Well, he would, wouldn’t he?

Donald Trump dramatically increased pressure on China to reach a trade deal on Sunday by saying he would hike US tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods this week and target hundreds of billions more soon.

The move marked a major escalation in trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies and sent markets tumbling.

It also heralded a shift in tone from the US president, who had cited progress in talks as recently as Friday.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday night that China was considering cancelling this week’s trade talks in Washington in light of Mr Trump’s comments that took Chinese officials by surprise.

I think I’d call this “negotiating”.

Donald is stupid enough ti impose more tariffs, is ignorant enough to think that trade wars can be won. But throw a curve ball at one minute to midnight? That’s just rambunctious negotiating….

I didn’t know this – anyone can run for President

To declare as a presidential candidate, anyone can complete and sign an FEC Form 2, a single-page statement of candidacy. Once the FEC receives that document either online or in the mail, it assigns the applicant an identification number and post their name on the commission’s website. If a candidate expects to raise and spend more than $5,000 to promote their campaign, then an additional FEC Form 1, declaring a campaign finance committee, must be completed within 15 days of collecting the money.

Voila! That’s all it takes to be recognized by the federal government as an official presidential candidate.

It is not necessary to be eligible to be President in order to run for President.

Is America ready for something like the Monster Raving Loony Party?

Or, even, do they already have something like that? I know Canada had the Hippo Party. But the US?

Seems a good enough reason

Even a fair and accurate analysis of current political life:

Sir Tony Robinson, the actor and a former member of Labour’s ruling body, has quit the party after 45 years over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, anti-Semitism and Brexit.

Sir Tony, best known for playing Baldrick in the hit comedy Blackadder and as presenter of Channel 4 programme Time Team, is a former vice-president of actors’ union Equity and served on the NEC from 2000-04.

He tweeted: “I’ve left the Labour Party after nearly 45 years of service at Branch, Constituency and NEC levels, partly because of its continued duplicity on Brexit, partly because of its antisemitism, but also because its leadership is complete s—.”

Maybe Bobbie, maybe

Donald Trump is the living embodiment of the seven deadly sins – pride, greed, lust, gluttony, wrath, envy and sloth – and he is the precise obverse of the seven virtues as enunciated by Pope Gregory in 590 AD: chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness and humility.

Well now, can we run Bill and Hill past those same two lists? JFK and Teddy maybe?

Jeez, they’re desperate, aren’t they?

Now we know why. For the Mueller report is packed with damning proof that Trump and his team cheered on the “sweeping and systematic” Russian attempt to sway the 2016 presidential election, that they expected to “benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts”, that they actively planned campaign strategy around each new release of emails hacked from Democrat headquarters by Russian intelligence, emails helpfully funnelled through WikiLeaks. (Mueller has the documents that show Julian Assange telling his acolytes as early as November 2015 that “we believe it would be much better for GOP [the Republicans] to win”.)

What’s more, Trump folk including the candidate’s eldest son met a Kremlin emissary promising dirt on Hillary Clinton; a Trump aide tried to establish a back channel to Vladimir Putin’s government; and all the while, the Trump campaign denied there was any Russian effort to meddle in US democracy. Still, none of this rose to the level of a crime for Mueller because “collusion is not a specific offense … nor is it a term of art in federal criminal law”. Mueller chose instead to set the bar so high that it was bound to be out of reach: he needed to see proof of an actual “agreement” between Trump and the Kremlin to break the law to fix the 2016 election. Absent that, Trump was off the hook of criminal misconduct.

Cheering on someone dishing your enemies is to be made a crime now is it?

And where does that leave Hillary who originally commissioned the report about the pee pee tape?

Freedland’s actual complaint being just because Trump didn’t break any laws doesn’t mean we can’t find him guilty.

Quite amazing

Peru’s former president Alan García has died after deliberately shooting himself in the head when police tried to arrest him in connection with a multibillion-dollar Latin American corruption scandal.

“I am saddened by the death of former president Alan García,” tweeted the country’s current president, Martín Vizcarra, confirming the news. “I send my condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Earlier, García’s lawyer, Erasmo Reyna, told local media his client “took the decision to shoot himself” early on Wednesday after officers arrived at his home in the capital, Lima, to place him under preventive detention.

Peru’s interior minister, Carlos Morán, told journalists García had told police officers he was going to call his lawyer and had “shut himself in his bedroom” before a shot was heard.

The 69-year-old politician – who faced accusations of taking bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht during his 2006-2011 presidency – was admitted to a nearby hospital soon after, at about 6.45am, suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.

Before his death was confirmed Peru’s health minister, Zulema Tomás, told reporters García was in a “very serious” condition and had suffered three heart attacks from which he had been resuscitated. A 27-strong medical team, including neurosurgeons and intensive care specialists, was fighting to save the former president’s life.

Gun, head, self, not instant. But, you know, efficiency of politicians and all that.

Modern politics

Anyone desire a clue as to why a country run by politics and politicians is so shit?

I’ve just received an election leaflet from one candidate complaining about the Community Charge going up. Community Charge was abolished in 1993.

jgh in comments earlier.

We might be getting a clue here

Why are so many millionaires campaigning against millionaires?

One of the interesting things about this mania for dropping tax returns among the Democratic runners is how many of them are part of that 1% they so rail against. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, they’re all there, securely in the top 1% of family or household incomes for the US. They all also rail against the incomes and inequality of the one percent which must take a certain amount of mental contortion.

Sure, there are several arguments that could be used to justify all of this. Perhaps such tribunes of the people – they’re all currently in the Senate – should be in that top 1%. Why shouldn’t those selflessly devoting themselves to the public good be well rewarded?

Another thought could be that if you can’t rip off $500k a year from senior office in a nation as rich as the US then you’ve not got the financial nous to run for dogcatcher.

It is also possible to make a rather more serious point about this more general whinge about inequality. It’s as it is in the UK, it’s not about the 1% and 99% at all. Which, given that the inequality gap here hasn’t changed much over recent decades seems fair. Rather, it’s about the inequality gap between the 0.9% and the 0.1%.

Something I don’t know but would like to

So, it takes a couple of years to run for major office in the US. Maybe not House, but Senate and Presidency, obviously so.

You’re not going to hold down a paying, wage slave, job while doing so. Not unless you’re already in the political system at some level.

So, can your own campaign funds pay you?

If not, how does someone running pay the mortgage etc? Because not everyone who does run is independently wealthy….

Yes, there’s more

Yes, I don’t disagree with the evidently worthy theory behind what you say, but your answers are just far too glib and simplistic. To take your example, landlords back then did not routinely charge “high” (sic) rents – we have a complete family record going back, in detail, to at least 1750 demonstrating that for instance – and in any event you are manifestly confusing tenant farmers on the one hand with farm workers on the other. And tenant farmers, too, who certainly cannot be categorised as rich for the most part and couldn’t back then, also need to make at least a modest profit for living and reinvestment purposes – and to be able to employ others, on fair and secure terms, of course. And to take care of that a decent and sliding scale tax system is and has always been by far the fairest way of ‘penalising’ the genuine robber barons in this country – not that the Tories have ever done that! – not just flooding the country with cheap grain etc. from abroad and thereby ruining a myriad farm etc. businesses of varying sizes and types, rendering environmental controls and support unaffordable and enriching infinitely bigger robber barons from the vast US and Canadian plains into the bargain. Great – I don’t think!
As for your “classical liberals”, well they cannot ever have done that much good over here – far too much of the old Whigs! – or else the Labour Party, the Co-op Movement and the Trade Unions would never have become the huge force it collectively did from the late 19th./early 20th. C. onwards. What is really disgraceful, however, is that all of your flagrant ‘bank/gster’ pals and their apologists like Farage, Minford et al. have managed to distract the entire British public (aided and abetted by that total posh-boy p.r. dimwit Tory Cameron!) into focussing exclusively on ‘Brexit’ for the past ‘x’ years non-stop whilst conveniently ignoring their own blatant role in the massive ruin and inequality of the UK of today, the fact that child etc. poverty (even according to the UN) has never been so high, that careers are now ‘gone’, the effects of ‘AI’ and atmospheric poisoning, etc. etc. And quite how all those afflicted people in the northern Labour heartlands of England can possibly think they will be better off without EU-ordained Regional Development Grants and relying on a Tory Government dispensing ‘largesse’ to them instead totally beats me! Dream on!! In any event, your modern-day “classical liberals” are now 100% synonymous with the neo-cons, sadly – e.g. focussing on the external so-called enemy Russia for the past 2-3 years non-stop again by way of covering up their own elitist, wilfully unequal and thoroughly corrupt and self-serving domestic policies and in the UK, as well as the US, too. What a supremely myopic, navel-gazing and typically insular (not to mention flagrantly xenophobic and racist) exercise ‘Brexit’ truly is: Orwell saw these periodic English (not British) paroxysms all too clearly, years ago, and thank God both Attlee and Thatcher of all people quoting him in support (both far more intelligent that our current ‘lot’) firmly ruled out referenda or ‘plebiscites’ in a representative parliamentary democracy such as ours many years ago as just a polite euphemism for ‘mob rule’. But then they both recalled Hitler (+ Goebbels) and his use of them as tools of propaganda and intimidation only too well………….!! I bet you that the English would vote to bring back hanging – and even, as a spectacle, public beheadings – given a referendum on those indeed!! And how much more complicated was the hugely multi-faceted ‘Brexit’ than that – as anyone even half ‘in the know’ like me (40+ years of EU Law) knew in a heartbeat whilst being afflicted by the wilful and grossly simplistic lies of Johnson, Farage, Gove et al. aided and abetted by all those shameful idiots and worse in our cowed and nowadays lazy and pig-ignorant mainstream media not excluding the increasingly Tory Party-/MI6-driven BBC indeed?!? Anyway, repeated surveys showed that the EU didn’t even feature with the public as a top 10 concern in the 2 GEs before Cameron went on his ludicrous Tory-promoting and anti-UKIP ‘frolic’; now, however, there appears to be no parliamentary bandwith for anything else however pressing. VERY damaging and dangerous!!

Must bring this exchange firmly to a halt now…………..!!!!

This is a tough one to understand

Although the Netherlands has long seen support for populists including Mr Wilders, the rise of Mr Baudet shows centrist parties may be losing their grip across Europe, Mr Pre said.

“It was always one of the old parties in the middle as something of a buffer to rule our country,” he said. But, “Wilders’ loyal voters feel he hasn’t got influence in government, and Thierry Baudet has a hard-to-describe appeal.”

Why? Why are people voting for him?

But days after a terror attack in Utrecht, his anti-immigration, anti-environmentalist and anti-EU party,


So that’s pretty much that then

Robert Mueller, the special counsel, has finished his report into whether Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia.

A US justice department official said Mr Mueller, in his report, had not recommended any further criminal charges.

Not that we ever thought it was anything but politics of course.

Excellent point

‘…. and inaccurate as saying that since Hitler was a vegetarian, all vegetarians are fascists. ‘

Not quite.

Hitler was a vegetarian because he ate only vegetables, all people who eat like Hitler are, like Hitler, vegetarian.

Hitler was a Fascist because he embraced Fascist principles, all people who embrace the same principles as Hitler, are, like Hitler, Fascists.

This is rather fun

But most of the explanation lies with O’Rourke himself. He brought to his unlikely campaign, skills and qualities that the Democratic party at national level is gasping for.

Some of those qualities are cosmetic. Tall, at 6ft 4in, with a beaming smile, a thumping stage presence and deep chocolatey voice, O’Rourke, 46, does well in front of the camera. The point may be facile, but when the Republican opponent happens to be a former reality TV star now ensconced in the Oval Office, “Betomania” is not to be sniffed at.

He’s to do well because he’s good at running. Yet the actual question we should be interested in is how well would he rule? About which absolutely no one at all is talking.

Which is rather the problem with politics as a way of running the country, isn’t it?