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Montevideo, September 19th 2018 - 22:41 UTC

US Congress furious after Trump sides with Putin, saying “no Russian meddling in US elections”

Tuesday, July 17th 2018 - 09:49 UTC
Full article 18 comments

There has been a barrage of criticism in the United States after President Donald Trump defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 elections. At a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland, on Monday, Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies, saying Russia had no reason to meddle. Read full article

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  • DemonTree

    ☑ Weaken US and isolate them from allies
    ☑ Divide EU
    ☑ Move into power vacuum in Middle East
    ☐ Invade neighbours - in progress
    ☐ Renewed superpower status

    Make Russia Great Again!

    Jul 17th, 2018 - 10:15 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Voice

    I think Putin has a keyword that he says every time they meet from a previous hypnosis...
    You will now believe everything I say...
    The EU is your foe...
    Russia is your friend...
    NATO is a waste of money...
    I am much bigger than I look...

    Jul 17th, 2018 - 01:32 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    What I want to know is how Trump has hypnotised the American people. Two short years ago they were complaining that Obama was alienating America's democratic allies and being too friendly to dictators, and now they are cheering on Trump as he attacks allies and sucks up to Putin.

    Maybe this has something to do with it:

    https://nowthisnews.com/videos/politics/fox-news-different-reactions-regarding-negotiations-with-north-korea

    PS. I didn't know Putin was only 5'7''. Guess that explains why he's over compensating...

    Jul 17th, 2018 - 09:42 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • chronic

    DT, what you don't know is almost infinite.

    Jul 18th, 2018 - 03:09 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Skip

    So it is finite....?!?

    Hmmmm..... Trump makes so much more sense now!

    Jul 18th, 2018 - 09:19 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Of course not. Chronic is far too modest.

    For a start there are infinite prime numbers, and I don't know them all. So that's already an infinite number of things I don't know, and we're just beginning. The number of primes is a piddling little countable infinity; there are uncountably many transcendental numbers, and I don't know all of those, either. So now there are uncountably many things I don't know and can never know. And if we want an even bigger set, we can just take the power set of the transcendental numbers, and so on. There are always bigger infinities.

    So it's really true: the more you know, the more you know you don't know.

    Jul 18th, 2018 - 01:16 pm - Link - Report abuse +1
  • Jack Bauer

    “So it's really true: the more you know, the more you know you don't know.”

    Sure is...

    Jul 19th, 2018 - 07:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    Yes, and that's why people who think they know it all are usually the most ignorant. ;)

    Jul 19th, 2018 - 10:59 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    @DT
    Taking advantage of the 'space' : Continuation of “Bzl’s currency/stock mkt…”

    “…near ‘centre’ is probably result of lack of ideological conviction”…agree. The only true conviction is to get “what they can” out of it.
    The many different election promises (varying fm absurd to plausible) change nothing - they’re all empty.
    Re Dilma, “they didn't like the way she was handling the recession”…“how” she handled it ? she created it, then made it worse. If they’d tried same trick on Lula”, IMO would’ve made no difference )…it’s notorious Dilma is Lula’s puppet, so what she did, reflected on Lula. And IF it had been Lula, 2 ½ years later (2018 elections), few would even remember who voted for what.
    For at least 20 yrs, the pension system's produced deficits :1995, payouts R$ 141 billion, deficit R$ 1 bill - an inevitable trend unless fixed ; 2017, payouts R$ 562 bill, deficit R$ 297 bill; despite small alterations here ‘n there, the causes were never attacked. Only Temer had the balls to try…and failed, and the hole just gets bigger.
    After Congress disfigured the original project, mainly regarding “age and nbr of monthly contributions needed” to receive full or proportional benefit, the changes weren’t all that different to what existed before, but the initial favorable mood in which it could have passed, was buried due to the corruption charges against Temer.
    Why would it have made people worse of ? just because they’d have to work 2 or 3 years longer ? 'n still receiving a salary, higher than their future pensions ? And, it would have ‘guaranteed’ their pension when they qualified…but now ?? In 2017, public pensions (1 million servants), cost R$ 123,4 billion…private pensions (29.8 million pensioners) cost R$ 557.2 billion, so proportionately, 1 million private pensioners cost R$ 18.7 billion, or 6,59 times LESS…it’s obvious where cuts need to be made, but, the general public (95% of the population) can't go on strike, the public servants (5%) can.

    Jul 20th, 2018 - 04:51 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    @JB
    You can't say Dilma created the recession, it was inevitable in a capitalist economy; boom is always followed by bust. Perhaps her policies made it worse; the dependence on commodity exports may have made Brazil more vulnerable, and I daresay the corruption didn't help, but that's not unique to any one party. But I don't remember her or Lula doing anything drastic economically speaking.

    “If they’d tried same trick on Lula”, IMO would’ve made no difference”

    I'm guessing that during the 8 years he was President, Lula did something that at least technically broke the law. So presumably Congress could have impeached he if they wanted, the same way they did Dilma. Maybe they were happy with how he was running the country, or perhaps the PT and allies had enough people in Congress back then that the vote wouldn't have passed?

    “Why would it have made people worse of ? just because they’d have to work 2 or 3 years longer ?”

    Yes, and some jobs are hard and unpleasant enough that people are counting down the days to retirement, but more to the point, it means you are paying in more and getting less back. Retirement isn't a benefit the government just gives you, it's something you earn by paying in. If you joined a private savings scheme where you paid in $500 per month and they promised to give you $8000 at the end of the year, would you be happy if halfway through they changed the contract to demand another two month's payment and only give you $7000 back?

    As for the public sector workers, the benefits certainly seem unbalanced compared to private ones, but it's part of their job contract. If you worked for 10 years and were promised a certain pension for that, it's obviously unfair not to give it, just as if you worked for a company for a month and they refused to pay your salary. So they should change them for the future, but not time accrued so far.

    And how do you mean the general public can't go on strike? The lorry drivers did and they must be private sector.

    Jul 23rd, 2018 - 06:46 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • willowas1

    international communities refusal to impose sanctions on the russians for their disdain of the rule of law and lack of respect for international norms in ukraine and syria and using chemical weapons in the west is a bit like my dad-oladejo awoku-if he coughs we all catch cold

    Jul 25th, 2018 - 11:43 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    “can't say Dilma created the recession…” I can ! The ‘initial’ boom lasted 2, 3 yrs (2004-6), ‘n coincided with the PT’s ‘mensalão’. The economy already started to split at the seams in '12, shortly after the ‘mensalão’ trials ended…corruption in PB & other State-enterprises, by the PT, was going on since 2009. Dilma’s decisions to boost the economy were repeatedly ineffective ‘n disastrous, and w/ the drop in economic activity, w/ falling tax revenues, she kept on spending as everything were fine ; In 2013/14/15, this led to her “pedaladas” (forced 2 Federal banks to give “secret /illegal” loans – w/o Congress’s prior authorization – to cover the huge deficits). Any competent govt would've taken measures to avoid disaster. She did not, and worsened it. “..don't remember her/Lula doing anything drastic economically speaking”…exactly, not much positive ‘n complete indifference to the approaching recession. “ Lula did something that at least technically broke the law..” – Congress was ready to impeach him in 2007 (due to the PT mensalão), but stitched a deal with the PMDB (Temer VP in 2010), and got off the hook. If by “happy with how he was running the country”, you mean “buying” Congress’s goodwill, YES. Once the ‘mensalão’ was ‘apparently’ shut-down (never really was), PT/PMDB corruption just migrated to PB etc. Sorry, but don’t share yr opinion on ‘people being worse off’ because they need to work a bit longer…specially when the alternative is no pension at all, ‘n when many people are retiring at 50, 55, and living longer…with less people contributing to the system, it’s bound to break. No comparison btwn private retirement schemes ‘n Bzl’s govt-run pension system. It’s “part of the public sector’s job contract”…there’s no plausible reason to maintain a system whereby contributions are the same but benefits 6 times larger – with such discrepancies, why should the private sector finance the deficit ? Has to be corrected. Not all strikes can stop the country.

    Jul 25th, 2018 - 05:41 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    If the economy was already in trouble in 2012, how come the recession didn't start until 2014? And what measures did you want to her take? IIRC she cut Lula's education program in 2012, I presume that was an attempt to reduce spending.

    “not much positive ‘n complete indifference to the approaching recession”

    Sadly we can't run the experiment and see what would have happened with someone else in charge, but would it really have been that different? Any other party would also have had to buy congress's good will, no? And that just leads to another question: was Dilma impeached because she stopped paying them? Or because Temer promised to give them more?

    RE the pensions, obviously no pension at all is worse, but the point is they paid their contributions and were promised a certain sum of money, and under the reforms, they will get less than promised. How is getting screwed by the government different to getting screwed by a private scheme? The latter go bust all the time and some people indeed got no pension.

    As for needing to work longer, what happens in Brazil if you don't want to retire at the standard age? In the UK once you reach 65 currently you can keep working and claim your state pension at the same time, and you also no longer have to pay NI contributions. So it should be obvious that I will be worse off than my parents, whether I retire at 65 or later. Unlike them I will not receive my state pension, and instead have to keep paying for other people's for several more years.

    “there’s no plausible reason to maintain a system...”

    I agree it needs to be reformed, I just don't think the reforms should be retrospective. If the government signs a contract with someone, then they should honour it. So change it from today and agree new contracts, that's fine - assuming they can. Is the public sector so united, and do they really have so much power if they go on strike?

    Jul 25th, 2018 - 07:55 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    DT, most people weren’t even minimally aware of the signs, and the full impact was only felt end 2014 when people realized Dilma had lied, and the bad news was a self-fulfilling prophecy. What measures ? reforms (those that Temer tried -which Lula had promised a decade earlier), reduce the highly inflated number of ‘petistas’ in 1st/2nd/3rd level jobs in the federal govt (tens of 1000s), curb corruption, stop waste…and she only cut Lula’s educational programs because she had to - money ran out…wasn’t to reduce spending. Sure you can’t always run the experiment to test the result, BUT government, one, is not a place to experiment with taxpayer money, and two, someone competent at the helm would have had a good idea of the result without needing to ‘test’ foreseeable disaster ; sure it’s easy to talk in hindsight, but the PT was not interested in working FOR Brazil, it was the other way around. “Any party would also have had to buy congress's good will, no?” yes, but not how the PT did it…after all, their objective was not “just” buying Congress’s goodwill. Dilma didn’t stop paying them, the scheme already had a life of its own. Re pensions, they will not get less…they’ll just have to work longer. The private pension schemes are run by big banks, are transparent ‘n efficient…the public system is not…d’you see banks racking up deficits ? besides, the government guarantees the deposits. Maybe in the UK the schemes are a racket, don’t know. Standard age, for men : 65…who by then has not worked 40 years to get ‘full’ pension? And you can keep on working too. The pension reform has taken ‘time worked’ ‘n ‘to retire’ into account, ‘n has created a scale whereby workers are minimally affected…it covers a 30 year period, protecting 99% of public servants - only those initiating the service now are impacted, 'n contribute the same as the private sector. Why d’you think govt workers refused to separate their pension system from the private one ? who'd finance the huge deficit ?

    Jul 25th, 2018 - 10:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    So, has Temer reduced the number of people (petistas or not) employed by the government? I'm going to assume he hasn't curbed corruption, for obvious reasons... how about cutting waste?

    If the money for education ran out, then it kinda was to cut spending - she could have taken it from elsewhere or raised taxes.

    “Dilma didn’t stop paying them, the scheme already had a life of its own.”

    Do you think it's still going now, then? Even with all the investigations?

    When I said run an experiment, I really meant compare to an alternate universe where Aecio Neves won the election, to see how things would have gone. Obviously that's completely impossible, and in reality different governments always have to deal with different circumstances so it's hard to compare them.

    “d’you see banks racking up deficits ?”

    Yes! After the 2007 credit crunch loads of banks were about to go bust due to their dodgy lending practices and bad investments, and the government stepped in to bail them out with taxpayers' money.

    “THE Government has recovered all but 5 per cent, £58billion, of the £1.2 trillion bailout that it provided the banks with during the credit crunch and recession, new National Audit ­Office figures show.”

    As for the pensions, look up Robert Maxwell or Equitable life, or the BHS scheme I mentioned before: http://uk.businessinsider.com/sir-philip-green-bhs-pension-fund-2016-7 . And if that makes you suspicious of employer pension schemes, welcome to the pension mis-selling scandal, where people were wrongly advised to switch to a personal pension.

    “Re pensions, they will not get less”

    They will. If they increase the retirement age by 5 years, then you lose 5 years' worth of pension payments, which in the UK at current values would be a total of £42731. A substantial amount of money.

    Are you still working or retired? If you lost a big chunk of your savings, and had to work for a few more years than you planned to make up for it, would you be worse off or not?

    Jul 26th, 2018 - 12:08 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Temer’s attempt to reduce nbr of fed.servants hasn't been too successful; Politicians here won't curb corruption - that's the Lavajato’s job (as well as other FP investigations). Being “wasteful’ is a natural talent of our politicians / public agencies. There’s a big difference in making conscious decisions to cut spending, while you still have the option, and running out of money/not having a choice. Of course corruption is still flowing…not in PB, but in other Cos. Lavajato/other FP investigations discovered that even some of the (few) imprisoned politicians, were still commanding their corruption schemes from the inside. If Aecio had won, believe that only the gang-leader / its members would change, as it did fm the PT to PMDB when the latter took over. The shit doesn’t change, only the flies do - the concept of a criminal organization within govt seems to have caught on. Think I made it clear when I referred to private v. govt pension plans, was talking of Brazil…that’s why I said 'don’t know about the UK', but obviously, the 2007/08 crisis only hit the banks which thought they were smart by buying the rotten US real-estate credits. Here in Brazil, most of the “State-run company” pension schemes were manipulated 'n fiddled with by their politically appointed directors, ‘n billions have disappeared...PB is one, ‘n its future pensioners will take the fall. That’s why it’s so profitable to be government here. Conditions today, for a ‘full’ pension is age 65, ‘n 420 contributions. Anything under that, on either scale, (w/ a minimum of 180 contribution) is subject to a ‘discount’ factor ; the new reform proposes something quite similar, ‘n only becoming fully effective after a 20 yr transition period, whereby the minimums (men) are age 55, and 180 monthly contributions. Retiring btwn the minimum (55/180, subject to a discount) ‘n maximum (65/420, no discount) is up to the worker. Remember, am talking of Brazil. Yes I’m retired.
    Need space to explain something else.

    Jul 26th, 2018 - 07:00 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DemonTree

    “Temer’s attempt to reduce nbr of fed.servants hasn't been too successful” and “If Aecio had won, believe that only the gang-leader / its members would change”

    That was the kind of thing I meant when I wondered how different Brazil would have been with someone else in charge. Sounds like the answer is: not very. But do you think there would still have been a recession if Aecio had won? I think it would have happened anyway, and the PT would be busy blaming his policies and saying it wouldn't have happened with them in charge.

    Once they found out prisoners are still running corruption schemes, were they able to stop them?

    Re pensions, you said you didn't know if the UK schemes are a racket; I don't think they started off that way, it was more like what you said about the Brazilian ones: “pension schemes were manipulated 'n fiddled with”, only by the company directors trying to make a bigger profit rather than political appointees.

    I used a UK example because I don't know what the amounts would be in Brazil, you said it depends on how much you pay in, as well as the number of contributions. I assume the numbers you listed for those are monthly? So you can retire after 15 years working, and get a lesser pension than if you worked longer? Is there no minimum age currently? And how would the proposed reforms save the government money?

    As for the banks, it wasn't only or especially the ones exposed to US dud securities that failed, it was the loss of confidence and a lack of cash reserves. But it made it very clear they are not particularly transparent or efficient (or honest, in some cases). I doubt the Brazilian ones are much better, though no doubt they look it, in comparison to the government.

    I thought you must be retired, did you work till 65 to get the full pension?

    Jul 26th, 2018 - 09:27 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Jack Bauer

    Sure politicians' behavior wouldn't change much, but no govt b4, or after the PT, ever had a sick fixation like FdeSP....and it WAS the PT tt introduced govt to organized crime (to feed their FdeSP dream). BIG difference.
    As far as 'normal' corruption is concerned - if you are prepared to accept what's been going on in Brazil for 100s of yrs, as “normal” - it never demanded dozens of billions of USD to satisfy the crooks. The volume of corruption in the Fed govt, and the motive behind it (FdeSP) only appear under the PT...it still continues under the PMDB, but for pure greed. Can't you see the difference ? The PT will never admit to it's screw-ups.
    “Once they found out prisoners still running corruption schemes, were they able to stop them?”....presumably, some of them...until more crime pops up elsewhere.
    Here, the pension funds directors are appointed by political parties (in power), with the sole intent of stealing...there are no cases of 'going wrong' while trying to gain bigger profits for their beneficiaries....their statutes prohibit any 'risk' investment...it wasn't even incompetent management, but plain stealing, funneling money into corruption schemes. Four state-run company pension funds :Petros(PB), FUNCEF (bank), Previ (Bank of Brazil), Postalis (post office), “lost” R$ 113 billion (abt USD 35 billion) btwn 2011/16.
    Between the minimum, and maximum age/nbr of contributions needed for a full pension, the pension is propoprtional to age/nbr of contributions. By preventing 'early' retirement (B4 age 55), you avoid people receiving a pension for 30, 40 yrs, which in turn increases overall nbr of contributions (as they retire slightly later), eliminates unfair privilges (common occurrence w/ public servants where politicians can vote their own salaries/benefits), eliminating fraud...the only reason for all this is tt Brazil can't afford not to do it. Do it or bust
    The minumum wage is abt R$ 1,000.
    Retired at 61 (438 contributions) w/ an 8% discount.

    Jul 26th, 2018 - 11:03 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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