realDonaldTrump on Twitter: Just returned to the beautiful @WhiteHouse after a great day in Wisconsin and Ohio! pic.twitter.com/WVp3KeKg8h

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Just returned to the beautiful @WhiteHouse after a great day in Wisconsin and Ohio! pic.twitter.com/WVp3KeKg8h



Posted by

realDonaldTrump
on Saturday, July 13th, 2019 3:39am

7536 likes, 1536 retweets

realDonaldTrump on Twitter


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“Mueller’s Russia investigation” – Google News: Hannity: Mueller testimony will be ‘golden opportunity’ for Republicans – Fox News

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Hannity: Mueller testimony will be ‘golden opportunity’ for Republicans  Fox News

The upcoming Capitol Hill testimony by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller will mark a “golden opportunity” for Republicans to hold him accountable, …

“Mueller’s Russia investigation” – Google News


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“Mueller Report” – Google News: Shepard Smith Fact-Checks Trump On Mueller Report Exoneration: ‘Not True.’ – HuffPost

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Shepard Smith Fact-Checks Trump On Mueller Report Exoneration: ‘Not True.’  HuffPost

Action could “be taken up by the Congress while the president is still in office — or by the courts after his term is complete,” warned the Fox News host.

“Mueller Report” – Google News


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“wilbur ross” – Google News: Trump citizenship plan will face logistic, legal hurdles – The Recorder

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Trump citizenship plan will face logistic, legal hurdles  The Recorder

WASHINGTON — After failing to get his citizenship question on the census, President Donald Trump now says his fallback plan will provide an even more …

“wilbur ross” – Google News


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mikenov on Twitter: Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: 3:03 PM 7/12/2019 – Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal – Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ | Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions worldwt.com/blog/2019/07/1…

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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: 3:03 PM 7/12/2019 – Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal – Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ | Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions worldwt.com/blog/2019/07/1…


Posted by

mikenov
on Saturday, July 13th, 2019 1:05am

mikenov on Twitter


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “trump under federal investigation” – Google News: Trump administration agrees to independent investigation of health conditions for children at border facilities – CNN

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Trump administration agrees to independent investigation of health conditions for children at border facilities  CNN

The Trump administration has agreed to allow a Stanford University pediatrician to conduct an independent investigation into health conditions for migrant …

“trump under federal investigation” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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mikenov on Twitter: Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (4 sites): mikenov on Twitter: “By attributing IRA’s conduct to “Russia”—as opposed to Russian individuals or entities—the Report suggests that the activities alleged in the indictment were… bklyn-ny.net/blog/2019/07/1…

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Michael Novakhov on Twitter from Michael_Novakhov (4 sites): mikenov on Twitter: “By attributing IRA’s conduct to “Russia”—as opposed to Russian individuals or entities—the Report suggests that the activities alleged in the indictment were… bklyn-ny.net/blog/2019/07/1…


Posted by

mikenov
on Friday, July 12th, 2019 11:16pm

mikenov on Twitter


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“2016 Presidential Election Investigation” – Google News: Trump pushes trade deal in formerly blue Wisconsin – KRNV My News 4

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Trump pushes trade deal in formerly blue Wisconsin  KRNV My News 4

MILWAUKEE (AP) — President Donald Trump barnstormed for his new trade deal with Mexico and Canada during a visit to Wisconsin on Friday, hoping that its …

“2016 Presidential Election Investigation” – Google News


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4:00 PM 7/12/2019 | Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions.

4:00 PM 7/12/2019

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Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Today’s Headlines and Commentary
Bill, Hillary Clinton booed at Billy Joel concert after singer dedicated song to them
mikenov on Twitter: Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal (Radio Free Europe…) michael_novakhov.newsblur.com/story/fire-flo… pic.twitter.com/MtsnyQRTPR
Dems lose patience with ‘complete fraud’ AOC, rally to Pelosi’s side
No, Mr. Putin, liberalism is not dead – Big Think bigthink.com/politics-curre…
Russian Presidential Rights Council Rejects Stalin Monuments On State Property
Alex Acosta’s connection to Jeffrey Epstein scandal explained
Pentagon plans ‘war-cloud’ computing system for the military
Trump backs Gorka in fiery Rose Garden dust-up with Playboy reporter
Prince of Wales pays tribute to ‘utterly essential’ work of GCHQ as the spy agency marks its centenary
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gets support from an unlikely source – President Trump – in her fight with freshmen Democrats. Trump says Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should treat Pelosi with respect. Ocasio-Cortez had accused Pelosi of “singling” her out. http://apne.ws/ZwmHSRZ
Is targeting brain inflammation the key to beating Alzheimer’s disease? – NBC News
G7 Ambassadors Criticize Ukrainian President’s Lustration Initiative
Ukrainian convicted in 2014 slaying of Italian photographer
Oakland Athletics’ ad in Australian newspaper congratulating All-Star appears to have derogatory meaning
Brazil’s Bolsonaro says nominating son as ambassador to U.S. is not nepotism
The Week In Russia: Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal
House Democrats lead push to restrict Trump on Iran strikes
‘Outnumbered’ hosts amazed at AOC’s comment about media attention: ‘Takes a lot of chutzpah’
Michael Knowles: McConnell, Obama, Harris – The fundamental question at heart of our reparations debate
Ukrainian fighter found guilty over killing of Italian photographer
US investigators probe Epstein’s ‘little black book’ contacts
Brazil’s Bolsonaro wants his son to be ambassador to Washington
Female paedophile took ‘self-esteem’ classes before parole board released her
Sen. John Kennedy on Mueller testimony, possible delay: ‘The issue is as dead as fried chicken’
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Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller offered to delay his congressional testimony, scheduled for July 17, by one week as part of negotiations with lawmakers, the Washington Post reports.

On Friday, Turkey accepted delivery of Russian missile defense systems, a purchase which has caused tensions with the U.S. and other NATO member-states, according to NPR. The U.S. is likely to respond by refusing to sell Turkey the F-35 fighter jet.

The Chinese government announced it would impos


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Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller offered to delay his congressional testimony, scheduled for July 17, by one week as part of negotiations with lawmakers, the Washington Post reports.

On Friday, Turkey accepted delivery of Russian missile defense systems, a purchase which has caused tensions with the U.S. and other NATO member-states, according to NPR. The U.S. is likely to respond by refusing to sell Turkey the F-35 fighter jet.

The Chinese government announced it would impose sanctions on U.S. companies participating in a $2.2 billion arms sale to Taiwan, which was recently approved by the U.S. State Department,  Reuters writes.

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled in favor of the Department of Defense in Oracle America Inc. v. U.S., allowing the Pentagon to award a much-anticipated contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) later this summer, Nextgov reports.

An advisory opinion by the Federal Election Commission allows cybersecurity company, Area 1 Security, to provide its discounted services to 2020 presidential candidates campaigns, the Times says. Without the decision, the discounts offered by Area 1 could have constituted illegal campaign contributions.

President Trump criticized Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project on Thursday, saying that there is only “one real currency” in the U.S. and that the company might need to submit itself to heightened banking regulation, the Post reports.

Thirty-two million dollars disappeared from a cryptocurrency exchange in Tokyo after what is believed to be a malicious hack, the exchange has since suspended its operations, the Guardian writes.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Tamar Hostovsky Brandes and Idit Shafran Gittleman explored how a controversial decision from the Israeli Supreme Court which could test its ability to withstand political attacks.

Preston Lim shared a news round-up of Canadian national security issues.

Vishnu Kannan examined recent reporting on U.S. Cyber Command’s actions against Iranian targets.

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices


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No, Mr. Putin, liberalism is not dead – Big Think

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Big Think.

No, Mr. Putin, liberalism is not dead

The Russian President claims the “so-called liberal idea” is dead; the data disagree.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stated that liberalism has “outlived its purpose.”
  • Data show that liberal ideals such as democracy, individual agency, and economic freedom are not only on the rise but improve the well-being of people living in countries that support them.
  • Recent challenges to liberalism are serious but have not overpowered the liberal tradition.

During an interview with the Financial Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin proclaimed liberalism dead.

What is the reason for the Trump phenomenon, as you said in the United States? What is happening in Europe as well? The ruling elites have broken away from the people. There is also the so-called liberal idea, which has outlived its purpose. Our Western partners have admitted that some elements of the liberal idea, such as multiculturalism, are no longer tenable.

He later doubled-down, saying that liberals “cannot simply dictate anything to anyone” and liberalism “presupposes that nothing needs to be done.”

A gander at recent headlines may suggest Putin has read liberalism’s fate correctly: white supremacists and nationalists marching in the streets; Europe’s upsurge of support for populists parties; and President Donald Trump touting military might at a Fourth of July parade that reeked of rinky-dink Soviet propaganda. It can seem like we live on the wrong side of a historical tipping point.

While these recent trends are disturbing and certainly offer a challenge to liberal ideals, the data show that the liberalism remains alive and well in the world today.

Not your American-style liberalism

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump shake hands at the 2017 G-20 Summit, Hamburg. (Photo: The Kremlin/Wikimedia Commons)

First, let’s clarify what we mean by “liberalism.” For Americans, the term has drifted to become a catchall for political ideologies that lean left (and an epithet for those who lean right).

This is how President Trump understood it when asked about Putin’s comments: “I guess you look at what’s happening in Los Angeles, where it’s so sad to look, and what’s happening in San Francisco, and a couple other cities which are run by an extraordinary group of liberal people, I don’t know what they’re thinking but [Putin] does see things that are happening in the United States that would probably preclude him from saying how wonderful it is.”

To be fair to Trump, “liberalism” is a slippery term spread out across an expansive historical lineage — and that’s before we start qualifying it with prefixes (neoliberalism) and adjectives (cultural, social, classical, and muscular liberalism). But Putin meant “liberalism” in its more traditional and European sense.

For our purposes, we can hew the term to mean an ideology that puts primacy on individual rights and human agency. Under liberalism, all people should be free to pursue their dreams, be able to compete in an open market, and be allowed to decide for themselves — all offered with equal opportunity under the law and free of government coercion.

In other words, liberalism provides the foundation of modern liberal democracies that stand in opposition to Putin’s own ideology, an old Soviet-era belief in the primacy of the state and the nobility found in sacrificing individuality for its glory. (Dulce et decorum est pro Putin mori, as it were.)

As Masha Gessen, a Russian-American journalist, whose book The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia won the 2017 National Book Award, reminds us: “Putin is a bloody dictator who jails and kills his opponents and has waged several illegal wars to the tune of hundreds of thousands of lives [and] has presided over the near complete destruction of [the Russian] public sphere.”

Liberalism rising

A graph showing the number of democracies and autocracies in the world over time. (Photo: Our World in Data)

Putin may ardently wish for liberalism’s death, but the facts of history aren’t on his side.

In an article disputing Putin, Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator for the Financial Times, combined the World Bank’s measure of “voice and accountability” in governance and the Heritage Foundation’s “index of economic freedom.” He found that liberal societies perform better economically than repressive ones. Furthermore, post-communist states that have transitioned into liberal democracy – such as Poland, Romania, and Lithuania – have all economically outpaced Putin’s Russia.

“Mr. Putin’s posturing on the world stage is a way of turning the attention of the Russian people away from his regime’s corruption and its failure to give them a better life,” Wolf writes.

It isn’t just by economical success by which we can measure liberalism’s success. We can measure the number of countries that have made the transition into liberal democracies.

Starting in the 20th century, worldwide autocracies began to dwindle in tandem with democratic growth. According to the Varieties of Democracy Project, by 2001, the world held a roughly even number of both. Ever since, democracies have outnumbered autocracies, while the latter continue to lose ground.

Of course, political anocracies don’t fall neatly in the democratic vs. autocratic binary, leading to some differentiation in absolute numbers. But the trend lines remain consistent: countries are becoming more democratic than autocratic.

Why? Because by almost any measure of human happiness, liberal democracies provide better for their citizens. They are less corrupt than other forms of governance. They score significantly higher on metrics looking at happiness, life satisfaction, human development, and protecting human rights. And though public perception in the U.S. is that violence is at an all-time high, the opposite is true. Rates of homicide in Europe are at historic lows, and the United States has seen its homicide rate fall sharply in the last quarter century.

Can liberalism meet the challenges ahead?

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Putin’s claim of liberalism’s death isn’t an analysis off the world stage based on data and well-reasoned argument. It’s old-school agitprop courtesy an international troll. Liberalism is not only alive but making the lives for billions of people better the world over.

Of course, to say liberalism is alive and well is not to say that it does not face challenges. It does, and it always has.

Some originate from Putin himself. The Muller Report found the Kremlin exploited security gaps in the United States’ election security to mount an online campaign in support of populist Donald Trump. Russian agencies have used similar tactics in European campaigns, in addition to providing European populists with loans.

“The goal here is bigger than any one election,” Daniel Jones, a former FBI analyst, told the New York Times. “It is to constantly divide, increase distrust and undermine our faith in institutions and democracy itself. They’re working to destroy everything that was built post-World War II.”

But as Masha Gessen reminds us, Putin isn’t some Bond villain (though he styles himself as one). Any influence he achieved over American and European elections originated with discontent and disinformation already metastasizing within liberal countries.

“Russian attempts to sow discord—first of all, they’re predictable. Second of all, they’re ridiculous,” Gessen told the Atlantic. “They’ve been doing pretty much the same thing for at least 50 years. American political reality has moved a lot closer to the Russian perception — what used to be a really distorted perception, it used to be a total caricature — which I think is a little disturbing.”

This discontent centers on issues as complex as immigration, economic equity, social mobility, and political polarization. In response, conservatives have sacrificed their liberal heritage in favor of strongman populists and promises of returning to a halcyon, if ill-defined, past. On the left, progressives have grown to mistrust the liberal experiment, having seen its boons disseminated unevenly or, in some cases, entirely pass over those who have been historically disenfranchised.

But as Martin Wolf reminds us, liberalism is not a “Utopian project.” It is a “work in perpetual progress” that “requires constant adaption and adjustment.” Such progress requires good data, an honest assessment of the problem, a willingness for political compromise, and an understanding that a perfect solution is the enemy of a good one.

In other words, the opinion of a wannabe-SPECTRE autocrat may not be the one we should listen to.


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3:03 PM 7/12/2019 – Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal – Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ | Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions

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Michael_Novakhov
shared this story
from Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions.

Russian Navy servicemen console each other ahead of a funeral service for 14 sailors who died in a submarine fire in the Barents Sea.

Russian Navy servicemen console each other ahead of a funeral service for 14 sailors who died in a submarine fire in the Barents Sea. 

3:03 PM 7/12/2019Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening ProposalMichael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ | on RSS Dog 

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠
Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

Here’s how the Kremlin handled devastating flooding, the second-deadliest submarine disaster since the Kursk, and an expletive-laden tirade targeting President Vladimir Putin. Also, does an over-the-top marriage-proposal video mirror Moscow’s foreign policy tactics?

Here are some of the key developments in Russia over the past week and some of the takeaways going forward.
Legacy Of The Kursk
Vladimir Putin is said to have learned lessons from the PR disaster that came hand-in-hand with the horrific human tragedy of the sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk three months into his first presidential term in 2000.
When he made the trip north to the Arctic 10 days after the accident, having stayed in subtropical Sochi at first, Putin was berated or blasted by some of the relatives of the 118 crewmen who were killed — with one widow saying that he was “not a president” but a “stooge.”
So you might think one of the lessons learned would have been to go to the site or to the spots where relatives live: Go early and, if necessary, often. Another lesson, given the criticism of the Kremlin for the delayed announcement and the air of secrecy surrounding the demise of the Kursk and its crew, might be to loosen the lips and speak frankly and openly about an accident at sea.
But the conduct of Putin and other officials after the fire that Russian authorities say killed 14 sailors aboard a submersible on the Barents Sea floor on July 1 suggests that the lessons he learned were close to the opposite: Don’t go north, don’t meet the relatives — at least publicly — and keep Russians and the West guessing by managing the morsels of information you release.

The “very fact” of the fire, as Russians say, was not revealed until a day after it occurred, and while media outlets have identified the vessel that appears to have been involved, officially neither its make nor its mission has been confirmed.
While the sinking of the Kursk reverberated far beyond the Russian military, whose status and circumstances have in many ways mirrored those of the nation as a whole since the Soviet collapse, the Kremlin seems determined to make the submarine fire a purely military matter.

Conveniently, the classified nature of the vessel and its mission — while allowing for speculation ranging from the most harmless of activities to some that might seem more likely, given the number of relatively senior officers killed — has also enabled the officials to cite the need for secrecy when they refuse to disclose information.

Russia Mourns Sub Losses Amid Many Questions
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Putin’s laconic spokesman did so in particularly laconic fashion on July 3, repeatedly making clear to reporters that, just because the Kremlin had a piece of information, that didn’t mean they would get to hear it.
“The commander-in-chief has all the information at his disposal, but, naturally, that information cannot be released openly to the public,” said the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, turning a daily talk with journalists into a trolling session. “We’re talking about top-secret information, so in this case, it is entirely normal that it’s not being released.”
‘Catastrophe On A Planetary Scale’
Asked whether there was a nuclear reactor aboard the vessel — something Putin chose to confirm a day later, on national television, adding that it was not damaged — Peskov said that was not a question for the Kremlin because “we don’t build ships.” He then referred a reporter to the Defense Ministry, one of five times he did so during the brief briefing.
Compared to the Kursk, the lower death toll in the submarine fire may have helped keep the issue from exploding in Putin’s face. From the start he suggested it was perhaps the price to pay for security, stressing that sub was “not an ordinary vessel” and that the seamen on board were “highly qualified professionals.”

Amid the dearth of information about the incident, one assertion stood out: At a funeral service for victims, held in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg but not attended by the president, a high-ranking military officer reportedly said that the crew had “averted a planetary-scale catastrophe.”
That was presumably a reference to the nuclear reactor, whose allegedly undamaged status was one of the few details doled out by Moscow. But Peskov professed ignorance of the remark and it was widely taken with a grain of salt rather than a dose of iodine. “You can’t have it both ways: you can’t insist on secrecy and then say you’ve saved the world,” one journalist tweeted.
Devastating Floods
While the submarine fire took place out of sight, at sea and under sea, the effects of the floods that have hit Siberia — killing at least 25 people and displacing many others by destroying more than 10,000 homes – have been on stark view above the drastically high water line.

Some officials have broadly blamed global warning for the disaster. But some victims say the authorities in the Irkutsk Oblast gave them no warning, leaving them helpless to prepare and aggravating the effects.
In a column in the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, analyst Yulia Latynina wrote that blame should be laid less on nature than on three man-made factors: logging, for the purpose of “selling timber to China,” a dam that was built in 2008 in the hard-hit city of Tulun, and the construction of fragile homes on a floodplain by people struggling to get by.
“Poverty is always the worst ecological catastrophe,” Latynina wrote.

In other environment-related news, Putin raised eyebrows — and seemed to lend support to the extraction of fossil fuels crucial to Russia’s economy — by wondering “how many birds are dying” as a result of wind turbines and voicing concern that “they shake, causing worms to come out of the soil.”
Like a number of things that Putin has said before, though, he has said it — in 2013, according to a journalist who checked the Kremlin website.
TV Tirade
Putin was on the receiving end of far more controversial remarks when a Georgian TV host unleashed an expletive-laden tirade in which he called the Russian president, among other things, a “stinking occupier” — an apparent reference to the Russian forces that remain in two breakaway Georgian regions 11 years after a war in 2008, and a “walrus c***” — an apparent reference to, um, not sure.
One effect the rant may have had was to underscore that much of the anger that has flared in Georgia since a Russian lawmaker sat in the Georgian parliament speaker’s chair during a conference in Tbilisi on June 20 has been focused more on Putin and the Russian state than on the Russian people.

Georgian TV Broadcaster Drops F-Bomb On Vladimir Putin
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On the Russian side, the tirade enabled Putin to do one of the things he does sometimes: Use parliament, pro-Kremlin pundits, and state media to set things up for a tough move — and then take a softer tack, in what appears to be an effort to come across as a wise, restrained leader who is too responsible and reasonable to give in to emotions, as understandable as they may be.
In this case, the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament house, unanimously backed a resolution urging the government to draft sanctions against Georgia, potentially including a ban on Georgian wine imports.

But Putin, whose decree banning direct passenger flights between Russia and Georgia had taken effect a day earlier, said he would stay away from sanctions “out of respect for the Georgian people.”
Of course, it makes sense that Putin silenced the call for sanctions at this stage, because their imposition in response to the ad hominem insults might have looked pretty petty and thin-skinned. Instead, he dismissed his critic as a “scumbag” and pointedly took the high road, at least for now.
‘Creepy, Controlling’
Another approach Putin sometimes takes in diplomatic signaling is to mix warnings or threats, direct or insinuated, with assertions that he wants warmer ties.

In his annual state-of-the-nation speech in February, for example, Putin rattled off the names of several missiles, urging U.S. policymakers to calculate “the speed and the range of the weapons systems we are developing” — and then stating that “Russia wants to have sound, equal, and friendly relations with the United States.”
This combination of scare tactics and calls for closer ties seemed strangely mirrored, in a way, in a startling video of a marriage proposal that one Twitter user who posted it described as “just [expletive deleted] nuts.”

In it, a couple is pulled over on a roadside and forced at gunpoint to sprawl on the hood of their car by camouflage-clad men in black balaclavas. After a harrowing minute of what would presumably be abject fear on the part of the woman if she was not in on the performance, the man gets on one knee, proffers a ring, and proposes. A gunman produces a bouquet and the couple embraces, so the answer was clearly ‘yes.’
Tweets and retweets of the video elicited numerous comments, of course. Among them was a tweet that read, in part: “Creepy, controlling, using threats of violence under the guise of ‘romance.’”

 

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠
Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal
2:42 PM 7/12/2019 – Sen. John Kennedy on Mueller testimony, possible delay: ‘The issue is as dead as fried chicken’ | Trump and Trumpism – Review Of News And Opinions
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Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠
Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal

Michael_Novakhov shared this story from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

Here’s how the Kremlin handled devastating flooding, the second-deadliest submarine disaster since the Kursk, and an expletive-laden tirade targeting President Vladimir Putin. Also, does an over-the-top marriage-proposal video mirror Moscow’s foreign policy tactics?


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mikenov on Twitter: 3:03 PM 7/12/2019 – Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal – Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ trumpandtrumpism.com/2019/07/12/303…

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3:03 PM 7/12/2019 – Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal – Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠ trumpandtrumpism.com/2019/07/12/303…


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mikenov on Twitter: Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal (Radio Free Europe…) michael_novakhov.newsblur.com/story/fire-flo… pic.twitter.com/MtsnyQRTPR

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Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal (Radio Free Europe…) michael_novakhov.newsblur.com/story/fire-flo… pic.twitter.com/MtsnyQRTPR



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Fire, Floods, Foul Language, And A Frightening Proposal

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Michael_Novakhov
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from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

Here’s how the Kremlin handled devastating flooding, the second-deadliest submarine disaster since the Kursk, and an expletive-laden tirade targeting President Vladimir Putin. Also, does an over-the-top marriage-proposal video mirror Moscow’s foreign policy tactics?

Here are some of the key developments in Russia over the past week and some of the takeaways going forward.
Legacy Of The Kursk
Vladimir Putin is said to have learned lessons from the PR disaster that came hand-in-hand with the horrific human tragedy of the sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk three months into his first presidential term in 2000.
When he made the trip north to the Arctic 10 days after the accident, having stayed in subtropical Sochi at first, Putin was berated or blasted by some of the relatives of the 118 crewmen who were killed — with one widow saying that he was “not a president” but a “stooge.”
So you might think one of the lessons learned would have been to go to the site or to the spots where relatives live: Go early and, if necessary, often. Another lesson, given the criticism of the Kremlin for the delayed announcement and the air of secrecy surrounding the demise of the Kursk and its crew, might be to loosen the lips and speak frankly and openly about an accident at sea.
But the conduct of Putin and other officials after the fire that Russian authorities say killed 14 sailors aboard a submersible on the Barents Sea floor on July 1 suggests that the lessons he learned were close to the opposite: Don’t go north, don’t meet the relatives — at least publicly — and keep Russians and the West guessing by managing the morsels of information you release.

The “very fact” of the fire, as Russians say, was not revealed until a day after it occurred, and while media outlets have identified the vessel that appears to have been involved, officially neither its make nor its mission has been confirmed.
While the sinking of the Kursk reverberated far beyond the Russian military, whose status and circumstances have in many ways mirrored those of the nation as a whole since the Soviet collapse, the Kremlin seems determined to make the submarine fire a purely military matter.

Conveniently, the classified nature of the vessel and its mission — while allowing for speculation ranging from the most harmless of activities to some that might seem more likely, given the number of relatively senior officers killed — has also enabled the officials to cite the need for secrecy when they refuse to disclose information.

Russia Mourns Sub Losses Amid Many Questions





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Putin’s laconic spokesman did so in particularly laconic fashion on July 3, repeatedly making clear to reporters that, just because the Kremlin had a piece of information, that didn’t mean they would get to hear it.
“The commander-in-chief has all the information at his disposal, but, naturally, that information cannot be released openly to the public,” said the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, turning a daily talk with journalists into a trolling session. “We’re talking about top-secret information, so in this case, it is entirely normal that it’s not being released.”
‘Catastrophe On A Planetary Scale’
Asked whether there was a nuclear reactor aboard the vessel — something Putin chose to confirm a day later, on national television, adding that it was not damaged — Peskov said that was not a question for the Kremlin because “we don’t build ships.” He then referred a reporter to the Defense Ministry, one of five times he did so during the brief briefing.
Compared to the Kursk, the lower death toll in the submarine fire may have helped keep the issue from exploding in Putin’s face. From the start he suggested it was perhaps the price to pay for security, stressing that sub was “not an ordinary vessel” and that the seamen on board were “highly qualified professionals.”

Amid the dearth of information about the incident, one assertion stood out: At a funeral service for victims, held in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg but not attended by the president, a high-ranking military officer reportedly said that the crew had “averted a planetary-scale catastrophe.”
That was presumably a reference to the nuclear reactor, whose allegedly undamaged status was one of the few details doled out by Moscow. But Peskov professed ignorance of the remark and it was widely taken with a grain of salt rather than a dose of iodine. “You can’t have it both ways: you can’t insist on secrecy and then say you’ve saved the world,” one journalist tweeted.
Devastating Floods
While the submarine fire took place out of sight, at sea and under sea, the effects of the floods that have hit Siberia — killing at least 25 people and displacing many others by destroying more than 10,000 homes – have been on stark view above the drastically high water line.

Some officials have broadly blamed global warning for the disaster. But some victims say the authorities in the Irkutsk Oblast gave them no warning, leaving them helpless to prepare and aggravating the effects.
In a column in the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, analyst Yulia Latynina wrote that blame should be laid less on nature than on three man-made factors: logging, for the purpose of “selling timber to China,” a dam that was built in 2008 in the hard-hit city of Tulun, and the construction of fragile homes on a floodplain by people struggling to get by.
“Poverty is always the worst ecological catastrophe,” Latynina wrote.

In other environment-related news, Putin raised eyebrows — and seemed to lend support to the extraction of fossil fuels crucial to Russia’s economy — by wondering “how many birds are dying” as a result of wind turbines and voicing concern that “they shake, causing worms to come out of the soil.”
Like a number of things that Putin has said before, though, he has said it — in 2013, according to a journalist who checked the Kremlin website.
TV Tirade
Putin was on the receiving end of far more controversial remarks when a Georgian TV host unleashed an expletive-laden tirade in which he called the Russian president, among other things, a “stinking occupier” — an apparent reference to the Russian forces that remain in two breakaway Georgian regions 11 years after a war in 2008, and a “walrus c***” — an apparent reference to, um, not sure.
One effect the rant may have had was to underscore that much of the anger that has flared in Georgia since a Russian lawmaker sat in the Georgian parliament speaker’s chair during a conference in Tbilisi on June 20 has been focused more on Putin and the Russian state than on the Russian people.

Georgian TV Broadcaster Drops F-Bomb On Vladimir Putin





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On the Russian side, the tirade enabled Putin to do one of the things he does sometimes: Use parliament, pro-Kremlin pundits, and state media to set things up for a tough move — and then take a softer tack, in what appears to be an effort to come across as a wise, restrained leader who is too responsible and reasonable to give in to emotions, as understandable as they may be.
In this case, the State Duma, Russia’s lower parliament house, unanimously backed a resolution urging the government to draft sanctions against Georgia, potentially including a ban on Georgian wine imports.

But Putin, whose decree banning direct passenger flights between Russia and Georgia had taken effect a day earlier, said he would stay away from sanctions “out of respect for the Georgian people.”
Of course, it makes sense that Putin silenced the call for sanctions at this stage, because their imposition in response to the ad hominem insults might have looked pretty petty and thin-skinned. Instead, he dismissed his critic as a “scumbag” and pointedly took the high road, at least for now.
‘Creepy, Controlling’
Another approach Putin sometimes takes in diplomatic signaling is to mix warnings or threats, direct or insinuated, with assertions that he wants warmer ties.

In his annual state-of-the-nation speech in February, for example, Putin rattled off the names of several missiles, urging U.S. policymakers to calculate “the speed and the range of the weapons systems we are developing” — and then stating that “Russia wants to have sound, equal, and friendly relations with the United States.”
This combination of scare tactics and calls for closer ties seemed strangely mirrored, in a way, in a startling video of a marriage proposal that one Twitter user who posted it described as “just [expletive deleted] nuts.”

In it, a couple is pulled over on a roadside and forced at gunpoint to sprawl on the hood of their car by camouflage-clad men in black balaclavas. After a harrowing minute of what would presumably be abject fear on the part of the woman if she was not in on the performance, the man gets on one knee, proffers a ring, and proposes. A gunman produces a bouquet and the couple embraces, so the answer was clearly ‘yes.’
Tweets and retweets of the video elicited numerous comments, of course. Among them was a tweet that read, in part: “Creepy, controlling, using threats of violence under the guise of ‘romance.'”


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