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Eurasia

EEU and ASEAN – the Bridges Between East and West

Something is quietly brewing between the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) which is an  economic union of states located in central and northern Eurasia (Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) comprised of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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To briefly overview: The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has an integrated single market of 183 million people and a gross domestic product (in US Dollar terms) of over 4 trillion (PPP). The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has an integrated market of approximately 650 million people and a GDP (in US Dollar terms) of almost 3 trillion.

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Both organizations endeavor to allow for the free movement of goods, capital, services and people and provides for common policies in macroeconomic sphere, transport, industry and agriculture, energy, foreign trade and investment, customs, technical regulation, competition and antitrust regulation.

Rumor has it that by November of this year there may be a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed in Singapore between ASEAN and the EEU. This is still in the realm or rumor however, it does persist. Just this week I received several calls from business colleagues from ASEAN countries (specifically in this case Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam) who would very much like to see such an FTA come into being sooner rather than later, this year if at all possible.

Aside from opening up respective markets, one of the common and independently repeated themes was their overdependence on the US Dollar and the recently growing geopolitical uncertainties associated with trading within US defined and permitted trade corridors using the dollar.

The trend seems to be growing among many trade dependent countries to try to diversify from the greenback. It is worth noting former central banker Agustin Carstens, who confirmed a recent Bank for International Settlements (BIS) report that the US dollar makes up at least 80% of all the letters of credit outstanding, which are the means of settlement of international trade contracts.

It is an unsettling imbalance for any country to be involved in, and some diversification away from the US Dollar may alleviate the worst potential effects down the road. This is becoming a very real present-time concern for many nations especially when the US Fed is on a hawkish path, draining US Dollar liquidity on a monthly schedule.

Therefore, if the Powell-led Fed continues on its rails, and the US administration keeps pressuring trade with restrictive measures it may lead to a dollar shortage among non-US banks. That could well and truly affect international trade as it known today, add to this mix tariffs, sanctions, pressuring and the resulting destabilization in rates and currencies especially in the more vulnerable EM’s, then a real economic witches brew is cooking.

Optimistically, there is an expectation that some form of an agreement between ASEAN and the EEU will happen as originally intended for November 14 – 15 at the East Asia summit in Singapore, which will be attended by the heads of the ASEAN countries. What may be the fly in the ointment is whether Australia, India, China, New Zealand, United States, South Korea and Japan will be supportive of such initiative. The jury is still out on that.

That said, the Foreign Minister of Singapore, Mr. Balakrishnan apparently stated that he hopes to prepare all the necessary documents by November, when Vladimir Putin will arrive on a state visit.  It [the FTA] is quite fully developed, but there are still a few important legal issues left.  He went on to say that although time is short, they hope to settle still outstanding issues before Putin’s visit.

Hope springs eternal, we will just have to wait, see and trust that no outside party will make it their business to play spoiler, and delay this inevitable diversified progress from happening.

The FTA document that has been in preparation for several years will not be limited solely to regulating trade relations. It is expected to embrace a wide range of topics, including cooperation in the innovation sphere, joint development of promising technologies and projects, including those related to the digitization of the economies of the EEU countries, as well as logistics and transport businesses.

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I don’t understand the logistics of all this but if it is good for the world trading together in currency other than the USD ,I would submit that it is probably a good thing .Again ,but only IMHO.

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James Woods Suspended From Twitter Over Satirical Meme That Could “Impact An Election”

James Woods crushes Jack Dorsey: “You are a coward, @Jack.”

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Outspoken conservative actor James Woods was suspended from posting to Twitter over a two-month-old satirical meme which very clearly parodies a Democratic advertisement campaign. While the actor’s tweets are still visible, he is unable to post new content.

The offending tweet from July 20, features three millennial-aged men with “nu-male smiles” and text that reads “We’re making a Woman’s Vote Worth more by staying home.” Above it, Woods writes “Pretty scary that there is a distinct possibility this could be real. Not likely, but in this day and age of absolute liberal insanity, it is at least possible.”

According to screenshots provided by an associate of Woods’, Twitter directed the actor to delete the post on the grounds that it contained “text and imagery that has the potential to be misleading in a way that could impact an election.

In other words, James Woods, who has approximately 1.72 million followers, was suspended because liberals who don’t identify as women might actually take the meme seriously and not vote. 

In a statement released through associate Sara Miller, Woods said “You are a coward, @Jack,” referring to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “There is no free speech for Conservatives on @Twitter.

Earlier this month, Woods opined on the mass-platform ban of Alex Jones, tweeting: ““I’ve never read Alex Jones nor watched any of his video presence on the internet. A friend told me he was an extremist. Believe me that I know nothing about him. That said, I think banning him from the internet is a slippery slope. This is the beginning of real fascism. Trust me.”

Nu-males everywhere non-threateningly smirk at Woods’ bad fortune…

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Another witness named by Ford becomes third person to deny being at party

A woman believed to have been one of five people at a party 35 years ago where Ford claims she was assaulted by Kavanaugh is now the fourth person to deny being at any such party.

The Duran

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Via The Washington Examiner


A witness, reportedly named by Christine Blasey Ford as one of the people at the high school party where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday she was not there.

The attorney for Leland Ingham Keyser told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Keyser does not remember being at the party Ford described as the location of the alleged assault.

“Ms. Keyser does not know Mr. Kavanaugh and she has no recollection of ever being at a party or gathering where he was present, with, or without, Dr. Ford,” Keyser said in the statement. CNN reported Keyser is a lifelong friend of Ford’s.

Keyser, whom the New York Times reported is one of the people Ford named as being in attendance at the party, is the third witness who has denied knowing about the alleged assault. Mark Judge and Patrick Smyth said earlier this week they did not remember the party in question.

Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegation.

The news comes after Ford, through her attorneys, tentatively agreed to testify on Thursday, after days of negotiations over the timing and conditions of her

Committee chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had repeatedly extended deadlines set for Ford’s team on the decision, including three on Friday and one at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Grassley threatened to proceed with a committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination Monday if he did not hear from Ford.

“Five times now we [have] granted extension for Dr Ford to decide if she wants to proceed [with] her desire stated one [week] ago that she wants to tell senate her story,” Grassley tweeted Friday. “Dr Ford if u changed ur mind say so so we can move on I want to hear ur testimony. Come to us or we to u.”

The extended discussions have been labeled a delaying tactic by some Republicans.

Ford’s attorneys and Grassley’s aides will reportedly continue negotiations Sunday on the details of the conditions of Ford’s testimony, per the New York Times.

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Was NYT Story About Rosenstein ‘Coup Attempt’ A Setup?

The New York Times is reporting that Rod Rosenstein pushed a plan to record President Trump and invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

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Via Zerohedge


Is the FBI trying to goad President Trump into firing the man in charge of supervising the Mueller probe? That’s what Sean Hannity and a handful of  Trump’s Congressional allies think.

According to a report in Politico, Republicans in Congress are approaching a story about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein attempting to organize a palace coup with extreme caution, despite having twice nearly gathered the votes to remove him in the recent past.

On Friday, the NYT reported a bombshell story alleging that Rosenstein had tried to recruit administration officials to secretly tape conversations with the president in order to help justify removing Trump under the 25th amendment. Rosenstein vehemently denied the story, which was largely based on confidential memos written by former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. And others who were reportedly in attendance at meeting between McCabe and Rosenstein said the Deputy AG was being “sarcastic” when he suggested that the president be taped.

Meanwhile, Trump allies including Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan and Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz are saying that the story should be treated with suspicion. Jordan and Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows once filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein. But now, both Meadows and Jordan intend to proceed with caution, telling Politico that he would like to see the memos that the story was based on.

House Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, who led a charge to impeach Rosenstein this summer, have said they want to hear from Rosenstein and see documents allegedly describing the comments before they decide what to do.That’s awarded Rosenstein a courtesy they’ve never given him in the past.

“I think Rod needs to come before Congress this week and explain under oath what exactly he said and didn’t say,” Meadows said at the Values Voters Summit Saturday.

The newfound hesitation to oust Rosenstein highlights a cautious approach Trump allies have adopted as the Republican party barrels toward a potential bloodbath in the midterms. Some Republicans fear Trump firing Rosenstein now would only further energize Democrats making the case to voters that the president is corrupt and needs to be reined in by a Democratic House.

[…]

In a Friday interview, Jordan, one of Rosenstein’s fiercest critics in Congress, sidestepped questions about whether the House should revisit Rosenstein’s impeachment or try to hold him in contempt of Congress. Rather, he said, a more focused push to obtain sensitive documents from the Justice Department — which Trump’s allies say would expose anti-Trump bias and corruption the FBI — is the most urgent priority.

“I want to see those memos and evaluate them,” said Jordan, who has clashed publicly with Rosenstein over access to documents and accused him of threatening House Intelligence Committee staffers, an allegation Rosenstein denied.

Politico cites two possible explanations for lawmakers’ hesitation: Republicans are running out of time before members devote themselves full-time to their reelection campaigns. Republicans are worried that the story could have been intentionally planted to provoke Rosenstein’s firing in order to improve Democrats’ chances of retaking the Senate AND the House (Trump actively moving to crush the Mueller probe would be quite the propaganda win for the Dems).

Sean Hannity took this latter theory a step further during his show on Friday evening, where he urged Trump not to fire Rosie and instead insisted that the story could have been a “trap”. He added that he had been told by “multiple sources” that the story was planted by unspecified “enemies of Trump.”

“I have a message for the president tonight,” Hannity said Friday night. “Under zero circumstances should the president fire anybody…the president needs to know it is all a setup.”

Still, a handful of conservative commentators, including Laura Ingraham, urged Trump to fire Rosenstein immediately. And for Trump’s part, he hinted at a rally Friday night in Missouri that he planned to “get rid” of the “lingering stench” at the DOJ, which many interpreted as a hint that his firing is imminent.

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