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Theresa May’s BREXIT disaster along the Irish border (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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With a hard Brexit deadline fast approaching in approximately 150 days in March 2019, one question is never far from UK front page headlines: How will May solve a problem like the Irish border?

Via Zerohedge

Understanding the controversy surrounding the Brexit “backstop” – and why the issue of avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland has become such an intractable sticking point – can be difficult for non-Europeans (and, indeed, even some Europeans who haven’t closely followed the meandering negotiations).

According to the FT, Britain wants to avoid measures that could divide Northern Ireland and London, so keeping Northern Ireland in the EU customs Union while the rest of the UK leaves is a political non-starter for conservatives and members of the Democratic Unionist Party, the party in Northern Ireland that is helping to prop up May’s conservative government. The party’s leader recently said a customs border in the middle of the Irish Sea would be tantamount to “annexation” by Europe.

May and her government hope that the deal will win enough support to incentivize Barnier to call a summit of EU leaders to hammer out the language of a final deal that has a solid chance of passing Parliament.

Of course, no matter the text of the deal, Parliament still has the power to send negotiators back to square one which, this late in the game, would almost certainly lead to a “no deal” Brexit. Though May and her team are setting a “hard” deadline for the end of the month, observers can rest assured that, in reality, every deadline is a “soft” deadline. May and her team have little choice but to continue negotiations until the very last minute, at which point either a deal will emerge, or it won’t.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris update Theresa May’s Brexit saga, which appears to be heading for a hard March deadline.

The Irish border dispute is the latest Brexit misstep, that May has yet to solve, with no leadership capacity to solve. More Ministers are resigning from May’s government, and big trouble lies ahead for the UK due to May’s mishandling of Brexit negotiations.

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According to Zerohedge, it sounds like Theresa May and her cabinet are putting the cart before the horse…

Despite winning a major concession from the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier last week, Theresa May’s revised “secret” Brexit plan has so far failed to pass muster in Westminster. And as the battle over the controversial “backstop” agreement – a plan to avert a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland at all costs, even if Brexit trade talks go “pear-shaped” – rages on despite the EU’s openness to keeping the entirety of the UK in the customs union (albeit temporarily), May’s leadership team has decided to skip the hard part and start formulating a plan to sell the deal – whatever that might be. 

And although May’s senior cabinet officials were not presented with a deal this week, presumably because the various factions in May’s conservative party have yet to unify behind whatever outline is presently being circulated, the leadership did at least manage to agree that, whatever happens with the details, May will have a deal in hand by the end of the month. And to help sell that deal, May and her top officials plan to stress a strategy of “measured success”, according to the BBC, which reportedly saw a copy of May’s government’s plan to market the deal.

“The narrative is going to be measured success, that this is good for everyone but won’t be all champagne corks popping.”

The plan relies on endorsements from foreign leaders like Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as a flurry of corporate endorsements, to help shore up support before May shares the details of the deal in a speech to the CBI, one of the UK’s biggest and most influential business groups. The campaign strategy will culminate with an all-out blitz on the evening of the vote, expected late this month, demanding that lawmakers put their own agendas aside and put the country’s interests first.

Here is a rough timeline of Theresa May’s plan via the BBC…

Cabinet reviews the deal this Tuesday, the 6th November. They expect all the details to then leak.

“A moment of decisive progress” will be announced this Thursday. Raab to announce.

The narrative is going to be measured success, that this is good for everyone, but won’t be all champagne corks popping.

Then there’s recess until 12th.

After the announcement of decisive progress there follows the 10 days of Sherpa meetings with EU 27 and then daily themed announcements.

19th November – “We have delivered on the referendum” PM speaks at the CBI conference.

Saying this deal brings the country back together, now is the time for us all to unite behind it for the good of all our futures etc. She will also hold a business reception.

This is the day both the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Framework will be put to Parliament by way of a statement from Raab who will also do media. Junior ministers are doing regional media all day. Government lining up 25 top business voices including Carolyn Fairburn and lots of world leaders eg Japanese PM to tweet support for the deal.

20th – Theme is Delivering for the Whole of the UK – PM to visit the north and or Scotland and the Commons will debate in business motions the date of the Meaningful Vote.

PM will be back in the house to vote. The Cabinet Office publishes its explainer of the deal and what it means for the public, comparing it to No Deal, but not to our current deal.

Other business leaders to come out and back it eg Adam Marshall from Chambers of Commerce and supportive voices in devolved regions like Andy Street and Andy Burnham. Also hoping to get 3rd Sector voices out supporting it.

21st – Theme is Economy, Jobs, Customs. Philip Hammond to open debate in Commons and Raab to close it. Institute of Directors to speak out.

Hoping for Stephen Martin, Martin McTeague etc

22nd – Theme is immigration – take back control of our borders. Home Sec doing media and visits. Raab on QT in the West mids.

Hope Mike Hawes of SMMT will speak out in favour along with influential voices from the rest of the world saying how great this is for the flow of global talent.

23rd – Theme is money – NHS funding and structural funds. Matt Hancock hospital visit. David Everett to welcome the deal alongside Tech for UK.

24th Theme is Northern Ireland and The Union – no hard border in the UK and the integrity of the Union is protected. PM visits border communities and business in NI and maybe also to Wales to visit agri and export businesses. Karen Bradley doing media.

Trying to get Varadker to support and Anand Menon and Henry Newman too.

25th – Theme is global Britain. We can strike trade deals with RoW (rest of world) security in this one too.

Speech from Liam Fox. Jeremy Hunt on Marr. Hope Miles Celic to come out in support (City UK).

Lining up lots of former foreign secs to come out in support and Mark Littlewood of the IEA.

26th – theme is taking back control of our laws, Raab doing media. PM interview with Dimbleby.

27th – morning theme is agri and fisheries. Gove doing a visit and media.

Evening is the vote. HISTORIC MOMENT, PUT YOUR OWN INTERESTS ASIDE, PUT THE COUNTRY’S INTERESTS FIRST AND BACK THIS DEAL.

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ian seedSmokingeagleJane KarlssonCudwieseram hants Recent comment authors
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AM Hants
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AM Hants

I wonder if May is also involved in this, if true. Considering how closely Ukraine is working with Westminster at the moment?

Would the US seriously go this far, to stop Nord Stream II. Remember, Nato use chemical weapons, have no problems taking down civilian jets, to blame others, plus, just how far did Bush and friends go, with regards 9/11? Not forgetting the Odessa Trade Union Massacre? No doubt Nato is still playing exercises, close to Russia.

The following article, if true, so needs sharing.

POPOV: UKRAINE IS PLANNING TO ATTACK DONETSK TOMORROW, ELECTION DAY… https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/11/popov-ukraine-is-planning-to-attack-donetsk-tomorrow-election-day/

Smokingeagle
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Smokingeagle

The only reason for May’s working with Ukraine must have just a little to do with its sharing a border with Russia and the US cracking a whip. Otherwise, why would anyone want to work with that radiation-contaminated and thoroughly corrupt basket case of a country? Even Ukrainians are flocking out of it. Ukraine reports that its population decreased by 152.4 thousand people between January and August 2018. The rats that can afford to leave and have enough money to leave are abandoning the sinking ship.

Cudwieser
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Cudwieser

Northern Ireland annexed by the EU. Wouldn’t surprise me if they did. Not like England hadn’t done such a thing a few centuries prior. Karma’s a bitch Westminster, now take your medicine. I’ve no more a want to be in the EU (voted to leave) at the minute, but here you have ‘Kevin’, your perfect cousin. What are you gonna do. P.S Simple fucking solution May. DOVER, FALMOUTH, LIVERPOOL, CAIRNRYAN, STRANRAER, PORTSMOUTH…Anything in common? Your problem, your soil. Keep them there. We’ll handle our end, you handle yours. All we need now are elected representatives, not the gerrymandered shower we’re… Read more »

Jane Karlsson
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Jane Karlsson

Bombshell from today’s Sunday Times: “Theresa May has been plunged into a deeper crisis after Brussels rejected her key Brexit proposal, which was intended to avoid the UK being trapped in an indefinite customs union. The prime minister had hoped to unite her cabinet and overcome the final hurdle in negotiations with the EU by offering to create an “independent mechanism” to oversee how the UK might leave a temporary customs arrangement if Brexit talks collapsed. But this weekend senior EU officials sent shockwaves through No 10 by rejecting May’s plan, sparking fears that negotiations have broken down days before… Read more »

Smokingeagle
Guest
Smokingeagle

I feel rather sorry for May (in spite of not being a May supporter). She is constantly being attacked for her handling of Brexit, but any PM from any party would have had the same or similar problems with the EU. Britain’s relationship with the EU has never been an easy one, and relationship break-ups are often painful experiences. Her first big mistake was to call an early election, and she followed that up with another mistake when she made the deal with Northern Ireland to get the votes she needed.

ian seed
Guest
ian seed

Alex Mercouris could sort his mic out – sounds so harsh on the ear and the volume isn’t even that high on my end

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FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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