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Tillerson says he and Trump ‘unhappy’ about new anti-Russia sanctions

The US secretary of state confirms that he and President Trump will continue working to improve relations with Russia despite new sanctions

Ricky Twisdale

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has spoken out regarding a tough new sanctions bill currently on Donald Trump’s desk.

The secretary answered questions regarding the sanctions during a nearly one hour press conference on Tuesday.

Congress sent legislation to the president last week which locks in sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea, requiring the consent of Congress for removal. The bill was passed by an overwhelming veto-proof margin in both houses.

During his remarks, Tillerson emphasized that he thought the American public supported better relations with Russia:

I think the American people want the two most powerful nuclear nations in the world to have a better relationship. I don’t think the American people want us to have a bad relationship with a huge nuclear power. But I think they are frustrated, and I think a lot of this reflects the frustration that we’ve not seen the kind of improvement in the relationship with Russia that all of us would like to see.

Following the latest move by the US congress, Moscow announced that 755 US diplomatic personnel would have to leave their positions in Russia. (The US presently maintains vastly more diplomatic staff in Russia than vice versa.) The Russians also cut off access to a vacation home and a warehouse owned by the US embassy.

According to the Kremlin, it was a countermove to President Obama’s seizure of Russian diplomatic property last December – not a reaction to the new sanctions bill. Secretary Tillerson expressed understanding for Vladimir Putin’s position:

I think it’s important to recognize that any leader of any country has their whole population watching them as well, and President Putin has his population of Russia watching him. And so I think the fact that they felt the need to take symmetrical action – and that’s the way they view it – is that they were delayed in taking this action, and I think President Putin has said that. He didn’t react when the two dachas were taken away in December. He didn’t react when 35 diplomats were sent home. He waited. And now this action came on top of that, and I think from his perspective and how he looks in the eyes of his own people, he felt he had to do something.

On the issue of the new sanctions bill itself, Tillerson made clear that both he and President Trump see the bill as counterproductive. He also said that although the Trump cannot stop the new sanctions, the administration will not allow them to obstruct continued efforts to build cooperation with Russia:

The action by the Congress to put these sanctions in place and the way they did, neither the President nor I are very happy about that. We were clear that we didn’t think it was going to be helpful to our efforts. But that’s the decision they made. They made it in a very overwhelming way. I think the President accepts that, and all indications are he will sign that, that bill. And then we’ll just work with it, and that’s kind of my view is we’ll work with it. We got it. We can’t let it take us off track of trying to restore the relationship.

Mr. Tillerson also left no doubt that the country’s head-of-state was in charge of setting foreign policy, and indicated that anyone in the state department unable to carry out the president’s policies was welcome to seek other employment:

The policy that we are leading is dictated by the President of the United States, who was selected by the American people. So we are working on behalf of the American people who selected this President to carry out his foreign policies…

Have I encountered some people on the way that didn’t want to do that, couldn’t do that? Yes. And we have given them permission to go do something else.

Tillerson gave no indication during the press conference that he was close to resigning, as mainstream media had been speculating for several days.

The secretary of state’s remarks on Russia stand in stark contrast not only to the view expressed of congress, but also to Vice President Mike Pence, who is touring eastern european states reassuring them of US support in the face of a supposed threat posed by Russia.

The foreign policy schizophrenia in Washington looks unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

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Ron Paul: Protectionism Abroad and Socialism at Home

One of the most insidious ways politicians expand government is by creating new programs to “solve” problems created by politicians.

Ron Paul

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Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity:


One of the most insidious ways politicians expand government is by creating new programs to “solve” problems created by politicians. For example, government interference in health care increased health care costs, making it difficult or even impossible for many to obtain affordable, quality care. The effects of these prior interventions were used to justify Obamacare.

Now, the failures of Obamacare are being used to justify further government intervention in health care. This does not just include the renewed push for socialized medicine. It also includes supporting new laws mandating price transparency. The lack of transparency in health care pricing is a direct result of government policies encouraging overreliance on third-party payers.

This phenomenon is also observed in foreign policy. American military interventions result in blowback that is used to justify more military intervention. The result is an ever-expanding warfare state and curtailments on our liberty in the name of security.

Another example of this is related to the reaction to President Trump’s tariffs. Many of America’s leading trading partners have imposed “retaliatory” tariffs on US goods. Many of these tariffs target agriculture exports. These tariffs could be devastating for American farmers, since exports compose as much as 20 percent of the average farmer’s income.

President Trump has responded to the hardships imposed on farmers by these retaliatory tariffs with a 12 billion dollars farm bailout program. The program has three elements: direct payments to farmers, use of federal funds to buy surplus crops and distribute them to food banks and nutrition programs, and a new federal effort to promote American agriculture overseas.

This program will not fix the problems caused by Tramp’s tariffs. For one thing, the payments are unlikely to equal the money farmers will lose from this trade war. Also, government marketing programs benefit large agribusiness but do nothing to help small farmers. In fact, by giving another advantage to large agribusiness, the program may make it more difficult for small farmers to compete in the global marketplace.

Distributing surplus food to programs serving the needy may seem like a worthwhile use of government funds. However, the federal government has neither constitutional nor moral authority to use money taken by force from taxpayers for charitable purposes. Government-funded welfare programs also crowd out much more effective and compassionate private efforts. Of course, if government regulations such as the minimum wage and occupational licensing did not destroy job opportunities, government farm programs did not increase food prices, and the Federal Reserve’s inflationary policies did not continuously erode purchasing power, the demand for food aid would be much less. By increasing spending and debt, the agriculture bailout will do much more to create poverty than to help the needy.

Agriculture is hardly the only industry suffering from the new trade war. Industries — such as automobile manufacturing — that depend on imports for affordable materials are suffering along with American exporters. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (who supports tariffs) has called for bailouts of industries negatively impacted by tariffs. He is likely to be joined in his advocacy by crony capitalists seeking another government handout.

More bailouts will only add to the trade war’s economic damage by increasing government spending and hastening the welfare–warfare state’s collapse and the rejection of the dollar’s world reserve currency status. Instead of trying to fix tariffs-caused damage through more corporate welfare, President Trump and Congress should pursue a policy of free markets and free trade for all and bailouts for none.

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In Monsters We Trust: US Mainstream Media No Friend of the American People

Over 300 US newspapers ran editorials on the same day denouncing Trump, an event in itself that points to some high degree of collusion and groupthink.

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Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Over the course of his turbulent presidency, Donald Trump has accused various media companies, with special attention reserved for CNN, as being purveyors of ‘fake news.’ In one early-morning Tweet last year, he slammed the “FAKE NEWS media” as the “enemy of the people.”

This week, over 300 US newspapers ran editorials on the same day – an event in itself that points to some high degree of collusion and groupthink – denouncing Trump’s insensitive portrayal of them, as if the notion that journalists were not in the same sleaze league as lawyers, politicians and professional con artists never crossed anyone’s mind before. Even the peace-loving Mahatma Gandhi recommended “equality for everyone except reporters and photographers.”

But is the MSM really an “enemy of the people?”

First, it cannot be denied that the US media, taken in all its wholesomeness, has been overwhelmingly consistent in its ‘style’ of reporting on Donald Trump, the 45th POTUS. And by consistent I mean unprecedentedly critical, misleading and outright aggressive in its guerilla coverage of him. If one is not convinced by the gloom-and-doom Trump stories featured daily in the Yahoo News feed, then a study by the Media Research Center (MRC) should do the job. From January 1 through April 30, evening news coverage of the US leader – courtesy of ABC, CBS and NBC – were 90 percent negative, which is pretty much the same incredible average revealed by MRC one year earlier.

The study looked at every one of the 1,065 network evening news stories about Trump and his administration during the first four months of 2018. Total negative news time devoted to Trump: 1,774 minutes, or about one-third of all evening news airtime. That’s pretty much the definition of a circle jerk.

“Nearly two-fifths (39%) of the TV coverage we examined focused on Trump scandals and controversies, while 45 percent was devoted to various policy issues,” MRC wrote in its report.

Meanwhile, the farcical Russia ‘collusion’ story was consistently the main grabber — clocking in at 321 minutes, or nearly one-fifth of all Trump coverage. Of the 598 statements MRC calculated about Trump’s personal scandals, virtually all of them (579, or 97%) came out of the media wash cycle tarred and feathered.

If this represents an orchestrated attack on the Commander-in-Chief, and in light of those numbers it would be difficult to argue it isn’t, the strategy appears to be falling flat. Despite, or precisely because of, the avalanche of negative media coverage, Trump’s popularity rating smashed the 50 percent ceiling in early August and continues to remain high.

In Monsters We Trust

Although it can be safely stated that the MSM is an entrenched and relentless enemy of Donald Trump, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an “enemy of the American people,” as Trump argues it is. Let’s be a bit more diplomatic and say it isn’t our friend.

One yard stick for proving the claim is to consider the steadily mounting concentration of media holdings. In 1983, 90 percent of US media were controlled by 50 companies; today, 90 percent is controlled by the Big Six (AT&TComcastThe Walt Disney Company21st Century FoxCBS and Viacom control the spoken and printed word from sea to shining sea).Although many people are aware of the monopolistic tendencies of the US mainstream media, it’s important to understand the level of concentration. It means the vast majority of everything you see and hear on any electronic device or printed publication is ‘democratically’ controlled by six average white guys and their shareholders.

However, keeping track of who owns what these days is practically impossible since the dozens of subsidiary companies that fall under each main company are themselves fiefdoms, each with their own separate holdings. In fact, the already short ‘Big Six’ list is already dated, since National Amusements, Inc. has gobbled up both Viacom and CBS, while 21st Century Fox merged with Disney this year. As for the 350 US newspapers that penned tortured editorials decrying Trump’s critical opinion of them, many of those ‘local’ publications get their marching orders from either the Hearst Communications or the Gannett Company on the East Coast.

Now, with this sort of massive power and influence lying around like dynamite, it stands to reason, or unreason, that the corporate and political worlds will succumb to the law of attraction and gravitation, forging powerful and impregnable relationships. It’s no secret that the politicians, our so-called ‘public servants,’ are mostly in the game to make a fast buck, while the corporations, desperate for ‘democratic representation’ to control regulation and market share, have an inexhaustible source of funds to secure it. Naturally, this oligarchical system precludes any sort of democratic participation from the average person on the street, who thinks just because he remembers to yank a lever once every several years he is somehow invested in the multibillion-dollar franchise.

As far as media corporations being ‘private enterprises’ and therefore free to demolish the freedom of speech (even censoring major media players, like Infowars, simply because they whistle to a different political tune), that is quickly becoming revealed as nothing more than corporate cover for state-sponsored machinations.

“In a corporatist system of government, wherein there is no meaningful separation between corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship,” writes Caitlin Johnstone. “Because legalized bribery in the form of corporate lobbying and campaign donations has given wealthy Americans the ability to control the US government’s policy and behavior while ordinary Americans have no effective influence whatsoever, the US unquestionably has a corporatist system of government.”

Meanwhile, it cannot be denied, from the perspective of an impartial observer, that the mainstream media is nearly always positioned to promote the government narrative on any number of significant issues. From the media’s unanimous and uncritical clamoring that Osama bin Laden was responsible for 9/11 (even the FBI has admitted it has no “hard evidence” that bin Laden carried out the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon), to its gung-ho enthusiasm for the 2003 Iraq War, to the sycophantic cheerleading for a war in Syria, the examples of media toeing the government line are legion. And if US intel is in bed with Hollywood you can be damn sure they’re spending time in the MSM whorehouse as well.

Is it any surprise, then, that public trust in the US media is reaching all-time lows, while news consumers are increasingly looking to alternative news sites – themselves under relentless attack – to get some semblance of the elusive truth, which is the God-given right of any man? Truth is our due, and we should demand nothing less.

As Thomas Paine reminded the world in the face of a different foe: “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.”

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Majority Americans Want Diplomacy With Russia Over Sanctions: Gallup

Gallup’s conclusion: “Although U.S.-Russian tensions continue to simmer, more Americans are inclined to believe the U.S. is better off trying to improve relations with Russia.”

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Via Zerohedge


A Monday Gallup poll reveals that most Americans feel it is more important for the United States to work towards improving relations with Russia, as opposed to sanctions.

Of those surveyed, 58% say it’s “more important to improve relations with Russia,” while 36% say “strong diplomatic steps against Russia” are a priority.

The poll, which took place between Aug. 1-12, comes after nearly two years of constant media bombardment over Russian hacking, invasive DOJ investigations which Trump refers to as a “witch hunt,” and an admission by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that alleged hacking and social media influence campaigns by Russia had no effect on the 2016 US election.

That said, 75% of those surveyed by Gallup believe Russia interfered in the election, while 16% say they did not. Of those who say Russia interfered, 36% said it didn’t change the outcome, while 39% say it did.

Opionions over whether Russia actually influenced the election were also highly partisan – with 78% if Democrats saying that Russian interference affected the outcome of the election, and just 9% of Republicans who believe that Russia both hacked – and changed the outcome, of the election. The vast majority of Republicans (58%) think Russia did interfere, but it didn’t affect the outcome.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced a new round of sanctions against Russia in response to allegations that the Kremlin was behind an attack against former Russia double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Gallup’s conclusion: “Although U.S.-Russian tensions continue to simmer, more Americans are inclined to believe the U.S. is better off trying to improve relations with Russia. Americans are largely convinced that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election but are divided, largely along party lines, as to whether that country’s involvement changed the outcome.”

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