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House Republicans Block Russia Sanctions Bill

After recruiting Trump, the KGB and Moscow have clearly also managed to make all House Republicans their puppets, because the Senate bill that passed last week and slapped new sanctions on Russia (but really was meant to block the production on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia and which Germany, Austria and France all said is a provocation by the US and would prompt retaliation) just hit a major stumbling block in the House.

At least that’s our interpretation of tomorrow’s CNN “hot take.”

Shortly after House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas said that House leaders concluded that the legislation, S. 722, violated the origination clause of the Constitution, which requires legislation that raises revenue to originate in the House, and would require amendments, Democrats immediately accused the GOP of delaying tactics and “covering” for the Russian agent in the White House.

“House Republicans are considering using a procedural excuse to hide what they’re really doing: covering for a president who has been far too soft on Russia,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement. “The Senate passed this bill on a strong bipartisan vote of 98-2, sending a powerful message to President Trump that he should not lift sanctions on Russia.”

And, if the House does pass it, a huge diplomatic scandal would erupt only not between the US and Russia, but Washington and its European allies who have slammed this latest intervention by the US in European affairs… a scandal which the Democrats would also promptly blame on Trump.

That said, the bill may still pass: Brady pushed back against Democrat suggestions that House GOP leadership is trying to delay the bill, stressing that he thought the Senate legislation was sound policy.

“I strongly support sanctions against Iran and Russia to hold them accountable. We were willing to work with the Senate throughout the process, but the final bill and final language violated the origination clause in the Constitution,” Brady told reporters on Tuesday. “I am confident working with the Senate and Chairman [Ed] Royce that we can move this legislation forward. So at the end of the day, this isn’t a policy issue, it’s not a partisan issue, it is a Constitutional issue that we will address.”

Or maybe not.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said that “the Senate bill cannot be considered in the House its current form” according to The Hill. She added that Ryan strongly supports sanctions and “we will determine the next course of action after speaking with our Senate colleagues.” An aide for Sen. Bob Corker who was deeply involved in negotiating the Senate deal, said that the House has raised “concerns with one of the final provisions” of the bill.

“The House has always, in a bipartisan way, followed protocol to avoid Origination Clause violations. It’s the Constitution. It’s pretty straightforward,” a senior GOP aide added.

And yet, despite the clear procedural issues, Democrats would just not let it go and warned that Republicans are trying to delay the bill amid pushback from the Trump administration.

As usual, Schumer lambasted the move, arguing they’re using the procedural roadblock to cover for Trump, “who has been far too soft on Russia.”

“Responding to Russia’s assault on our democracy should be a bipartisan issue that unites both Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate. The House Republicans need to pass this bill as quickly as possible,” he said.

Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added that Republicans could easily work around the violation by introducing an indention House bill. “[But] I predict this isn’t the last excuse we’ll hear for trying to slow this bill’s momentum, but make no mistake, anything short of an up-or-down vote on this tough sanctions package is an attempt to let Russia off the hook,” he said.

Another Democrat, Sen. Ben Cardin stressed that he didn’t think the Senate bill actually had a “blue slip” issue, but echoed Engel noting they it could be “easily corrected” by using a House bill.

* * *

Under the bill which was voted 98-2 in the Senate, new Russia sanctions could be levied on entities engaging in “malicious cyber activity”, perhaps like those which gave Republican Handel the victory in Georgia. It would require the administration to explain any moves to ease or lift sanctions, and create a new mechanism for Congress to review and block any such effort according to Bloomberg.

And, of course, the most controversial issue, the legislation would also put into law penalties that were imposed by the Obama administration on some Russian energy projects, a move in 2014 that came in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. It is over this part of the legislation that America’s European “allies” have threatened the US with retaliation.

The White House has said it is committed to existing sanctions and hasn’t taken a formal position on the Senate bill.

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US State Department questions Gulf motives on Qatar boycott

The US State Department bluntly questioned on Tuesday the motives of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their boycott of Doha, saying it was “mystified” the Gulf states had not released their grievances over Qatar. In Washington’s strongest language yet on the Gulf dispute, the State Department said the more time goes by, “the more doubt is raised about the actions taken by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.” “At this point, we are left with one simple question: Were the actions really about their concerns regarding Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism or were they about the long-simmering grievances between and among the GCC countries,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, referring to the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council. The […]



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Belgian troops kill ‘terrorist’ bomber in Brussels train station

Belgian troops shot dead a suspected suicide bomber in Brussels’ central train station on Tuesday but there were no other casualties, in what authorities were treating as the latest terrorist incident in Europe. The man set off a small explosion at the city’s Central Station, prosecutors said, and was then shot by one of the routine military patrols active in Brussels since attacks more than a year ago. They declined comment on witness accounts that the man had shouted extremist slogans first. Only hours later, after bomb disposal teams had cleared the area, was the man confirmed dead. There was no word on his identity. “We consider this a terrorist attack,” prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt told reporters by the […]


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Clinton Faces Loss Of Security Clearance After State Begins Probing Her Mishandling Of Classified Intel

The State Department confirmed months of speculation on Tuesday when it leaked to Fox News that it had opened a formal inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s alleged mishandling of classified information on her private email server. Clinton, who has repeatedly blamed the FBI’s handling of the inquiry for her embarrassing defeat in November, is now facing the possibility of having her top-level security clearance revoked – a penalty that echoes the investigation of former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.

President Donald Trump repeatedly promised to investigate the Clinton’s, so the probe could see the president fulfilling yet another campaign promise. As Fox reports, “during the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s use of top-secret and classified information on her private server, former FBI Director James Comey said there were seven email chains on Clinton’s computer that were classified at the “Top Secret/Special Access Program level.”

Another 2,000 emails on her private server were found to have contained information deemed classified now, though not marked classified when sent. In addition, the server also contained 22 top-secret emails deemed too damaging to national security to be released.”

To paraphrase Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that violations of statutes concerning the handling and dissemination of classified materials occurred.

Judicial Watch’s Chris Farrell said he believes Clinton and her “circle of national security criminals” should not have access to any classified information for any reason. 

“Their conduct has cost them that privileged position of special trust and confidence,” Farrell said.

Here’s Fox:

The department’s investigation aims to determine whether Clinton and her closest aides violated government protocols by using her private server to receive, hold and transmit classified and top-secret government documents. The department declined to say when its inquiry began, but it follows the conclusion of the FBI’s probe into the matter, which did not result in any actions being taken against Clinton or any of her aides.

 

Depending on the outcome of the current State Department inquiry, Clinton and her aides could have their access to sensitive government documents terminated.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, confirmed to Fox News the department’s formal inquiry.

 

Meanwhile, Grassley’s committee launched its own inquiry into Clinton’s handling of emails, an inquiry that began in March. Grassley cited among his concerns the July 5 statement of former FBI Director James Comey that the agency found Clinton and her staff members were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

A response from a Clinton spokesman suggests that the Clinton camp hasn’t learned from its mistakes during the campaign.

In the statement, Clinton’s top spokesman, Nick Merrill told Fox that a final judgment of Clinton has already been reached. “Nothing’s been more thoroughly dissected. It’s over. Case closed. Literally,” said Merrill.

Former FBI Director Comey announced that the bureau had closed its investigation in July 2016, before turning around and announcing that it had been reopened following the discovery of emails from Clinton on a laptop owned by former Congressman Anthony Weiner.

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Air strikes pound southwest Syrian city of Deraa

Government air and artillery bombardments hit rebel-held areas of the Syrian city of Deraa, on the border with Jordan, on Tuesday after a two-day ceasefire expired, witnesses, rebels and the army said. Syrian state television quoting army sources said they had resumed the offensive, which took place as US and Russian officials were holding another round of secret talks on creating a “de-escalation zone” in southwestern Syria that would include Deraa. US and Russian officials agreed a ceasefire, which ended on Monday, during talks in Amman aimed at strengthening goodwill before more detailed negotiations on setting up the “de-escalation zone”, diplomats in Jordan said. On Saturday the Syrian army said it would suspend combat operations in Deraa for 48 hours […]


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Crisis On The Horizon: Will It Be Economic Collapse? Global Civil Unrest? War? We Won’t Have To Guess Much Longer…

Authored by Jeremiah Johnson (Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces) via SHTFplan.com,
“Never let a crisis go to waste.” -Rahm Emmanuel

The algorithm is simple: Governments coerce their pet mo…

The post Crisis On The Horizon: Will It Be Economic Collapse? Global Civil Unrest? War? We Won’t Have To Guess Much Longer… appeared first on crude-oil.news.


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Beer ATMs Threaten America’s “Waiter & Bartender” Recovery

For 87 straight months, America’s recovery has been dominated by one ‘job’…

Well over 5 years ago, we first dubbed the economy under Barack Obama as the “Waiter and Bartender recovery”, because while most other job categories had grown at a moderate pace at best, the growth in the category defined by the BLS as “Food Service and Drinking Workers” has been nothing short of spectacular.

How spectacular? As the chart below shows, starting in March of 2010 and continuing through April of 2017, there have been 87 consecutive month of payroll gains for America’s waiters and bartenders, an unprecedented feat and an all time record for any job category. Putting this number in context, total job gains for the sector over the past 7 years have amounted to 2.378 million or just under 15% of the total 16.4 million in new jobs created by the US over the past 87 months.

As a tangent, putting the “waiter and bartender” recovery in the context of America’s manufacturing sector, the following chart shows that while nearly 816,000 “food service and drinking places” jobs were created since 2014, over the same period the number of manufacturing jobs created has been just 107,000. Also, after six months of increases, in May manufacturing jobs posted their first drop since last October.

 

Which is why recent headlines from Vinepair should terrify policy-makers across the nation, as Climateer notes, that could all be about to end… Bartenders are being replaced by Robots…

According to Metro, Brooklyn-based Randolph Beer has come up with an innovative “Beer ATM.”

We know– we don’t understand how we didn’t come up with it first, either.

Located on South 4th Street in Williamsburg, Randolph Bar does indeed have real-live bartenders and a normally operating bar– though why would anyone spring for that when a self-serve beer ATM is within arm’s reach? As Food & Wine reports, the beer ATM functions as a self-service wall of taps.

In exchange for a credit card at the bar, the customer is given a beer ATM card; all you have to do is insert the card into the slot above the beer you’d like and choose the size of the pour. Pours range anywhere from 1 – 12 ounces, perfect for those who can’t commit to an entire brew.

The concept not only allows consumers to serve themselves, but also provides opportunities to taste-test multiple unknown beers for a fraction of the cost. Not only does the client benefit from getting a quick taste, the bartender is saved lots of time (and aggravation) from pouring multiple samples.

The pressure is totally off, and the consumer can take as long as they want in finalizing their beer decision.

Make America Drink Again?

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UN council approves former Lebanese minister as new Libya envoy

The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday approved the appointment of a former Lebanese culture minister as the new UN envoy to Libya, diplomats said, ending an unusually contentious four-month search. UN chief Antonio Guterres on Friday officially put forward Ghassan Salame, a professor of International Relations and Conflict Resolution at Sciences Po in Paris, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Saturday. The 15-member council must agree by consensus on the appointment of special envoys and members had until Tuesday evening to raise any objections. There were none, diplomats said. The search for a successor to Martin Kobler, a German diplomat who has served as the UN representative in Libya since November 2015, began in February when Guterres […]