Entirely fascinating

The dossier published by BuzzFeed was originally intended as “opposition research” against Mr. Trump. There’s nothing unusual about this; political campaigns routinely investigate the background of their opponents to identify vulnerabilities. This information is often passed quietly to reporters in hopes that a damaging article will result. What was surprising in this case was that the allegations against Mr. Trump, none of them verified, ended up on a highly popular news website.

Wait, what?

Is he really saying what I think he’s saying? That peegate dossier was originally done by the Hillary campaign?

If so isn’t that actually rather the story here?

Does that low pressure area between the ears hurt Amanduh?

Trump’s behavior has left him with certain vulnerabilities. Men like him don’t have real friends, just opportunistic lackeys. As #Peegate shows, they can’t lean on their reputations or demand fair play, because you have to give some to get some. This is why authoritarian demagogues, in other countries, end up leaning so heavily on the police state to maintain power. They have no other tools. Trump gave up all his political capital to get to the top, and now he has none to spend.

He’s just about to become President with (at least nominally) his party with a majority in both Houses.

He has no political capital?

So here’s a fun test then

The BBC is to assemble a team to fact check and debunk deliberately misleading and false stories masquerading as real news.

Amid growing concern among politicians and news organisations about the impact of false information online, news chief James Harding told staff on Thursday that the BBC would be “weighing in on the battle over lies, distortions and exaggerations”.

Alright, this is true, this ain’t.

We in the Labour party, who have so often been on the wrong side of misrepresentation and unfair attacks from the rightwing media, have a responsibility to be vigilant and reject fake news material on social media and elsewhere – even if it purports to come from the left. Everyone who wants to see honest and rigorous news reporting, proper fact-checking, investigative journalism and robust political debate also has an interest in fighting fake news. The only people who have anything to fear from this inquiry are those who are deliberately spreading stories they know to be untrue or those who are turning a blind eye to it.

We have a responsibility to stand up for good journalism everywhere. It is an essential part of our free speech and our democracy. The old adage that a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes has never been more true. The growing risks posed to our democracy mean we can no longer ignore the threat from the proliferation of false news stories.

Okey Dokey.

At which point an interesting test. Will these proposed systems actually insist upon killing off fake news?

For example, both Nick Clegg and Peter Mandelson have recently claimed that Brexit means we must impose tariffs upon imports into the UK. Both are, potentially at least, in line for European Union pensions. And the insistence that WTO rules mean we must impose import tariffs is undoubtedly fake news. To the point that the WTO themselves sigh when you call up to check it. What, this lie again?

So, are these two claims things which would be marked as fake news? And if not, why not?

I don’t think he’s quite there yet

But this is certainly a recommendation, isn’t it?

He seems to have found his vocation, for now, within the great, liberal-baiting tradition whose practitioners have included, in this country, Auberon Waugh, Julie Burchill, Taki, David Starkey, AA Gill, Rod Liddle, Jeremy Clarkson and any number of lesser exhibits now clustered around the Spectator.

Other than Starkey and Taki a decent enough roundup of the better prose stylists of the past 40 years really, isn’t it? Don’t think Milo’s there, yet, but I certainly wouldn’t be ashamed of being so mentioned (and, obviously, I won’t be).

Blimey, this is a bit dangerous

The Supreme Court has sought responses from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) on a PIL alleging that journalists were paid Rs 50 crore for writing in favour of the AgustaWestland deal.

Journos can be prosecuted for taking kickbacks?

Quick, alert the media!

That their bosses could get a bit pissed off and fire them seems fair enough. But the government?

Err, no, not really

Amazon has designed a floating warehouse that sits thousands of feet in the air, from which the internet retailer could dispatch swarms of delivery drones to metropolitan areas.

The company has patented futuristic plans for enormous “airborne fulfillment centres” that would be used as bases for aerial deliveries to homes.

It’s bollocks. But it’s a few $ thousand on a patent application well spent on getting a PR story into the press across the world.

No Times, just no

The permanent establishment rules have been ripe for exploitation, especially by technology companies, which are able to shuffle intellectual property and lucrative royalty fees around the world.

Google, for instance, argues that its London headquarters do not have a taxable presence in Britain — even though the search giant employs about 4,000 people in the capital. This definition enables it to funnel profits derived from UK-based clients legally through its headquarters in Dublin to a Caribbean tax haven.

That is not the argument. Instead, it is that Google UK does have a permanent establishment in the UK. But that Google Eire does not. And Google Eire is the one doing the selling of advertising, not Google UK.

Further, it does not funnel profits, it charges the ad revenue from Ireland.


The Guardian even more wrong than normal

So the Graun needs to do less pratting around breathlessly with leaks; stop writing lies like Though there is nothing untoward about this directorship, it has not been reported before; and instead hire some competent journalists who, whilst not actually sourcing their stories to wikipedia, are at least capable of doing basic research, unlike idiots like “Luke Harding and Hannes Munzinger”.


Islamist terrorist fanatics and the west’s ascendant populist right are now working in tandem. They are feeding off each other. They are interdependent. Their fortunes rise with each other.

More than a bit of projection there, no? Owen seems to be recalling that old revolutionaries’ insistence that the worse capitalism got then the closer the revolt against it. So, let’s make it worse….

La Toynbee

We were taught that history was an onward march: things would always get better. There were backward steps – wars, the depression, the Thatcher years – but surely the path to improvement and enlightenment would be found again. History was reassuringly inevitable: factory acts, banning boys up chimneys, the universal franchise, trade union rights, Lloyd George’s 1911 people’s budget, Beveridge, Roosevelt’s New Deal and its British incarnation in 1945. Attlee gave us not just the NHS and social security but helped the birth of Nato, the UN and a postwar consensus that saw Macmillan build 300,000 homes a year, mostly council houses.

Edward Heath took us into Europe and opened out a little our island mentality. The advantages seemed obvious: holidays, football teams, Erasmus, free trade, MEPs together in one European parliament must mean friendship with neighbours so like us in culture, history and democratic purpose.

A distinctly Whiggish view which might be appropriate given the name.