You can’t blackmail a known adulterer with tales of adultery

The most convincing proof to me that the Russians weren’t involved is that said Russians are not idiots:

Within seconds Trump was throwing punches, suggesting it would be a “tremendous blot” on the record of the intelligence agencies if they were responsible for leaking the now notorious kompromat dossier, which alleges that Russian intelligence has evidence of perverted sexual behaviour by Trump.

It’s been generally known for decades that Trump screws whatever he can. He’s been known to seat his wife (of the time) and current mistress at the same table at parties just for the joy of it. Kompromat of his having odd sexual tastes is not in fact kompromat therefore.

It doesn’t really matter what the odd sexual tastes are either. Golden showers or that he gave Michelle a blow job, doesn’t really matter. It’s just not compromising in the way that, say, an evangelist getting it on with a hooker is.

And people who do blackmail know this. Evidence that James Bond shags stunners does not provide a hold over James Bond now, does it?

SOAS again

It quotes black undergraduates who say their academic progress is being hampered by older white professors who cannot relate to them. “Both of my tutors are white men. How can I have a rapport and feel comfortable talking to a 60-year-old white man?” asks one. “Our experiences of life are so different and you’re coming from completely different places.”

You’re going to have to do a bit of work then aren’t you matey? This is an ageing and still largely white society. So you’re going to have to figure out how to relate to old white guys at some point.

Willy’s a card, isn’t he?

The starting point has to be getting the language and argument right. What prompts anger with executive pay is the belief that it has risen far too fast for far too long with too little justification or relationship to the right kind of performance. Shareholders and society alike want – or should want – executives paid well to build great, purposed companies over time. Instead, the incentives are too much oriented to delivering a high share price in the immediate future, encouraging corner-cutting to get there. If Corbyn had said that last Monday he would instantly have had a more defensible position.

The only viable way forward is to create the best justification process possible, along with the best-designed incentives to produce results that everyone is proud of, as the Purposeful Company taskforce argued in its interim report on pay last November. (Full declaration: I am on its steering group.) Scoring goals in football happens over 90 minutes; scoring goals in business life – innovating, building great products and market share – takes years. Reward should be phased over the same period and designed to build companies driven by purpose.

Which is why CEO pay is almost all in long term share awards these days. The numbers being exactly those that Hutton is complaining about.

Idiot, idiot

The vision of a low-tax Britain that enforces fewer regulations in terms of workers’ rights has been a motivating force for a number of high-profile supporters of Brexit. However, in a letter seen by the Observer, Asscher writes that it is in the interests of both the UK and the remaining 27 EU member states that May’s government is prevented from creating a low-tax “neoliberal” outpost.

In a sign of the complexity of the trade negotiations to come, Asscher writes: “If you and I pay taxes, so should the large enterprises. Let’s fight the race to the bottom for profits taxation together, which threatens to come into existence if it is up to the Conservative UK government.

But a large enterprise is a legal person, not a natural person. And it is only natural persons who can carry the burden of taxation – on the simple grounds that there’s only us around.

The entire idea is thus stupid.

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?

Minority position does not have political party. Boo Hoo

It’s a pretty desperate situation. For many like me, clearly to the left of Hunt and clearly well to the right of the Trotskyists, all that is left is a void where there appears to be no hope of proper political representation.

If you’re a social but not economic liberal; a social democrat with green tendencies but who thinks the label green is too limiting; and whose aim is centred on social, economic and tax justice in a mixed economy that is not dominated by global corporate interests then right now the UK political scene presents you with the prospect of howling into the wind but no immediate chance of securing political representation from a party that comes close to representing your reasonable aspirations for the country, economy, health, education, the planet and so much more.

And political parties operate in a market of course. And if there’s no one else in the country who shares you political position then you’ll find there is no political party for you.

Yes Jonathan? And?

We’ve learned too that the dossier included a claim of secret meetings between Trump aides and Russian officials. Now, that claim has not been proved and could of course turn out to be, as Trump insists, “garbage”. But it comes from a document deemed sufficiently credible by US intelligence agencies that they briefed both President Obama and Trump on its contents.

I’ve met Russian officials. And?

Jeebus, the snowflakes really are losing it, aren’t they?

The mistake is to project on to Trump the standards that would normally apply. Take this week’s parallel drama, as several of his nominees came before the senate to have their appointments confirmed. They all offered sweet words of reassurance: the would-be attorney general insisting he was no racist; the prospective secretary of state avowing that he was no patsy to Putin. Official Washington seized on these morsels of comfort, especially when Trump tweeted an apparent admission that his senior team were at odds with him on several core issues: “I want them to be themselves and express their own thoughts, not mine!”

But what if such licensed independence is all for show? Maybe Trump has no plan to use these cabinet members for anything but window dressing. On foreign policy, Rex Tillerson could turn out to be a glorified ambassador, says Robin Niblett, the director of Chatham House. Real decision-making power might reside with Trump, son-in-law Jared Kushner, Breitbart founder Steve Bannon, and firebreathing national security adviser Mike Flynn. That would fit Trump’s style, says Niblett, with “Power concentrated ever closer around the chief executive.”

And Hills would have given her Cabinet operational freedom too, yes?

They’re just going nuts.

But he doesn’t have to matey

The plan Mr. Trump announced on Wednesday does none of these things. As expected, he continues to refuse to release his tax returns, even though many of his cabinet nominees will have to disclose theirs in order to get confirmed by senators skeptical of, among other things, foreign business entanglements.

He refused to do so before the election. People still voted for him.

And that’s it.

Well, yes, suppose this is true really

Last night while you were sleeping, the Senate debated and ultimately passed a budget resolution that provides a pathway for Republicans to strip health care coverage away from 30 million Americans without having a single Democratic vote.
As the Senate debated the resolution that provides a blueprint to repeal the Affordable Care Act,

Given that it was originally passed without a single Republican vote that all seems fair enough, doesn’t it?

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?

The Guardian will be praising this, won’t they?

Despite rising earnings inequality among working households, inequality in total net household incomes (including benefits and after taxes) across the vast majority of the population is actually lower than 20 years ago. Key reasons for this include tax credits boosting the incomes of low earners, a catch-up of pensioners with the rest of the population, and falling rates of household worklessness.

Perhaps someone knows more Indian political history than I do

So, the Gandhis, very important in Indian politics. Congress Party is still pretty much the private fiefdom of the current two, Rahul and Priyanka. Certainly Rahul’s not VP of the party on skill and intelligence grounds.

How much of this depends upon the name, Gandhi?

And how much of that is the name, not the source?

For there’s no connection at all to Gandhi the freedom activist and Mahatma etc. Indira was the daughter of Nehru, and she married a bloke who just happened to be called Gandhi, no relation.

It’s entirely obvious that the Gandhi name is important. But how much of it is just the coincidence (or even Indira selecting the man for the name). Alternatively, how many Indians think there is a connection to Mahatma in the current generation?

Yes, obviously, the well informed will know. But what about that rural mass where they weigh, not count, the votes for Congress?

Fascinating case

A minor from Hyderabad, who was forced to marry a 35-year-old man last year, was served a legal notice for not leading a “marital life” with him and discharging “the duties of a housewife.”

The girl — presently pursuing polytechnic diploma course at a private college — received the notice from lawyer D Narender Rao, representing her husband Palsam Srikanth Goud a few days ago. Having no resources to fight the legal battle, she wrote to State Child Rights Association on Wednesday seeking help.

“She passed Class 10 in March last year and going by her school-leaving certificate, she was born on March 3, 2000. It shows she is still a minor. So, the marriage itself is illegal and demanding conjugal rights from her is all the more illegal. We are planning to move the high court against Srikanth and also the lawyer, who issued notice without even bothering to know her age,” association leader P Achyuta Rao told HT.

OK, so it’s an illegal child marriage and so on. But the fascination bit:

However, in the notice dated December 24, 2016, the lawyer accused the girl of behaving in a highly objectionable manner with Srikanth and his family members. “You have developed the habit of disliking your husband and not giving due respect to him. You never bothered to live marital life with him and failed to perform duties of a house wife,” he said.

Indian law has a procedure by which a husband can demand pussy?

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?

Just you wait

Fiat Chrysler has been drawn into the “dieselgate” emissions scandal, sending its shares plunging by almost a fifth.

America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused the car maker of fitting 104,000 of its cars with software which cheated pollution tests.

It warned that Fiat “may be liable for civil penalties and injunctive relief for the violations”, news which drove shares down 18pc.

There will be more. Simply because large numbers of people have been fiddling the tests.

Lucky we left isn’t it?

The European Union could impose taxes on citizens of member states under radical proposals announced yesterday to help make up a funding shortfall in the wake of Brexit.

A report commissioned by the European Commission, European Parliament and member states called for effective federal taxes to be paid directly to Brussels to fund the EU budget.

EU-wide VAT of 1 or 2 per cent, standardised petrol taxes and a federal corporation tax are among the proposals put forward in the report.

Because you just know those rates will ratchet up over the years to become the most significant part of taxation, don’t you?

I once actually checked up on this

Going to the DMV to pay his bill, he wheeled in five wheelbarrows of coins, weighing in at 1,600 pounds.

It took staff at least seven hours to count the coins, working until early on Thursday morning.

To pay the $3,000 bill, he had spent just over $1,000 in purchasing the wheelbarrows and hiring people to break open the hundreds of rolls of coins.

He paid the bill in US pennies. Unwrapped and loose.

And one day, after a similar sort of thing, I checked up on it all. Called the US Mint, the BoE. And US coins are legal tender. You can pay a debt with them, in any amount. UK ones are not. Can’t recall the actual numbers but you can only demand to pay in pennies up to 20 p, ten p up to a couple of quid and so on.

And yes, you could pay the IRS your entire tax bill in those wheelbarrows of unwrapped pennies. There was an intimation that you might have an ever so slightly raised possibility of being randomly audited if you did but they would have to take the money…..