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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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Every dirty Democrat trick shows in bid to oust Kavanaugh

American democracy truly is mob rule now, and the mob is stupid, with no one taking a moment to truly consider the situation.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The most amazing thing about what is ostensibly the last minute “Hail Mary” smear campaign by the left against Judge Brett Kavanaugh is how utterly transparently partisan it is. Let’s look at the list of tactics used thus far in this very dirty escapade:

  • Democrat Senator Diane Feinstein sat on this allegation for three months, until after the confirmation hearings were over (and after no other barnstorming tactic during the confirmation hearings worked against the nominee).
  • The accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, is a registered Democrat, and a feminist. RT notes that she appears to have a strong interest in politics.
  • Reports of “death threats” against Dr. Ford have been reported. This is a common feature of any anti-Trump attack, to relate him to some sort of “right-wing” radicalism. This radicalism does not exist among conservatives, but the media is determined to say otherwise.
  • Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, naturally, believes Ford’s story.
  • Every Democrat senator is in agreement that this matter should table the confirmation vote. Some Republicans were at first but appear to be backing away.
  • A woman Democrat senator,  Mazie Hirono, went on record telling men to “shut up and step up.” It seems abundantly clear that this assumes that there can only be one “step” that the men are expected to do. A second lady senator , Patty Murray of Washington, gave all men a warning against stepping off the plantation by saying “Women are watching.”
  • The Senate Republicans offered a chance for Dr Ford to testify on Monday. She refused, but now she is offering to come “next Thursday” – this is ten days later, past the October 1 start date of the US Supreme Court, and closer to the November Midterm elections.

We interrupt this list to make this point. The issues at hand are threefold.

First, the Democrats and other left-wing activists are terrified that they will lose the “Warren Court”, which is the name of the Supreme Court Justice who was a major left-wing judicial activist that enabled the Court to “legislate from the bench” along liberal policy lines since 1969. If Kavanaugh comes in, even if President Trump is somehow magically removed from office, his mark will remain on the Court for at least a generation. Of course, the removal of President Trump is predicated on the Democrats regaining control of the House, which actually looks somewhat likely if polling data is to be believed, and of course a Democrat Senate. (The actual tiny caveat that the President has done absolutely nothing which warrants impeachment will not be taken into consideration. He is to be eliminated. That is Democrat point number one, and make no mistake.)

Second, if the Judge is confirmed, it will look great on the President’s achievement list and energize his voter base even more than it already is. The result could be that the Senate expands its Republican majority, and gains Trumpian conservatives in its ranks, which would likely help the President continue his really great agenda. A defeat in the House that holds or expands GOP, again with Trumpian conservatives, would solidify this, and make it more difficult to stop Trump’s re-election and further solidification of reforms in 2020.

Third, and probably even more important, is that the possibility of a third seat getting vacated on the Court in the time period between now and 2024 is relatively high. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the oldest Justice on the Court, and she is a raving liberal. If she retires (which she promises not to do), or if she is retired by the processes of old age, Trump can score a three-peat and get a third constitutionalist justice into the Court and that will signal the closure of one of the biggest avenues of liberal activism.

To return to the list, some of the further characteristics that make this situation patently obvious are these:

  • As reported in The Duran, the smear job is looking a bit ragged around the edges as time goes by. President Trump called Dr Ford’s bluff by saying he is interested in having her come to testify and that it would be “unfortunate” if she didn’t do so. Ford’s response was as shown above, to try and delay this testimony.
  • The Hollywood “sisterhood” is on record defending Dr Ford. For them, she’s right. She said Kavanaugh did this, so she is right. And why? Because she is a woman, a feminist and a Democrat. She is one of them. It would very interesting to know if the sisterhood would stand behind a conservative woman raising such a concern against a Democrat, but we have President Clinton to show how well that all went.

This by no means concludes the list of characteristics, but as noted earlier here, anyone that does even just a little critical thinking about this can see that this issue is no moral outrage, it is strictly partisan hackery, making use of the greatest weapon against conservative men put in use over the last fifty years – the sexual allegation from a woman, who must always be believed, because the woman is always right. 

The unfortunate truth is that this tactic works. It works because most men are actually gentlemen. We honor women, and we are taught to defer to them in America, because that is what a gentleman does. Feminism takes this characteristic of men, especially in modern times who really want to make sure they treat the ladies right, and it throws it back in their face in contempt. It is so bad it even has a physiological effect on men, who are now marrying less, and having fewer kids. There are even physiological changes that result from this abuse.

Further, there is an appalling lack of critical thinking in our society. The British news site, The Independent offers a poll with questions about the Kavanaugh case. The astonishing lack of critical thinking is clearly evident as the reader votes his or her thought and then sees the results for that question. Going through the questions and observing their responses can be very illuminating.

Dr Ford is demanding an FBI investigation, but she has no date, time or location attached to the incident she accuses now-Judge Kavanaugh of perpetrating. Rush Limbaugh did a great job at showing just how absurd this demand actually is, given these glaring areas of non-knowledge and we include some of that transcript below:

What would happen, let’s say — I don’t know — in the last 10 years up to last week if any woman had walked into any FBI office in the country and said the following: “Hi. I’m here to report that I was abused 35 years ago. I was — I was — I was at a party. Uh, I was 15, a little bit to drink, and a 17-year-old guy pushed me down on top of a table and laid on top of me. And then — and then and then I think — I think — a friend came in and did something and anyway they left and I was left locked in the room. And I want to you to investigate.”

Do you think if somebody shows up at an FBI office with that story, if they show up in person with that story, that the FBI is gonna give it any time whatsoever? The agents are gonna look at each other with kind of wary eyes and they’re gonna crack silent jokes to one another. I’m not kidding. You take this out of the realm of a letter to a crazed, partisan United States senator, Dianne Feinstein, and just move this into the victim walking into an FBI office, “It was 35 years, 34 years. I’m not sure where. But I know that when I was 15, I was at a party, and some guy jumped on top of me.”

So let’s say the FBI agent decides to actually take this further and in a very respectful way says, “Well, Miss, were you raped or injured?”

“Uh, no, not really.”

“Did you report this or tell anyone at the time, 36, 35 years ago?”

“Uh, no.”

“What year was this, again, that this happened?”

“Uhhh, I’m not — I’m not sure. I think it was 1982.”

“Where did this happen?”

“I don’t know! I don’t know. I was so traumatized; I don’t remember any of it. I just remember some guy jumping on me and I was drunk and — and I don’t know. But I want you to investigate it.”

“Okay. Ma’am, were there any witnesses?”

“Just the one friend of his that pushed him off, and then they left before he could do anything.”

What would the FBI do with this, if that scenario happened in one of their field offices? I will tell you what they would do: Zip, zero, nada. And the reason for bringing it up this way is to try to shine some kind of a different light on this and try to put this kind of allegation in some kind of context. The president is handling this in a quite fascinating way. He’s saying, “I hope she shows up. I want to hear what she has to say. I really hope she shows up. I’m very interested in what she has to say. We all are. And if she shows up and if she’s credible, why, then we’re gonna have to do something about that.”

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Russian Hierarch explains Ukrainian issue in detail (VIDEO)

A Russian Orthodox Hierarch explores the incursion of earthly politics into the life, pastoral activity and needs of the Orthodox Church.

Seraphim Hanisch

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RT’s “Worlds Apart” interview program recently interviewed Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), a hierarch who heads the Department of External Church Relations for the Moscow Patriarchate of the Orthodox Church. The Duran has covered the crisis in Ukraine surrounding the activity of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, of Constantinople, intended to create a fully independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This effort falls completely outside the normal and authorized operating procedures of the Orthodox Church, but to the lay listener it is difficult to understand what the fuss really is all about.

Metropolitan Hilarion and Oksana Boyko do an excellent job with both the answers, but more importantly, the questions, since Ms. Boyko asks the questions that someone who knows nothing about the Church might ask. This situation is completely about politics and not about the true work of the Church, and Met. Hilarion answers these questions very completely and thoroughly.

One of the really interesting points that Met. Hilarion makes is the idea that the Ecumenical Patriarch seeks to bring about the creation of a fully independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church from these four groups:

  • The Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (which is canonical and which has not requested self-rule, called autocephaly
  • The Ukrainian Orthodox Church “Kyiv Patriarchate”, led by Filaret Denisenko, which is a completely schismatic group. This group, and Filaret, are leading the charge.
  • The Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church – another schismatic group that is not in communion with Filaret’s church
  • The Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine – and this is truly interesting, because this group is not even Orthodox, but is an Eastern Rite group under the Pope of Rome, and is in fact Roman Catholic.

The notion of bringing together such a disparity of groups is stunning to the Metropolitan, and yet he understands the motives of the men driving this idea, President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, Patriarch Bartholomew, and Filaret Denisenko.

While the United States is not mentioned in this interview in any prominent sense, it should be noted that this move also does have strong US support as the American political leadership has been advocating for the Poroshenko government in an effort to continue to surround and isolate Russia. As we have noted elsewhere, this series of moves may well create more problems for Russia, by design.

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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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