After recruiting Trump, the KGB and Moscow have clearly also managed to make all House Republicans their puppets, because the Senate bill that passed last week and slapped new sanctions on Russia (but really was meant to block the production on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia and which Germany, Austria and France all said is a provocation by the US and would prompt retaliation) just hit a major stumbling block in the House. At least that’s our interpretation of tomorrow’s CNN “hot take.” Shortly after House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas said that House leaders concluded that the legislation, S. 722, violated the origination clause of the Constitution, which requires legislation that raises revenue to originate in the House, and would require amendments, Democrats immediately accused the GOP of delaying tactics and “covering” for the Russian agent in the White House. ‘House Republicans are considering using a procedural excuse to hide what they’re really doing: covering for a president who has been far too soft on Russia,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement. ‘The Senate passed this bill on a strong bipartisan vote of 98-2, sending a powerful message to President Trump that he should not lift sanctions on Russia.’ And, if the House does pass it, a huge diplomatic scandal would erupt only not between the US and Russia, but Washington and its European allies who have slammed this latest intervention by the US in European affairs… a scandal which the Democrats would also promptly blame on Trump.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
After the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill to implement new sanctions against Russia over “interference in the 2016 U. S. elections” and curbs President Trump’s power to ease penalties against Moscow in the future – without consultations with US allies in Europe – President Trump has found himself cornered in what appears to be a lose-lose position. On one hand, the bill prompted an unexpectedly angry response by Germany and Austria, both of whom who have invested hundreds of millions into the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would pump Russian gas to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea, and who said the bill is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. On Friday, Germany went so far as saying the bill “must not happen” with German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries saying “Berlin would have to think about counter-measures” if Trump – or the House – backed the plan. “If he does, we’ll have to consider what we are going to do against it.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 17, 2017.
One day after the Senate almost unanimously passed a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia, an unexpected outcry against the US decision emerged from two of America’s closest allies, Germany and Austria, who yesterday slammed the new sanctions and accused the U. S. of having ulterior motives in seeking to enforce the energy blockade, which they said is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. And they warned the threat of fining European companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project “introduces a completely new, very negative dimension into European-American relations.” Today’s the unexpected fallout from the latest round of US sanctions has escalated, and according to Reuters, Germany has threatened to retaliate against the United States if the new US sanctions on Russia end up penalizing German firms, which they almost will as it foresees punitive measures against entities that provide material support to Russia in building energy export pipelines. Such as Germany, Austria and host of other European nations. Berlin is concerned that if passed in the House, the sanctions will pave way for fines against German and European firms involved in Nord Stream 2, a project to build a pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic. And it’s not jet the Germans who are sweating: among the European companies involved in the project are German oil and gas giant Wintershall, German energy trading firm Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie. In other words, if the Senate proposed sanctions pass, the US will have to fine virtually every energy giant in Europe. Quoted by Reuters, Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert described the Senate bill, which must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by Trump before it becomes law, as “a peculiar move”. He said it was “strange” that sanctions intended to punish Russia for alleged interference in the U. S. elections could also trigger penalties against European companies. “That must not happen,” said Seibert.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 16, 2017.
Less than a day after the Senate overwhelmingly voted to impose new sanctions against the Kremlin, on Thursday Germany and Austria – two of Russia’s biggest energy clients in Europe – slammed the latest U. S. sanctions against Moscow, saying they could affect European businesses involved in piping in Russian natural gas. Shortly after the Senate voted Wednesday to slap new sanctions on key sectors of Russia’s economy over “interference in the 2016 U. S. elections” and aggression in Syria and Ukraine, in a joint statement Austria’s Chancellor Christian Kern and Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it appeared that the Senate bill was aimed at securing US energy jobs and pushing out Russian gas deliveries to Europe.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 15, 2017.
New research from a team of Czech scientists, which discovered new asteroids traveling around our planet, suggests that the risk of earth being hit by one of those extraterrestrial rocks is increasing. The likelihood of an asteroid striking Earth increased after the team studied 144 large meteors from the Taurids, a meteor stream – the very stream which appears in our skies twice a year. Most of these asteroids are small and pose no real threat. But some are alarming in size. The team of Czech scientists discovered a new branch of the Taurid stream phenomenon containing at least two asteroids measuring a whopping 200-300 meters (220-330 yards) in diameter. This branch likely includes even larger undiscovered asteroids, according to a statement from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. The Taurid meteoroid stream produces at least four meteor showers over Earth. Two of those streams are active from the end of September until the beginning of December, and two from the end of May to the middle of July. Earth encounters the newly discovered branch every few years for about three weeks. Scientists say that during this time, the chance of an impact with a sizeable asteroid (measuring up to tens of meters) is significantly greater. The new digital autonomous observatories of the European Fireball Network spotted the fireballs over Czech Republic (at 13 stations), Austria (1 station) and Slovakia (1 station).
This post was published at shtfplan on June 8th, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… We’re told that last night another ‘ISIS-inspired’ suicide terrorist attack took place in the UK. Amazingly, this event seemed uncannily timed with today’s OSCE-wide Counter-Terrorism Conference 2017 in Vienna, Austria. More incredibly, British Prime Minister Teresa May also declared that the ‘terrorists will never win’ before promptly moving to suspend the upcoming UK General Election. Currently, the UK Parliament is also dissolved, and so there are no restraints on executive government control in the UK, which means that the UK could ramp-up its military operations in Syria – presumably under the banner narrative of ‘fighting ISIS.’
Donald Trump campaigned on the economic issues of international trade, immigration, and jobs. He condemned international trade, immigrants, and the economic policies of countries such China and Mexico. As such, he should be made an honorary member of the mid-19th century ‘Know Nothing’ political party. This week he took aim at the trade deficit by issuing two executive orders allegedly to make international trade fairer and more beneficial for Americans. One order calls for a report on trade practices that contribute to the trade deficit. The second order seeks to establish better collection practices for anti-dumping fines and countervailing duties. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attempted to downplay the significance of the executive orders and said that there are likely multiple reasons for the trade deficit. However, this position reveals a general economic ignorance regarding international trade. There is one and only one reason to worry about the trade deficit. This problem does not require any studies or reports to understand. Austrian economists have regularly reminded us that the trade deficit does not matter. National borders are artificial contrivances that naturally create trade deficits in some countries and trade surpluses in other countries. I run continuous trade deficits with the supermarket where I shop. No big deal.
Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org, ‘The senator from Kentucky,’ said John McCain, speaking of his colleague Rand Paul, ‘is working for Vladimir Putin … and I do not say that lightly.’ What did Sen. Paul do to deserve being called a hireling of Vladimir Putin? He declined to support McCain’s call for a unanimous Senate vote to bring Montenegro into NATO as the 29th member of a Cold War alliance President Trump has called ‘obsolete.’ Bordered by Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo and Albania, tiny Montenegro has a population roughly that of D. C., and sits on the western coast of the most volatile peninsula in Europe. What strategic benefit would accrue from having Montenegro as an ally that would justify the risk of our having to go to war should some neighbor breach Montenegro’s borders? Historically, the Balkans have been an incubator of war. In the 19th century, Otto van Bismarck predicted that when the Great War came, it would come out of ‘some damn fool thing in the Balkans.’ And so it did when the Austrian archduke was assassinated in Sarajevo June 28, 1914 by Serbian ethnonationalist Gavrilo Princip. Aflame with ethnic, civil and sectarian war in the 1990s, the western Balkans are again in political turmoil. Milo Djukanovic, the longtime Montenegrin prime minister who resigned on election day in October, claims that he was targeted for assassination by Russia to prevent Montenegro’s accession to NATO.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 17, 2017.
There are limitations to the standard economic model of supply and demand curves intersecting to reveal the optimal or equilibrium price and quantity of a good. Those limitations, as Austrians are well aware, are due to unrealistic assumptions. But noting that the assumptions are out of this world is not enough, especially if the models are used to explain a world that does not match the assumptions. The application of the simplified models, which indeed reveal important facts about how the economy works, tend to lead many economists astray. Increasing Costs to Producers Does Not Increase Prices A recent EconTalk episode, in which the host Russ Roberts interviews journalist and author Tom Wainwright of the Economist on his recent book Narconomics, illustrates how simple Econ 101 logic can be misleading. While the episode is well worth listening to and the discussion is both interesting and informative, a significant portion in the beginning is dedicated to discussing the issue of the price of illegal drugs. Noting an apparent ‘paradox’ and the author’s ‘fantastic’ argument, Roberts and Wainwright embark on and get stuck in a discussion that is fundamentally flawed and therefore may delude listeners. In his argument, Wainwright notes that the government’s focus on cutting back on the supply of illegal drugs has not affected price as expected. He uses an example of art to illustrate the point, and this is in fact a better example than he probably realized. Here’s his example: If the paint used to produce a painting costs $50 and a certain painting is sold at the price of $1,000,000, then raising the cost of a box of paint by 100 percent to $100 should also double the price of paintings – the next painting should be expected to be sold for $2,000,000. But it does not, the price of this painter’s next painting may still be $1,000,000, or, to reflect the increased cost, $1,000,050.
In a bill aimed at encouraging asylum seekers to leave voluntarily, Austrian lawmakers are considering halting the provision of food and accommodation to migrants who are denied asylum and refuse to leave the country. Austria took in roughly 90,000 asylum seekers in 2015, more than 1 percent of its population, as it was swept up in Europe’s migration crisis when hundreds of thousands of people crossed its borders, most on their way to Germany. As Reuters notes, it has since tightened immigration restrictions and helped shut down the route through the Balkans by which almost all those people – many of them fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and elsewhere – arrived. Asylum applications fell by more than half last year. Asylum seekers in Austria get so-called basic services, including free accommodation, food, access to medical treatment and 40 euros ($42.41) pocket money a month.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Mar 3, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… According to various media reports, a Syrian asylum seeker has appeard in an Austrian court, charged with murdering twenty, unarmed and injured, Syrian Arab Army prisoners, following a battle in Homs, in 2013/14. The 27-year-old man faces charges of ‘murder in the context of terrorism’ Defence lawyers are trying to reduce his sentence by claiming the defendant was ‘severely traumatised at the time’, according to a BBC report today. The summary execution of prisoners of war, violates the Geneva Convention. Previous reports , had advised that the 27-year-old man was arrested in western Austria in June 2016, while in a refugee centre, having been reported by fellow refugees, shocked by his revelations about the mass killings. Prosecutors did also state that an initial confession, made by the asylum seeker, was later retracted. The latest BBC report continues:
Having listened stoically for the past two months to accusations without evidence that Moscow “hacked the US election”, and that Hillary’s loss was indirectly due to Putin’s alleged meddling, which resulted in Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, on Wednesday Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov finally snapped, and lashed out at the ongoing US election scapegoating fiasco, saying that leaders and top officials from the UK, Germany, and France have ‘grossly interfered’ in US internal affairs, ‘campaigned’ for Hillary Clinton, and openly ‘demonized’ Donald Trump. Unlike US accusations of Russian interference, at least Lavrov’s claim can be substantiated with a simple google search of news event in mid to late 2016. Speaking during a press conference following a meeting with his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz, Lavrov said his angry outburst was because Moscow ‘is tired” of accusations it meddled in the US election. In fact, Lavrov said, it is time to ‘acknowledge the fact’ that it was the other way around. ‘US allies have grossly interfered in America’s internal affairs, in the election campaign,’ Lavrov said, quoted by RT.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 18, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… Extraordinary information has come to light that perhaps, goes some way to explaining the vicious EU and corporate media backlash against Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, for his ‘nationalist’ policies regarding the influx of refugees from various nations that have been targeted by the predatory interventionist alliance of the US, EU, UK, Turkey, Gulf States, Israel, Canada, Australia, Jordan and other smaller players. ‘Hungary does not need a single migrant for the economy to work, or the population to sustain itself, or for the country to have a future,’ he told a joint press conference in Budapest with Austrian chancellor Christian Kern. ‘This is why there is no need for a common European migration policy: whoever needs migrants can take them, but don’t force them on us, we don’t need them,’ Orban said. The populist leader added that ‘every single migrant poses a public security and terror risk’. ‘For us migration is not a solution but a problem … not medicine but a poison, we don’t need it and won’t swallow it,’ he said. ~ The Guardian Orban is also a keen Donald Trump supporter: Mr. Orban, who has ordered border fences built to stop migrants, said that the ideas of the ‘upstanding American presidential candidate’ about the need for the best intelligence services and his opposition to ‘democracy export’ were also applicable in Europe. Mr. Orban, whose speech was broadcast on Hungarian state media, blamed the West for what he saw as failed interventions in countries such as Egypt and Libya. ~ New York Times
OPEN LETTER TO MINISTER-PRESIDENT SEEHOFER (Sent before the carnage in Berlin’s Christmas market) Dear Minister-President Seehofer, I would like to commend you on your opposition to mass uncontrolled immigration into Europe. One would think that it would be trivial to praise politicians – who are elected to uphold law and order, meaning our culture and values – for doing so, but these are the times we are living in. In 1973 French author Jean Raspail asked a prophetic question in his best-selling novel, The Camp of Saints. What if France had at its borders millions of people ready to move in, not carrying weapons but complete destitution instead? If you refuse entry they will face a very uncertain future; but if you let them in millions more will follow and your culture and national identity will die. What should be done? Today we have the answer: an unprecedented population replacement across much of Western Europe, largely funded by those being replaced. Based on current demographic and immigration trends, Austria will become a majority Muslim country by the end of this century, likely followed by France, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and even the UK.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2016.
Jean-Claude Juncker has urged E.U. leaders not to hold referendums on their membership of the bloc because he fears their voters will also choose to leave. The European Commission president said giving people a vote would be ‘unwise’ as they could seek to replicate Brexit. His remarks come as one of the contenders to become Austrian president has threatened to hold a referendum if the E.U. integrates further. Norbert Hofer, who will become Europe’s first far-right head of state since the Second World War if elected on Sunday, has promised a ballot if the E.U. becomes more centralised following Brexit.