Tee Hee

Donald Trump handed the German chancellor Angela Merkel a bill — thought to be for more than £300bn — for money her country “owed” Nato for defending it when they met last weekend, German government sources have revealed.

The bill — handed over during private talks in Washington — was described as “outrageous” by one German minister.

No, it doesn’t make any sense, we all know that. But as theatre…..

We already knew this was true

President Donald Trump said he felt vindicated in his claims that he was wiretapped by his predecessor Barack Obama after it emerged some of his communications were monitored and did appear in intelligence reports.

Mr Trump and members of his team were the subject of “incidental surveillance” in the months after his election win and their names appeared in reports widely circulated in the intelligence community.

Asked if he felt vindicated by the revelation Mr Trump said: “I somewhat do. I must tell you I somewhat do. I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found.”

It was the latest twist in a saga that began on March 4 when Mr Trump accused Mr Obama of having Trump Tower “wiretapped”.

This week FBI Director James Comey said there was no evidence to back up Trump’s assertions.

But Congressman Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which is investigating the allegations, said communications of Mr Trump and officials working for his transition team were “monitored” after the election.

Because we’ve been told that some of them were talking to Russians…..how could they know if it wasn’t being monitored?

Stating “but we were monitoring the Russians” is fine, but that still means Trump types were monitored, doesn’t it?

Ghastly little knobs

The terrorist attack on Parliament could have been prevented if police on duty at a well-known security “weak spot” had simply kept it bolted, MPs have said.

Three people died on the road and bridge outside you horrible little knobs. A locked gate between you and your constituents wouldn’t change that, would it?

Err, yes Paul, yes

But if Scotland leaves – and Northern Ireland is given some kind of halfway status to prevent a border being re-erected with the Republic – then what’s left cannot be called “rUK” – the rump or remainder UK. It will be England-Plus.

It will be “England and Wales” just as it is now.

This new country will still be a major global economy, a nuclear power (albeit in need of a new port for its nuclear-armed submarines), a permanent member of the UN Security Council and home to the head of the Commonwealth. And it will need an ideology.

He really does miss quite how fascist he sounds there, doesn’t he? A nation must have an ideology…..

But here is where the problem begins. Just as it’s hard to deglobalise a national economy, breaking up an imperialist ideology into its constituent parts is going to be very tricky. The British imperial ideology, and its post-imperial successor after 1945 was the creation of a national bourgeoisie.

Cod Marxist fascism even.

So what can we do? Some figures on the left have argued for an English parliament. I dismissed this proposal two years ago, but Brexit has convinced me the federal argument is strong.

That raises the question: what form should English federal institutions take? Given the opportunity to redesign the English political institutions along federal lines, we should push not for an English assembly, but for powerful regional states, along the lines of the German länder. The result might look a lot like the map of the British isles around 830 AD, once Wessex was a unified kingdom – with the equivalents of Mercia, Northumbria and Wales each having a devolved assembly.

At which point he advocates exactly what the EU has been trying, to kill off the nation state and devolved everything down to the regions. The EU wanting this so as to be able to cow them of course.

Sigh.

My major argument against this is that there just isn’t the talent out there. When we look at the morons who make up the lower ranks of Parliament itself we can see that we’re not going to end up with lots of bright people in all those regional assemblies, are we?

Boo Hoo for David Cay, eh?

David Cay Johnston, the journalist who first got President Trump’s year 2005 tax return, accused the White House of unfairly distributing his find to other reporters this week.

In a radio interview Thursday, Johnston said the White House didn’t play by journalistic rules when it put out a combative statement to other media outlets to undercut Johnston’s reporting, rather than talking directly with him.

“Instead, they — first of all, and this is to anybody in the news business totally unethical — they took my exclusive story before it went up at DC Report, which is my website, DC Report,” he said on SiriusXM. “They went and gave it to other reporters, that’s just — you don’t do that. I’ve never had a company or a White House all the way back to Nixon do anything within a million miles of that and then they acknowledged the [tax] document but they had this nasty statement that they put out. And they never officially got back to me. They put out a statement, which tells you this really got under Donald Trump’s skin.”

You’re opposing him David. All’s fair…..

“I mean, Donald Trump is a very immature personality and if somebody else had sent [questions to the White House over the tax documents], he may have reacted differently. Perhaps it’s because of me. In fact, I think it’s because of me that he responded, Joe, in this way of attacking and making these false claims.”

Yeah…..

It is all about the journalist, isn’t it?

Truly, we have no problems left

Dog owners should adopt a “stick and flick” method instead of using poo bags, according to advice from the Forestry Commission.

Discarded plastic dog waste bags are an eyesore, the organisation says, and the best approach should a pet foul on a footpath is to find a stick and flick it into the undergrowth.

The guidance was highlighted by Conservative MP Anne Main ahead of a Westminster Hall debate on the issue on Tuesday.

If MPs are discussing how dog shit should be cleared from a forest path then truly, we have no serious problems.

What fun!

The progressive senator Elizabeth Warren accused Donald Trump of firing a prominent prosecutor to install “cronies” , warning on Sunday of “a massive fight” in the Senate over his picks for new US attorneys.

Right Lizzie:

New presidents typically replace the appointees named by their predecessors, but not since 1993 has a new administration done so in such a rapid, sweeping fashion.

So the last person to do this was Bill Clinton then?

Well, yes Owen, that’s your problem

Both Hackney in inner London and Doncaster are Labour heartlands. While nearly eight out of 10 Hackney residents voted to remain, nearly seven out of 10 Doncaster voters opted for leave.

Here is a town that played a critical role in forging the Labour party. Its older, working-class residents have a view of the world that is utterly different and in conflict with much of the next generation, particularly in big cities. How Labour overcomes such divisions and rebuilds a broader electoral coalition will determine the future of the party – and the country, too.

It’s not particularly Brexit either. It’s that Labour gains power, seats, as a result of the donkey fodder Oop North. And they have entirely different beliefs about the world than the metropolitan Labour who actually constitute the party and the MPs. The sort of screaming harpies who wibble about the patriarchy and waaacism in the party meets would be told they just need a right seeing to by the voting base.

It’s not obvious there is a solution to this problem.

Won’t this be fun

Mike Pence, the US Vice President, reportedly used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues, and the account was hacked last summer.

Emails released to the Indianapolis Star in response to a public records request show Mr Pence communicated via his personal AOL account with top advisers on topics ranging from security gates at the governor’s residence to the state’s response to terrorism attacks across the globe.

Indiana law does not prohibit public officials from using personal email accounts, the Star said.

The fun coming from watching the contortions as this is different from Hillary. Because it is obviously different, we just need to wait for SlateSalonVoxThinkProgressAlternet to agree on the reason why it is.

This says more about American journalism than any thing else

White House misconduct. Sensational leaks. Battling broadsheets.

The swirling story around President Trump’s dealings with Russia is being compared in journalism circles to past blockbusters like Watergate and the Monica Lewinsky scandal — with a 21st-century twist.

News organizations like The Washington Post, The New York Times and CNN are jousting for scoops, but instead of sending clerks to grab the early editions from newsstands, editors watch the news unfold on Twitter in real time. Anonymous sources are driving bombshell stories, and leaks are springing from encrypted iPhone messaging apps rather than from meetings in underground parking garages.

The news cycle begins at sunrise, as groggy reporters hear the ping of a presidential tweet, and ends sometime in the overnight hours, as newspaper editors tear up planned front pages scrambled by the latest revelation from Washington. In consequence and velocity, the political developments of the past four weeks — has it been only four weeks? — are jogging memories of momentous journalistic times.

What we’ve actually got is the privileged snowflakes whining, bitterly. And not a lot more. There’s very little actual news here at all.

Snigger

Non-profit advocacy group Free Speech for People has asked New York’s attorney general to investigate whether to file a lawsuit to revoke the charter of The Trump Organization for violating state business laws.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the group and four attorneys said that the attorney general’s office has the power to revoke the corporate charter from Trump’s organization, which has violated laws that prohibit the president from receiving payments from foreign governments.
Schneiderman’s press secretary Amy Spitalnick told ThinkProgress that the attorney general’s office will review the letter.

Review meaning, I assume, place it in the roundunderthedeskfilingcabinet.

This isn’t going to end well

WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

Just not well at all. Because we can see the beginnings at least of a plot here by he permanent state against the duly elected President.

The officials said the intercepted communications were not limited to Trump campaign officials, and included other associates of Mr. Trump. On the Russian side, the contacts also included members of the government outside of the intelligence services, they said. All of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.

The officials said that one of the advisers picked up on the calls was Paul Manafort, who was Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman for several months last year and had worked as a political consultant in Ukraine. The officials declined to identify the other Trump associates on the calls.

Manafort was quite obviously working for Putin (indirectly maybe) in Ukraine. OK, but that doesn’t mean that the campaign was, it means that someone in the campaign had done so.

And tg show the difference, I worked for Ukip, I have had contacts with Russian intelligence. No one working over there for any length of time has not. I’ve had contact with the US and UK guys with three letters after their job title too. Not to any great end but as someone who once had a uranium import/export licence that’s just to be expected. My mate and business partner is an arms dealer–of course there are intelligence contacts.

None of which means that Ukip nor any campaign by it had anything to do with Russian intelligence.

But read those American claims a little more closely. People in the Trump campaign had contacts with people in Russian intelligence…..which means just about anyone senior in either government or business over there. Fine, OK, that’s the nature of the state there. B ut it is a leap, and it’s a leap which is being made, to move from such contacts to they’re cooperating on the campaign.

And do note that proof offered, that the Russians hacked the DNC. We’re note sure that’s true rather than it being a Bernie Bro pissed off and leaking.

And all of those qualifications come much later in the article. Meaning that most people won’t ever read them.

Of course, It’s entirely possible that Putin thought that Trump would be easier to deal with than Hillary (no, stop giggling at the back there) and that he did intervene. But can’t say that I’m in the slightest convinced about this “contacts from the campaign” talk.

Aaaah, so this is how it’s going to work

Russia has begun an internet offensive using false news and email hacking against Emmanuel Macron, the new favourite for the French presidency, his campaign chief said yesterday.

Richard Ferrand, manager of En Marche (On the move), the movement set up by the centrist Mr Macron, appealed to the government to defend him against “the interference of a foreign power in our democratic life”.

Any nasty stories about righty folks like Fillon are real and true and fuck off out of public life. Any nasty stories about lefty folk are fake news and Russians and hacking and IGNORE IT!

Interesting question here

In the wake of the US election, the past few months have felt like an alternate reality for many. But even in the wildest of alternate realities, did anybody think Moby would be the one to bring down the Trump administration?

In a Facebook post on Monday, the American DJ, musician and animal rights activist claimed he had spent the weekend “talking to friends who work in dc [sic]” and could therefore “accurately” post insider information about the Trump presidency.

The allegations detailed by Moby included that Trump was “being blackmailed” by the Russian government for “much more nefarious things” than prevailing rumours already suggest, but that the Trump administration is simultaneously “in collusion” with the Russian government “and has been since day one”.

What could you actually blackmail Trump about?

If it were something sexual it would have to be up there with dead boys for absolutely everyone knows that he’s not kept in his pants over the years (actually, would be fun to know who the current mistress is, wouldn’t it?). Money? Taxes? There’s not much I can see there that could be used. We can’t even try out the idea that he’s a Grey Alien for all know that was Hills.

So, what could anyone use to blackmail Trump with?