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Tags Italy politics , Lega Party , Matteo Salvini , Russia conspiracies , Russia-Italy relations

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Old 10th July 2019, 11:45 AM   #1
Vixen
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"Russia conspired with the European Trump'

Buzzfeed has claimed it has tapes secretly recording Russians conspiring with Matteo Salvini's far-right Lega Party in which the Russians are heard to offer large donations into the Italian Party to supposedly, rid Europe of 'liberal democracy'.

Quote:
The six men — three Russians, three Italians — gathered beneath the spectacular painted glass ceiling in the hotel lobby last October had their eyes on history too. Their nominal purpose was an oil deal; their real goal was to undermine liberal democracies and shape a new, nationalist Europe aligned with Moscow.

BuzzFeed News has obtained an explosive audio recording of the Metropol meeting in which a close aide of Europe’s most powerful far-right leader — Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini — and the other five men can be heard negotiating the terms of a deal to covertly channel tens of millions of dollars of Russian oil money to Salvini’s Lega party.

The recording reveals the elaborate lengths the two sides were willing to go to conceal the fact that the true beneficiary of the deal would be Salvini’s party — a breach of Italian electoral law, which bans political parties from accepting large foreign donations — despite the comfort with which he and Europe’s other far-right leaders publicly parade their pro-Kremlin political sympathies.
In common with most western countries, it is illegal for a political party to receive large donations - or even any donations - from foreign sources in Italy.

Quote:
Salvini — described enthusiastically by the Russians on the tape as the “European Trump” — did not attend the meeting himself, but he was in Moscow at the time. The previous day he gave a speech in which he denounced sanctions against Russia as “economic, social, and cultural folly” before reportedly meeting with the Russian deputy prime minister, Dmitry Kozak, and a powerful member of Putin’s United Russia party named Vladimir Pligin.
With Salvini described as 'The European Trump' one wonders whether Aaron Banks - for the Brexit movement - or Donald Trump is similarly linked.

Certainly there have been strong suspicions of Russian interference in other countries' affairs in recent years. One wonders just how 'deep state' it is. It recalls Donald Trump Junior's and Jared Kushner's alleged Russian meetings and the subsequent Mueller inquiry. The sniff of Russian interference has hung in the air over Brexit ever since Cambridge Analytica procured billions of Facebook accounts to push political propaganda and Us President Trump's refusal to say anything negative about Putin. UK PM Theresa May, conversely, quite openly criticises Putin.

And now we have a supposed 'leak' - in a different news story - of the UK Ambassador in Washington faintly criticising the Trump regime in his confidential diplomatic notes to the UK's Foreign Office giving Trump, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage the perfect pretext to (a) force the Ambassador's, Sir Kim Darroch, resignation and presumably Boris gets to pick his replacement (of a Trump-approved official) as the new UK PM in two weeks' time.

Question: is this a Putin-Trump-Johnson/Bannon/Farage conspiracy to forge a far right anti-liberal establishment in Europe and the USA to undermine western democracy as we know it?


Disclaimer:
Quote:
The Lega leader has vehemently denied ever receiving any foreign money to fund his party.
ibid
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Old 10th July 2019, 11:47 AM   #2
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Sounds like the Austrian Case - but for realsies.
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Old 10th July 2019, 02:58 PM   #3
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Not to mention evidence that the Brixit campaign seems to have gotten quite a bit of under the table support from Vlad the Impaler.
Putin is out to destroy Democracy to pave a way for Russian Hegemony. End of story.
I would not be surprised, to find out that some on the extreme left are getting some help from Putin also. The goal is to destroy democracy, the means are secondary.
This will not end peacefully. It might come to something like Civil War in the US.
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Old 10th July 2019, 03:34 PM   #4
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Good piece in the GUARDIAN by Simon Jenkins about the Darroch affair:

Quote:
Darroch was brought down by three people. The first was the leaker of successive critical memos from the Washington embassy, who gave them to one of Britain’s most effective pro-Brexit journalists. The second was President Trump, who followed up on the leaks with a fusillade of personal insults and punitive actions of his own which brought Darroch to the brink. And the third was Boris Johnson, who knowingly refused to express confidence in Darroch during Tuesday’s ITV leadership hustings with Jeremy Hunt. It was Johnson’s action that led directly to Darroch’s inevitable resignation today.

Each of these requires us to pause and digest the implications. First, consider the leaker. This must have been either a senior insider – a politician or diplomat – with access to highly classified material. Alternatively, it may have been an outside job, a hack or intercept, possibly by the agent of a state bent on mischief. Either way, these options are devastating for the practicality of diplomatic cables in the modern era.
It goes on to refer to how Brexit has subverted 'the workings of the British state'. But here's the interesting bit:

Quote:
Second, consider Trump. He didn’t have to turbo-charge the leak. He will have had some around him who tried to stop him. But he did it once, and then he did it again. These were knowing acts, deliberate interventions, designed to weaken a country that thinks of itself, and is still often seen in Washington, as America’s special ally. They were a wilful assertion of power over Britain; an attempt to fire and hire Britain’s envoy. It was a crude act ...
Then there is the strange role of Boris johnson, who unlike PM Theresa May or Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who abjectly failed to 'stick up' for the right of Sir Kim to write confidential memo's, for UK diplomat's eyes only, in the interests of national security and UK's right to sovereignty over its own affairs, even if it is unflattering to Trump having been mentioned therein.

The cutting article concludes thus:

Quote:
Too much is changing on too many fronts. Trumpism may not be temporary. He may well be re-elected next year (as Darroch himself pointed out in a memo). The underpinnings of Trumpism, in the shape of populist nationalism and contempt for other countries, alliances and accords, go much deeper, both in the US and in Brexit Britain. If Johnson, or any other Brexiter leader, gets his way, Britain may once again embrace the US. But the America they embrace will not be the outward-looking republic of presidents from Eisenhower to Obama but an inward-looking exceptionalist country that seeks to disrupt everything about the international order. In such a world, Britain risks becoming the vassal of a capricious unilateralist state.
Britain risks becoming a vassal of a Trumpian USA, is its message.

Not mention Russia? And today we hear of Italy being offered inducements (Buzzfeed) by sinister anonymous 'Russian backers'.
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Old 10th July 2019, 03:58 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Good piece in the GUARDIAN by Simon Jenkins about the Darroch affair:



It goes on to refer to how Brexit has subverted 'the workings of the British state'. But here's the interesting bit:



Then there is the strange role of Boris johnson, who unlike PM Theresa May or Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who abjectly failed to 'stick up' for the right of Sir Kim to write confidential memo's, for UK diplomat's eyes only, in the interests of national security and UK's right to sovereignty over its own affairs, even if it is unflattering to Trump having been mentioned therein.

The cutting article concludes thus:



Britain risks becoming a vassal of a Trumpian USA, is its message.

Not mention Russia? And today we hear of Italy being offered inducements (Buzzfeed) by sinister anonymous 'Russian backers'.

A lot of the European left has had a gut, deep hatred for the USA for a long time, and has often wished the US would pretty much withdraw into itself and vanish from any involvlemnt in world affairs. They might get their wish. I wonder if they will like being pretty much a vassal state of Putin.
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Old 10th July 2019, 04:02 PM   #6
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Clearly what the world needs most right now is a united, strong, and warlike America, ready and willing to push Russia back when they make their play for Eastern Europe. /s
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Old 10th July 2019, 04:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Clearly what the world needs most right now is a united, strong, and warlike America, ready and willing to push Russia back when they make their play for Eastern Europe they invade Mar-a-Lago.
Correcting.
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Old 10th July 2019, 04:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
A lot of the European left has had a gut, deep hatred for the USA for a long time, and has often wished the US would pretty much withdraw into itself and vanish from any involvlemnt in world affairs. They might get their wish. I wonder if they will like being pretty much a vassal state of Putin.
Putin is actually in agreement with Trump. He launched an astonishing attack on 'liberals' t'other day. Could barely tolerate gays, he said.
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Old 10th July 2019, 04:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Clearly what the world needs most right now is a united, strong, and warlike America, ready and willing to push Russia back when they make their play for Eastern Europe. /s
The USA and Russia are both on the same side. Trump and Putin 2gether 4ever.
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Old 10th July 2019, 04:21 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
Correcting.
You really have no idea how military advances work, nor how long it takes to develop them, do you?

Not to mention how little idea you have of the current capability of the Russian military, and what it would take to expand that capability.

The president who has to defend American soil from a Russian invasion is at least a century removed from our present condition. Trump will be long gone before that ever happens.

It is Eastern Europe that swings in the balance today. Just as it swung in the balance in 1945. What horrors are you prepared to revisit on Eastern Europe, in order to realize your goal of weakening America?
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Old 10th July 2019, 06:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Clearly what the world needs most right now is a united, strong, and warlike America, ready and willing to push Russia back when they make their play for Eastern Europe. /s

A couple of years ago you would not have been sarcastic when saying this. But now that Trump is buddies with Putin, you can see no wrong with VLad the Impaler.
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Old 10th July 2019, 06:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
Correcting.
If you don't think that hegemony over Europe is not the end game for Putin, you are living in fantasy land.
And if you think he going to be stopped by anything less then a revived NATO with military strenthg, you are really living in fantasy land.
Sadly a great many "Progressives" are doing just that. A lot like the militants on the right in that respect.
But because it's unpleasant and dangerous to face, let's just put our head in the sand and hope it goes away.That always works real well.
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Old 10th July 2019, 06:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
None of which we will get with Trump in the White House.
Tell me which candidate will give us that, and I'll consider voting for them.

Who's your favorite? Warren? Biden? Harris?

What's their platform for dealing with Putinist Russia? What's your assessment of their platform?
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Old 10th July 2019, 09:33 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Tell me which candidate will give us that, and I'll consider voting for them.

Who's your favorite? Warren? Biden? Harris?

What's their platform for dealing with Putinist Russia? What's your assessment of their platform?
The platform for all Dems for dealing with Russia is to harden US electoral infrastructure and social media against hacking and social engineering.
Trump refuses to do anything about this, again and again, in the face of more and more facts about how much Russia managed to access US system now and in 2016.
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Old 10th July 2019, 11:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
I would not be surprised, to find out that some on the extreme left are getting some help from Putin also. The goal is to destroy democracy, the means are secondary.
Of course they do and so do conspiracy theorists. Putins Russia is out to damage and destroy the west because it presents an existential threat to fascism.

Quote:
This will not end peacefully. It might come to something like Civil War in the US.
I wouldn't go quite so far. All these movements have a few things in common:

a) They do not get along with other similar movements and are unable to cough up a coherent front. It's not strange because they're a moltely lot of hardline nationalists, fascists, clerofascist, socialists, communists and other groupings of low IQ individuals who have nothing in common.

b) As the recent European elections show, their support is ~25% of the populace, perhaps less.

c) Once they do achieve something and gain power they soon fail and are abandonent - Syriza was the most recent victim.

Institutions and deep state help a lot to stem such violent lurches to the left and right. Since the 2018 election, the support for M5S collapsed, though Lega became more popular than ever. Still, they're polling at about 38% and have perhaps 45% with Berlusconi, their natural ally. It's doubtful they'd be able to obtain much more, not with the looming recession at any rate.

Right now Hungary and Poland are the problematic two. Both have authoritarian regimes already in power, actively subverting their democracies with little in the way of checks and balances. Italians are too divided to fall to populist vermin all that soon. Salvini may talk big but even if he forms the next Italian government he's unlikely to achieve a fraction of those two governments.

On the other hand, Poland is looking likely to support the PiS again. The upside of that is if Polish party is seen as cooperating with Putin they'll all head for the block. Hungary 'reelected' Orban last year and there is no serious contender yet. Those two are worrysome, Italians will probably keep Salvini in check for the time being. I hope so anyway.

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Old 11th July 2019, 04:11 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by McHrozni View Post
Of course they do and so do conspiracy theorists. Putins Russia is out to damage and destroy the west because it presents an existential threat to fascism.



I wouldn't go quite so far. All these movements have a few things in common:

a) They do not get along with other similar movements and are unable to cough up a coherent front. It's not strange because they're a moltely lot of hardline nationalists, fascists, clerofascist, socialists, communists and other groupings of low IQ individuals who have nothing in common.

b) As the recent European elections show, their support is ~25% of the populace, perhaps less.

c) Once they do achieve something and gain power they soon fail and are abandonent - Syriza was the most recent victim.

Institutions and deep state help a lot to stem such violent lurches to the left and right. Since the 2018 election, the support for M5S collapsed, though Lega became more popular than ever. Still, they're polling at about 38% and have perhaps 45% with Berlusconi, their natural ally. It's doubtful they'd be able to obtain much more, not with the looming recession at any rate.

Right now Hungary and Poland are the problematic two. Both have authoritarian regimes already in power, actively subverting their democracies with little in the way of checks and balances. Italians are too divided to fall to populist vermin all that soon. Salvini may talk big but even if he forms the next Italian government he's unlikely to achieve a fraction of those two governments.

On the other hand, Poland is looking likely to support the PiS again. The upside of that is if Polish party is seen as cooperating with Putin they'll all head for the block. Hungary 'reelected' Orban last year and there is no serious contender yet. Those two are worrysome, Italians will probably keep Salvini in check for the time being. I hope so anyway.

McHrozni
Add to that it was Hungary, Poland and Italy (iirc) who opposed the nomination of Timmermans, which would have taken the European Parliament to the left of Merkel's centre right dominance. He was the favourite and the obvious choice but somehow this was subverted behind closed doors and close on 30 hours of arguing and suddenly, some non-runner is put forward (von der Leyen) who wasn't even in the starting line-up. If that happened in horse racing there would be a steward's inquiry.
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Old 11th July 2019, 06:33 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
Britain risks becoming a vassal of a Trumpian USA, is its message.

Not mention Russia? And today we hear of Italy being offered inducements (Buzzfeed) by sinister anonymous 'Russian backers'.
One of the alleged key drivers of Brexit was allegedly the UK taking back sovereignty that it had lost to the EU. It would be typical if the upshot in a post-Brexit world was an actual loss of sovereignty to another country (in this case the US).
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:02 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
One of the alleged key drivers of Brexit was allegedly the UK taking back sovereignty that it had lost to the EU. It would be typical if the upshot in a post-Brexit world was an actual loss of sovereignty to another country (in this case the US).
How would "actual loss of sovereignty" to the US work, exactly?

As I understand it, the EU is a fairly elaborate formal arrangement. Whatever sovereignty the UK lost in that arrangement, it was lost through official signatures on official documents, ratification by legislatures, formal subordination to regulatory frameworks, etc.

Are you proposing that the UK will enter a similarly formal arrangement with the US, after Brexit?
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:11 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
How would "actual loss of sovereignty" to the US work, exactly?

As I understand it, the EU is a fairly elaborate formal arrangement. Whatever sovereignty the UK lost in that arrangement, it was lost through official signatures on official documents, ratification by legislatures, formal subordination to regulatory frameworks, etc.

Are you proposing that the UK will enter a similarly formal arrangement with the US, after Brexit?
No, it's going to be more like what we've just seen with the UK ambassador to the US. As the (very much) senior partner in the relationship, the US gets to say whether the ambassador stays and the UK is so weak that we comply.

I suspect that the trade negotiations will go much the same way. The US will naturally put America first in setting terms and the UK will have the options "take it or leave it". We will take it and it's likely that the trade deal will have implications for UK law.

Contrast that with the EU where the UK has considerable influence in setting the rules, various opt-outs should we choose not to adhere to a particular rule and where membership of the EU allowed the UK more leverage compared to negotiating alone.
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:46 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
How would "actual loss of sovereignty" to the US work, exactly?

As I understand it, the EU is a fairly elaborate formal arrangement. Whatever sovereignty the UK lost in that arrangement, it was lost through official signatures on official documents, ratification by legislatures, formal subordination to regulatory frameworks, etc.

Are you proposing that the UK will enter a similarly formal arrangement with the US, after Brexit?
by entering a bilateral agreement with a much larger partner, the UK would lose economic and negotiation power.
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Old 11th July 2019, 07:54 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
No, it's going to be more like what we've just seen with the UK ambassador to the US. As the (very much) senior partner in the relationship, the US gets to say whether the ambassador stays and the UK is so weak that we comply.

I suspect that the trade negotiations will go much the same way. The US will naturally put America first in setting terms and the UK will have the options "take it or leave it". We will take it and it's likely that the trade deal will have implications for UK law.

Contrast that with the EU where the UK has considerable influence in setting the rules, various opt-outs should we choose not to adhere to a particular rule and where membership of the EU allowed the UK more leverage compared to negotiating alone.
Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
by entering a bilateral agreement with a much larger partner, the UK would lose economic and negotiation power.
Ah, gotcha. Your definition of "sovereignty" seems too broad to be of any use to me, but I'll try to keep in mind that this is the kind of thing you're talking about when you use the term.
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Old 11th July 2019, 08:06 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Ah, gotcha. Your definition of "sovereignty" seems too broad to be of any use to me, but I'll try to keep in mind that this is the kind of thing you're talking about when you use the term.
It's the same Brexit proponents use.
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Old 11th July 2019, 08:18 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
It's the same Brexit proponents use.
If you say so.

It seems to me that under the EU arrangement, Brussels can impose rules on the UK from outside the UK's own governing authority.

A sovereign nation negotiates on its own behalf, and decides for itself what deals to enter on what terms. It is a ceding of their sovereignty to agree to let some other governing body, outside of their authority, make these kinds of decisions for them.

The American colonies gave up a substantial amount of their sovereignty, when they chose to unify under a central government. The main motivations for this were the increased negotiating power and military security of such a union.

If Hawaii were to secede today, it would probably have to accept very unfavorable trading terms from places like Japan, China, and Australia. But the way I think of sovereignty, unless it actually formally subordinated its government to another government, it wouldn't be giving up its sovereignty.

I think it obscures useful discussion, to conflate a weak trading position with an actual loss of sovereignty.
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:58 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by The Don View Post
No, it's going to be more like what we've just seen with the UK ambassador to the US. As the (very much) senior partner in the relationship, the US gets to say whether the ambassador stays and the UK is so weak that we comply.

I suspect that the trade negotiations will go much the same way. The US will naturally put America first in setting terms and the UK will have the options "take it or leave it". We will take it and it's likely that the trade deal will have implications for UK law.

Contrast that with the EU where the UK has considerable influence in setting the rules, various opt-outs should we choose not to adhere to a particular rule and where membership of the EU allowed the UK more leverage compared to negotiating alone.

Hell, I am an American and I am worried about the loss of Amereican Soverignity to Russia because of Trump's constant ass kissing of Putin. His occasional tiffs with Putin are just for show, shold not be taken seriously.
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Old 11th July 2019, 11:06 AM   #25
theprestige
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Hell, I am an American and I am worried about the loss of Amereican Soverignity to Russia because of Trump's constant ass kissing of Putin. His occasional tiffs with Putin are just for show, shold not be taken seriously.
Confirmation bias is a hell of a drug.
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Old 12th July 2019, 01:19 AM   #26
Tolls
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If you say so.

It seems to me that under the EU arrangement, Brussels can impose rules on the UK from outside the UK's own governing authority.
Except that's not how it works.
It's our own governing authority that negotiates those rules with the rest.

These are not imposed by an external entity in any way.
That's the twisted version certain "journalists" have been pushing for years...one of whom is quite likely to be our next PM.
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Old 12th July 2019, 02:58 AM   #27
NWO Sentryman
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
It's the same Brexit proponents use.
Greece: we don't like austerity policies that are harming our nati-

Germany: **** you! Austerity harder or else!
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Old 12th July 2019, 03:21 AM   #28
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by NWO Sentryman View Post
Greece: we don't like austerity policies that are harming our nati-

Germany: **** you! Austerity harder or else!
Your point being?
Because this has nothing to do with the EU-UK relationship.
The UK isn't part of the Eurozone and didn't seek loans and guarantees it could never get on the open market.
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Last edited by The Great Zaganza; 12th July 2019 at 03:23 AM.
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Old 12th July 2019, 08:21 AM   #29
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Scratch a nationalist and you find a quisling.
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Freedom you all want, you want freedom. Why then do you haggle over a more or less? Freedom can only be the whole of freedom; a piece of freedom is not freedom. You despair of the possibility of obtaining the whole of freedom, freedom from everything - yes, you consider it insanity even to wish this? - Well, then leave off chasing after the phantom, and spend your pains on something better than the - unattainable. - Max Stirner
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Old 12th July 2019, 08:25 AM   #30
Arcade22
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Originally Posted by NWO Sentryman View Post
Greece: we don't like austerity policies that are harming our nati-

Germany: **** you! Austerity harder or else!
They don't like it but they elected government after government that implemented it. I guess that's the EU's fault too.
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Freedom you all want, you want freedom. Why then do you haggle over a more or less? Freedom can only be the whole of freedom; a piece of freedom is not freedom. You despair of the possibility of obtaining the whole of freedom, freedom from everything - yes, you consider it insanity even to wish this? - Well, then leave off chasing after the phantom, and spend your pains on something better than the - unattainable. - Max Stirner
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Old 12th July 2019, 08:30 AM   #31
The Great Zaganza
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Originally Posted by Arcade22 View Post
Scratch a nationalist and you find a quisling.
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