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Final vote for May’s BREXIT deal opens the door for Article 50 delay (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 98.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss a critical Tuesday Brexit vote, where the latest indications point to a hardening of stances within the leave and remain camps, in both the Conservative and Labour parties, while the EU refuses to budge on its Brexit position.

May’s Brexit deal faces a final, outright rejection, which will inevitably open up the door for an Article 50 three month delay, and a likely resignation from the UK Prime Minister.

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“The Brexit Betrayal: Democracy On The Brink.”Authored by Mark Angelides via LibertyNation.com:


The tentacles of the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels threaten to unravel British democracy.

Dark rumblings in the British Isles portend the betrayal of the largest democratic exercise in the nation’s long history. Storm clouds gather in the form of elitist politicians seeking to tie the United Kingdom – once a proud, independent nation – to the increasingly fragmented European Union project. As the official deadline for leaving this European Superstate approaches, it seems that elected members of Parliament are determined to override the will of the British people in a capitulation that will mark the death knell of their freedom.

Will the U.K. forever be trapped in a political union with no hope of escape? Will the British Deplorables take to the streets to demand democracy be served? And is there any doubt remaining in the minds of the electorate that the government has its own agenda that must be served out as thin gruel in this ongoing saga?

Each week, we’ll be examining the machinations and plots that infect British politics.

The Dates, The Decisions

On March 29, Britain is set to leave the European Union. Under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the U.K. gave its two-year notice of withdrawal, and that deadline is fast approaching. You might assume that Brexit is a done deal and that this nation of shopkeepers (as Napoleon described his eventual victors) should be negotiating new trade arrangements with the rest of the world. But, no, there are further machinations taking place.

The 2016 referendum asked a simple question: Should the U.K. remain part of the E.U.? Once this was decided in an historic vote, the follow-up question should have been, simply: When do we leave? Yet this question – that was handed to the British voting public – morphed into a vicious hydra of how we leave, what deal should be in place with the E.U., and how much power should remain in the hands of the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels?

The British government has decided, in its all-too-finite wisdom, that exiting the union on simple World Trade Organization (WTO) terms would be a poison pill for the economy. Remember that this is the same government that wrongly forecasted Britain would enter immediate recession upon a Leave vote. The Conservative Party under Prime Minister Theresa May is left pitiably scabbling for scraps of compromise from unbending fanatics who have stated that “Britain must be punished” for the crime of daring to leave their precious club. As Mr. Brexit himself, Nigel Farage, points out, the withdrawal agreement so far is more like a surrender document signed under the barrel of a gun by a defeated nation.

Deal Or No Deal

May’s ministers presently are attempting to get minor concessions to a withdrawal agreement, brokered by May but rejected by Parliament, with little luck. The opposition Labour Party has finally, after three years of dalliance, decided that what’s needed now – at the 11th hour – is another referendum to make sure the supposedly idiotic plebeians know exactly what they voted for the first time.

And through it all, the recalcitrant E.U. leaders smugly state that not only is there no dealing to be done but also those who dared to orchestrate Brexit have “a special place in hell.”

Yet what is it that the British public actually want? A recent Politico poll asked which scenario the respondents would prefer. The option and responses were:

  • Delaying the U.K.’s exit from the E.U. to negotiate a different deal: 15.6%
  • Remaining in the E.U.: 31.5%
  • Leaving the E.U. with the government’s deal: 16.4%
  • Leaving the E.U. without a deal: 21.6%

At first glance, it seems that remaining in the E.U. has the highest amount of support, until you realize that this is a weighted question. You see, although remaining part of the E.U. project has the support of 31.5% of people (down from 48% of voters in 2016), the other three options all support leaving. In fact, 53.6% of respondents want out one way or the other. (The other responders to the poll opted for “don’t know.”)

Why The Disconnect?

Surely in a representative democracy, the elected politicians should make a reasonable effort to carry out the majority wishes of the electorate, especially if through an act of Parliament, the aforementioned politicians had agreed to carry out the will of the people.

So why is it that actually achieving Brexit is proving more difficult? It could be, as the Remain- favoring Members of Parliament suggest, that leaving is just far too complicated and an impossible task. If this is the case, it would make sense to persevere in pulling the plug now while the going is good rather than be stuck in a painful extrication procedure as the whole project collapses (as many economists now predict).

Or is the more likely scenario that of the 650 Members of Parliament, representing the 650 constituencies of the United Kingdom, the majority of them personally favor remaining, and as such ignore what their voters demanded? As it turns out, only 156 MPs openly backed leaving the E.U., yet more than 400 constituencies voted the same. This shows that a vast majority of MPs are not respecting the vote given by their own electorate.

If there were ever an argument to be made for a British Electoral College, it is this. The vote to leave the European Union was won by a slim margin in terms of overall votes, but by area and constituency it was a huge au revoir from almost everywhere but London, the capital city. That the sheer number of people living in one small area of the U.K. have the ultimate sway over the direction and lives of those from whom they are so far removed shows us that the present system is deeply flawed.

Anger is at boiling point in Britain. Demonstrators are taking to the streets in growing numbers. Belief in the value of voting is being eroded day by day, and the murmured chatter in back rooms and bars across the nation is one of disgust and righteous indignation. When change fails to come through the ballot box, the nation will fall to chaos, and the social contract may be irreparably broken

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Olivia KrothJane KarlssonTom WelshIsabella Recent comment authors
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Isabella
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Isabella

If other accounts are accurate, the damage being done to Britain by this unbelievably, appallingly incompetent, arrogant women, are extensive. We have recently seen the Police Commissioner publicly state that she has her head in a bucket of sand and has refused to listen to emphatic advise that cutting police numbers, reducing substantially the number of police able to monitor the streets, has led to an increase in knife crime and deaths not seen in Britain ever before. Moreover, that this was predicted when the Commissioner fought to stop her put the cuts into place, and ignored. Now, from the… Read more »

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

Not satisfied with which, Mrs May and her gang of buffoons have been doing their level best to antagonize Russia – the only reliable supplier of gas in the quantities we are going to need it.

If anyone wants to see “political control” (i.e. blackmail) in action, just wait until the UK is dependent on the USA for its gas!

Jane Karlsson
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Jane Karlsson

You are right. She is far, far worse than anyone imagines. I found this comment at the FT a couple of weeks ago and it really freaked me out. “Matthew Parris in The Times has written a devastating piece on May, who he calls the ‘Death Star of modern British politics’, concluding that she has ‘not simply failed to unite two wings of my party, but that her premiership has driven them apart, into anger and despair; helped to turn a disagreement into a schism’: ‘As the months have ground on I’ve been at first shocked but finally persuaded that… Read more »

Tom Welsh
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Tom Welsh

“…the latest indications point to a hardening of stances within the leave and remain camps, in both the Conservative and Labour parties…”

There is no possible excuse for there being a “Remain” party in Parliament. The outcome of the referendum was quite clearcut, and it was the largest single exercise of democratic voting in British history.

The British people voted to Leave the EU. How dare any of their elected representatives try to thwart the will of the people?

Olivia Kroth
Guest

“Final deal”? Or half-final deal? Or rather quarter-final deal? Or maybe never-ending deal? The deal of the century? The deal of the millenium? With this British witch, a western version of “Baba Yaga”, everthing and nothing will be possible. Round and round the cauldron go? Yo-ho! Throw in a bit of poison, a spoonful of doubt, a handful of complaints, stir strongly and …. wait …. wait …. wait …. for the outcome, it ever anything comes out of it. If not, start the whole process again!

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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