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.


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.

As I’ve been saying

Britain is preparing to demand a substantial share of European Union assets worth more than €150 billion in the attempt to cut the cost of the Brexit divorce bill.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, is understood to be preparing a list of up to €60 billion of liabilities, including spending commitments signed off by Britain before the referendum that will be owed by the UK when it officially leaves in 2019.

However, officials in Whitehall are understood to be drawing up their own list of EU financial assets and the government thinks that it is entitled to a significant share.

Bruegel, an independent think tank in Brussels, made the first attempt to estimate the scale of these assets yesterday, placing them at €152.5 billion.

So they want us to cough up for agreed liabilities. OK, so let’s carve up the capital assets at the same time.

Iceberg water

We’ve reached peak bottled water. From today, for a sweet £80, Harrods will sell ‘luxury water’ harvested from icebergs off the coast of Svalbard.

This is bad apparently because…..well, because why? She doesn’t manage to explain.

Best I can read between the lines is that she thinks it’s immoral to part fools from their money.

Are people this stupid really employed as academics?

This is ideological. It’s not that there isn’t enough money to fund proper healthcare or pensions. There is. Remember the vast bank bailouts? Quantitative easing? It’s just that the cash is being directed elsewhere. Most notably to the private sector in the form of massive corporate subsidies, while public utilities are slowly being starved to the point of decrepitude and collapse.

Managing to combine both the stupidity of the magic money tree with the incredible ignorance of the idea that depreciation allowanecs are coporate subsidies.

And yes, he is employed as an academic. Guess where?

There’s a reason for this you know

Donald Trump moved on Tuesday to expunge rules aimed at forcing oil companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments in order to secure lucrative mining and drilling rights.

“Trump has given an astonishing gift to the American oil lobby. Oil, gas and mining companies listed across the EU, including Russian companies, have already disclosed $150bn of payments in resource-rich countries, with no ill effects. This makes a mockery of claims by US oil companies such as Exxon that greater transparency would damage companies’ competitiveness. If the European companies can do it, you have to ask – what are US companies trying to hide?” said Zorka Milin, senior legal adviser at the advocacy group Global Witness.

Isn’t it Angola that bans companies from revealing how much they pay Angola?

Well, yes Jessica

If you had any doubt that that Republicans were taking their cues on women’s health from The Handmaid’s Tale, consider Oklahoma representative Justin Humphrey, who said this week that women are not individual people once they get pregnant, just “hosts”.

Humphrey, who just proposed a bill requiring women seeking abortions to get written permission from their sexual partner, told a reporter at the Intercept that while he understands that women “feel like that is their body”, they are mistaken to think of themselves as autonomous human beings.

“What I call them is, you’re a ‘host’ … I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”

The upside is at least they’ve dispensed with any subtext.

The subtext being that this is a Sorites Problem.

For in a mammalian species the female is indeed the host. Sure, 20 minutes after fertilisation it would be very extreme indeed to say “host!” and host only. 270 days later it would be equally extreme to claim that there wasn’t something very hostlike about this situation. Just as with the development of the child itself, it’s a process with no clear dividing lines other than conception and birth (or termination, of course).

No, this isn’t to say that I support this specific law (although I’ve always had a very soft spot for the argument that as the male will be forced to pay for 21 years for a live birth then said male should indeed have some say in whether there is a live birth or not) but the basic concept of “host”, the thing you’re complaining about, isn’t an outrageous one at all.

Anti-choice legislation – from clinic restrictions to waiting periods – all come from the same ideology that trumps the potential life of a fetus over a woman’s right to autonomy, health and sometimes life.

And isn’t that an interesting argument? Because pretty much everyone agrees that at some point in our Sorites progression that it does. But when?

The left has been in charge of education for 70 years now

In the future, if you want a job, you must be as unlike a machine as possible: creative, critical and socially skilled. So why are children being taught to behave like machines?

Children learn best when teaching aligns with their natural exuberance, energy and curiosity. So why are they dragooned into rows and made to sit still while they are stuffed with facts?

And the insistence is that as education isn’t working it’s not left enough.

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.

Good thing we’re going, eh?

Via Raedwald:

Finally, the EBC’s chances for success will be enormously improved if it can develop within a suitable regulatory environment. We favor an approach where major digital platform providers would have to reserve a certain percentage of their media space, say 5 percent, for EBC content (on a must-carry basis). In addition, such platforms should be levied a general fee of 5 percent on their European turnover to help fund the EBC. The present situation where the click economy thrives while undermining any reasonable business model for quality journalism and engaging in the most aggressive kind of tax avoidance planning is simply no longer sustainable.

EBC is, yes, you’ve guessed it, European Broadcasting Corporation.

At least the BBC has never demanded that ITV must carry its programs, eh?


‘Get your t*** out, show us your m****’: Drunken yob hit with £8,400 bill for abusing stewardess

Most impolite to be sure but if those stories about those who work for the airlines are true that seems very expensive for a peek at something widely shared, no?

Spud is incredible, isn’t he

The proposal for US corporate tax reform is a disaster in the making. …. Trade war would follow. It would provide no tax relief for interest paid: chaos in financial market would follow.

That’s from the bloke who has actually been insisting this past decade that the interest deductibility at places like Boots is tax abuse and must be done away with.


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!

Biting the hand that feeds

Ken Loach has launched an uncompromising attack on the UK government at the 70th British Academy Film Awards.

Speaking as he picked up his award for outstanding British film for I, Daniel Blake, which is conceived as a critique of the current state of the benefits system, Loach touched on accusations by some that his film failed to reflect reality.

Hasn’t it been said state which has financed his entire career? Including that very dandy indeed house in Widcombe?

This blog’s good deed for the day

Advised by a regular reader here you might wish to go here for a moment or two.

A more than usually shitty happenstance of life has led to two parents dying young of cancer (one gone, one going) and thus three about to be orphans. One of whom has just been selected to compete for England at the dance World Cup (that’s a real thing?) which would have made the departed parent proud.

Up to you of course but worth of considerations.

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?

Injustice is it?

Researches have described the “environmental injustice” facing commuters, who are exposed to up to eight times more pollution than car users.

Even though motorists produce the most pollution per commuter, they are the least exposed to harmful particulate matter (PM) as they are sealed off from the outside, a study by the University of Surrey found.

“We found that there is definitely an element of environmental injustice among those commuting in London, with those who create the most pollution having the least exposure to it,” Dr Prashant Kumar, who led the study, said.


Pedestrians too, people just living there. It’s not about public transport.

This is interesting

Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, has resigned from his post after less than one month in office following reports that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia.

The standard political move is to blow smoke, deny that there’s a problem and then, when someone does eventually go, deny there ever was a problem.

Here we seem to have “Yup, Mike, that was a fuck up. Goodbye”

I wonder if this rather businesslike attitude toward failure is going to be a constant theme?