hand to the EU everything it wants in the Withdrawal Agreement to blackmail the British people to accept an even worse arrangement than had they not voted to leave in the first place.
This point cannot be understated.
Because it is the model for how the EU will fight the rising opposition to its rule.

Parliament really has to vote that it is OK with no-deal-Brexit, or Britain will have conditions forced upon it. That was never the intent of voters.
Donald Tusk has warned after the second big defeat of Theresa May’s deal​ ​that he expects a credible reason for any delay to Brexit.
Moments after the prime minister announced that the House of Commons would vote on an extension to the article 50 negotiating period beyond 29 March, the European council president issued an EU red line.
“Should there be a UK reasoned request for an extension, the EU27 will consider it and decide by unanimity,” a spokesman for Tusk said. “The EU27 will expect a credible justification for a possible extension and its duration. The smooth functioning of the EU institutions will need to be ensured.”​...
After losing by 149 votes, the fourth largest defeat ever on a government motion, May nevertheless told the Commons she would allow a free vote in her party on an article 50 extension. She said such an extension would be short, and that it risked a new cliff-edge in June, suggesting the British government is looking at a three-month delay.

George Galloway predicts...
What happens next in the short term is easy to predict. A "No deal" Brexit will be rejected Wednesday evening but only thanks to opposition votes. She released her own MPs from party discipline by announcing a "free-vote" because she could not countenance at least half of her own side voting for No Deal (not least because they were all elected on precisely that platform). But the government's own members – the so-called "payroll vote" of a hundred plus, together with almost all of the opposition members will comfortably (for now) bury the "zero-option" of No-Deal.
The next night the House will vote again comfortably in favour of seeking an extension of Article 50 thereby abandoning the pledge repeated like a mantra so often that Britain would leave the EU on March 29th. Assuming the EU agrees Britain then sails not just into uncharted waters but an uncharted raging torrent of bitterness, confusion, currency tumult, uncertainty and certain political change.​..​
I have said all along that no negotiator in any form of life, the law, trade unions, a troubled marriage EVER goes into a negotiation telling the other side that whether the other side makes concessions or not that they will NOT walk away under any circumstances. That's what Mrs May has been doing with the EU right from the start. Because her heart was never in it.  

Hey, LOOK, Mexico has a Good President! ("Me canso ganso")
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s first 100 days in office have combined a compulsive shedding of presidential trappings with a dizzying array of policy initiatives, and a series of missteps haven’t even dented his soaring approval ratings.
Lopez Obrador has answered more questions from the press, flown in more economy-class flights, posed for more selfies with admiring citizens and visited more genuinely risky areas with little or no security than several combined decades of his predecessors. He’s also surprised many by maintaining a cordial relationship with U.S. President Donald Trump, helping contain Central American migrant caravans while resisting U.S. efforts to oust the leftist government of Venezuela.

Venezuela is getting electricity back to places little by little.
President Nicolas Maduro gave a televised address on Tuesday evening, offering more details about the alleged attack against the country’s electrical infrastructure. According to Maduro, both the computerized system in the Guri Dam, on Thursday afternoon, and the central electrical “brain” in Caracas, on Saturday morning, suffered cyber attacks, while recovery was delayed by physical attacks against transmission lines and electrical substations.​..
  Self-proclaimed “Interim President” Juan Guaido has blamed the electricity crisis on government mismanagement and corruption, dismissing the government’s cyber attack thesis on the grounds that the system is analog, and attributing the national outage to a lack of qualified personnel needed to reactivate the grid. However, these claims have been called into questionby people with knowledge of the system.

China says it is ready to help Venezuela to restore its power grid. The South American country suffered a five-day blackout, with Caracas accusing Washington of cyber “sabotage.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing had noted reports that the power grid had gone down due to a hacking attack.
“China is deeply concerned about this,” Lu said, adding that Beijing “hopes that the Venezuelan side can discover the reason for this issue as soon as possible and resume normal power supply and social order.

She has advanced Media Gladiator Skills already. Where will she go in the power structure? Where will the power structure go?
On the issue of Wells Fargo's relationship with the private prison industry and the Trump administration's child detention policy, Ocasio-Cortez asked sharply: "Mr. Sloan, why was the bank involved in the caging of children?"    https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/03/12/watch-ocasio-cortez-grills-wells-fargo-ceo-over-profiting-caging-children-and


Facebook bans links to Zero Hedge. So Facebook wins?

Elizabeth Warren ads are also banned from Facebook. Weird...
It seems that Senator Warren said Facebook had become too powerful and was abusing that power. 
Update: Politico's Cristiano Lima reports that Facebook will restore the ads "in the interest of allowing robust debate."  .
Nice that Facebook has decided to "allow" the Senator to criticize their abuse of censorship power...

It looks like Zero Hedge won after a few days; "friends in high-enough places..."
While we were in the dark about what had triggered Facebook, or what was the company's motive, we were humbled and delighted not only with the media coverage this event received, but far more so with the outpouring of support we received from readers and across social media, where Zero Hedge had not been yet banned, like Twitter, where figures from various industries and across the political spectrum voiced support and came to our defense, with many condemning what we felt was an arbitrary decision.
Among those who spoke up were President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., Nigel Farage, Peter Thiel's liberal foil at Thiel Capital, Eric Weinstein, Infowars' Paul Joseph Watson and many others.

"The House That Spied On Me" is a detailed study of what it is like to set up and live in a house where the bed and toothbrush, coffee-maker and vacuum cleaner are all smart, and the sound activated surveillance camera sends out movies of you, not just burglars (Don't Forget!) 
The human experience is well related, and instead of being easier, it turns out to be incessantly annoying. All those little brains need your attention. All of the activity of the smart devices was routed through a special interface, an internet service provider for the house, so all of the data going out about the house and occupants was monitored. 
This is fine investigative journalism.

Never Alone

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