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European business seethes over new US sanctions law

Shocked at US disregard for Europe’s economic interests Europe’s energy businesses step up their criticism of the new sanctions law.

Alexander Mercouris

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The dispute between the US and Germany over the anti-Russian pipeline provisions of the new sanctions law continues to mount, with RT reporting Klaus Schaefer, a German businessman whom it describes as the CEO of German energy major Uniper fiercely denouncing the new sanctions as a ploy to force Europe to buy expensive liquified American natural gas instead of cheap Russian pipeline gas

The core reason (for the sanctions) are strategic economic interests, meaning the targeted dominance of the US in energy markets.

RT reports Schaefer saying that liquified natural gas from the US would cost 50% more than pipeline gas from Russia, and that “Nobody wants to pay such a premium“.

I have previously discussed the economics for Europe of buying expensive American liquified gas in place of cheap Russian pipeline gas in a lengthy article, in which I also discussed how this was at least one motive for the new sanctions law.

In truth the new sanctions law serves multiple agendas.  There is the wish of some people in the US to give the highly contested claim that Russia meddled in the US election the stamp of legal authority by imposing on the country and the President a law which insists it.  There was the desire of some people to provoke Donald Trump into a head-on collision with Congress in a way that might have set the scene for his impeachment (discussed by me at length here).  There was the desire of some people to protect the Maidan regime in Ukraine by blocking the building of Russian gas pipelines that bypass Ukraine.  There is the widespread wish in the US – extending far back into the Cold War – to limit economic contacts between the US’s European allies and Russia as much as possible.  Above all there is the overarching desire of the overwhelming majority of the US political class – including above all its intelligence and media communities – to maintain the confrontation with Russia, and to block President Trump’s attempt to end it.

Last but not least, there are undoubtedly the tough minded commercial calculations of some people in the US – including some US businessmen – who are looking to leverage this quarrel to gain commercial advantages for the US and themselves by forcing the Europeans to buy expensive American liquified gas instead of cheap Russian pipeline gas.

It is the last which is provoking the greatest anger in Germany and Europe.

Pipeline gas from Russia is inherently cheaper than liquified gas from the US because of the geographic proximity between Russia and Europe and the simple and cheap way it is transported.

Replacing Russian pipeline gas by US liquified gas by contrast would require a stupendous investment in new storage facilities and in building the large numbers of specialised and expensive ships needed to transport it.

Whilst the resources to do this exist in Europe and the US, doing so would come at a fearsome cost, and would be a gross misallocation of resources making no economic or commercial sense.  Moreover even after the storage facilities and the ships were built, the liquified gas transported to Europe from the US would still be significantly more expensive than the pipeline gas Russia would offer.

Meanwhile the US and China – Europe’s biggest industrial competitors – would have the competitive benefit of cheaper gas, in the case of the US from its own production – though there are doubts as to how sustainable that is – and in the case of China – far more sustainably – in the form of cheap pipeline gas from Russia transported via the pipelines which are being built now.

What makes this episode even weirder is that the one other country which might conceivably have sufficient pipeline gas to replace Russian pipeline gas in the European energy market cheaply and effectively – though this is doubted by many – is Iran.

It is precisely because some European officials see Iran as a major source of energy for Europe that the Europeans have lobbied so hard for the sanctions on Iran to be lifted.  One of the strongest European advocates of the EU forging energy links with Iran is Frederica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who has just visited Iran to attend President Rouhani’s inauguration, where she received an enthusiastic reception from some Iranian parliamentarians.

The US is however as adamantly hostile to Iran as it is to Russia.  Indeed the US military and the Republican Party appear if anything to be even more hostile to Iran than to Russia.  The US therefore opposes energy projects linking Europe to Iran if anything even more fervidly than it opposes energy projects linking Europe to Russia.  One reason why the EU’s ill-starred Nabucco pipeline project failed was precisely because as a result of US opposition and UN sanctions it was prevented from drawing gas from Iran.

Faced by this US hostility to any energy arrangement that makes for Europe economic or commercial sense, it is not surprising if some European business people like Klaus Schaefer, and some European governments like notably the Austrian government, are now showing signs of growing anger and exasperation.

I would add that gas is not the only example of the US leveraging its geopolitical dominance in order to gain commercial advantages for itself and for certain US businessmen at the expense of its European allies.  My cynical and no doubt controversial view is that the ongoing attack on the German car industry and the criticism of its diesel engine technology is simply another case of the same thing.

Suffice to say that I do not think it is any coincidence that the whole emissions scandal that suddenly targeted the German car industry came at precisely the same time when certain people in the US were investing heavily in electric car technology and were receiving huge subsidies from the US government to do so.  The fact that electric car technology still looks to me immature – and therefore expensive and inefficient – is of course neither here nor there, and is being drowned out by the blizzard of orchestrated publicity which invariably accompanies such moves.

It is however the issue of gas which possibly enrages the business community in Germany the most, to the point where it is now reflected in the increasingly angry words coming from German and EU officials.  The insouciant way in which the US Congress disregarded European economic interests – with some members of Congress openly bragging about the fact – has unsurprisingly caused particular offence, and seems for some people in Europe to have come close to being the crossing of a red line.  There is now even talk in some parts of Europe that the new US sanctions law might harden European opposition to the existing EU sanctions, and might lead to them being lifted more quickly.

The Russians doubt that will happen, and so do I.  Atlanticist voices within the European elite are still strong and in my opinion are still dominant.  Already some of them – alarmed by the opposition in Europe to the new US sanctions law – are calling on Europe to drop its opposition to the new sanctions law and to submit to it.

The fact however remains that the European business elite has now been given an object lesson in the cost the subservience of Europe’s political leaders to US demands is causing them.  The Russians are already driving the point home, with Russian officials apparently already saying both openly and in private that it was Europe that brought this calamity on itself by agreeing in 2014 to the US demand for sanctions.

It will be interesting to see for how much longer the European business community is prepared to put up with it.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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Why Joe May be Courting Stacey

Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


Of 895 slots in the freshman class of Stuyvesant High in New York City, seven were offered this year to black students, down from 10 last year and 13 the year before.

In the freshman class of 803 at The Bronx High School of Science, 12 students are black, down from last year’s 25.

Of 303 students admitted to Staten Island Technical High School, one is African-American.

According to The New York Times, similar patterns of admission apply at the other five most elite high schools in the city.

Whites and Asians are 30 percent of middle school students, but 83 percent of the freshman at Bronx High School of Science, 88 percent at Staten Island Technical and 90 percent at Stuyvesant.

What do these numbers tell us?

They reveal the racial composition of the cohort of scientists and technicians who will lead America in the 21st century. And they tell us which races will not be well represented in that vanguard.

They identify a fault line that runs through the Democratic Party, separating leftists who believe in equality of results for all races and ethnic groups, and those who believe in a meritocracy.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has expressed anger and frustration at the under-representation of blacks and Hispanics in the elite schools. But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature have ignored his pleas to change the way students are admitted.

Currently, the same test, of English and math, is given to middle school applicants. And admission to the elite eight is offered to those who get the highest scores.

Moreover, Asians, not whites, are predominant.

Though 15 percent of all middle school students, Asians make up two-thirds of the student body at Stuyvesant, with 80 times as many slots as their African-American classmates.

The egalitarian wing of the Democratic Party sees this as inherently unjust. And what gives this issue national import are these factors:

First, the recent scandal where rich parents paid huge bribes to criminal consultants to get their kids into elite colleges, by falsifying records of athletic achievement and cheating on Scholastic Aptitude Tests, has caused a wave of populist resentment.

Second, Harvard is being sued for systemic reverse racism, as black and Hispanic students are admitted with test scores hundreds of points below those that would disqualify Asians and whites.

Third, Joe Biden has a history on compulsory integration dating back to the 1970s that Sen. Jesse Helms called “enlightened.”

Here are Biden’s quotes, unearthed by The Washington Post, that reflect his beliefs about forced busing for racial balance in public schools:

“The new integration plans being offered are really just quota systems to assure a certain number of blacks, Chicanos, or whatever in each school. That, to me, is the most racist concept you can come up with.

“What it says is, ‘In order for your child with curly black hair, brown eyes, and dark skin to be able to learn anything, he needs to sit next to my blond-haired, blue-eyed son.’ That’s racist!

“Who the hell do we think we are, that the only way a black man or woman can learn is if they rub shoulders with my white child?

“I am philosophically opposed to quota systems. They insure mediocrity.”

That was 44 years ago. While those views were the thinking of many Democrats, and perhaps of most Americans, in the mid-’70s, they will be problematic in the 2020 primaries, where African-Americans could be decisive in the contests that follow Iowa and New Hampshire.

Biden knows that just as Bernie Sanders, another white male, fell short in crucial South Carolina because of a lack of support among black voters, he, too, has a problem with that most loyal element in the Democratic coalition.

In 1991, Biden failed to rise to the defense of Anita Hill when she charged future Justice Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment. In the Senate Judiciary Committee, he was a law-and-order champion responsible for tough anti-crime legislation that is now regarded as discriminatory.

And he has a record on busing for racial balance that made him a de facto ally of Louise Day Hicks of the Boston busing case fame.

How, with a record like this, does Biden inoculate himself against attacks by rival candidates, especially candidates of color, in his run for the nomination?

One way would be to signal to his party that he has grown, he has changed, and his 2020 running mate will be a person of color. Perhaps he’ll run with a woman of color such as Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia.

An ancillary benefit would be that Abrams on the ticket would help him carry Georgia, a state Donald Trump probably cannot lose and win re-election.

Wrote Axios this morning:

“Close advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden are debating the idea of packaging his presidential campaign announcement with a pledge to choose Stacey Abrams as his vice president.”


Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

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