Yes, there is a double standard at play here

Take Italy in 1948: as the cold war unfolded, the US feared that a socialist-communist coalition would triumph in Italian elections. It barred Italians who “did not believe in the ideology of the United States” from even entering the country; funded opposing parties via the CIA; orchestrated a massive propaganda campaign, including millions of letters from Americans of Italian origin; and made it quite clear, via the State Department, that there was “no further question of assistance from the United States” if the wrong people won. Its efforts were a success. This was the first of many Italian elections featuring US interference.

Take the CIA’s self-professed involvement in the military coup that overthrew democratically elected secular Iranian president Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953: it was “carried out under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government”, as the agency later confessed. The nature of the 1979 Iranian revolution cannot be understood without it. Or what of CIA backing for Augusto Pinochet’s murderous overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973?

There are more recent examples too. Take the military overthrow of Honduras’ Manuel Zelaya in 2009. The then secretary of state – a certain Hillary Clinton – refused to describe the toppling of Zelaya as a “military coup”, which would have required the suspension of US aid, including to the armed forces. Rather than call for Zelaya’s reinstatement, Clinton called for new elections. US assistance – including military aid – continued as dissidents were treated brutally; as death squads re-emerged; as violence against LGBT people surged; and as widely boycotted unfair elections took place.

Allegations of Russian interference in the US elections are undoubtedly alarming, but there’s a double standard at play.

We seem to have missed the Soviets sending in the tanks in 1953 in Berlin, in 1956 in Budapest, in 1968 in Czechoslovakia, the pressures in 1981 in Poland….

Owen Jones does seem to be operating to a double standard, doesn’t he?

As well as missing that that Honduran bloke was dumped entirely according to the local constitution on the grounds that he tried to change said constitution so that he could run for another term.

Timmy elsewhere

To claim that anyone’s Brexit strategy is in crisis is to misunderstand what a strategy is. It is the goal that you have decided to reach.

Britain’s strategy in World War II was the unconditional surrender of Germany – everything else was tactics. Hulk’s strategy is “Smash!”. Britain’s strategy with respect to Brexit is: “Thank you, it’s been great, we’re leaving. Maybe we can do lunch some day?” Everything else is simply tactics.

People around here know the darndest things – so, virtual banks?

Anyone know about this?

By virtual bank I mean that Third Bank of Breqhou does not run its own debit card operation. But if TBB can attract a few thousand people who want a TBB debit card then pretty much everything, other than the actual designation of being a bank, can be contracted out to reputable and efficient companies.

So who here knows about this world?

Can’t be American but other than that – I’ve a possible, a slightly, maybe, possible, few thousand customers. So, how to start thinking about this?

Lovely little piece

So we all know who is next in line to the throne. But who is last in line?

If a few thousand people would just disappear, Ms. Vogel would be leading a far more enchanting life. She would be the queen of England.

Everyone knows that should 85-year-old Queen Elizabeth II die, her son Charles, if living, would succeed her. Second in line is Charles’s son Prince William, whose wedding to Kate Middleton Friday will be a global media event. William’s little brother, Prince Harry, is No. 3.

Ms. Vogel, 38, holds a different distinction: By the account of some genealogists, she is the last person in line to the throne.

And she’s rather got one English bit down pat, understatement:

“I can lean back and relax,” she said in an interview, pleased at the very remote prospect of having to preside over 16 sovereign states anytime soon. “It is really very comforting that one doesn’t have to worry about Great Britain.”

Congratulations to Bolivarian Socialism

The administration of late President Hugo Chávez awarded Odebrecht $11 billion in contracts to build communes like Diluvio in remote parts of the country and connect them to the heartland with grand bridges and railways, according to company employees and state documents.

But while the company completed roads, pipelines and railways elsewhere in Latin America and Africa, few of the dozens of projects contracted under Mr. Chávez came to fruition.

“They were throwing money by the billions into projects that were never going anywhere,” said a civil engineer who worked for Odebrecht at Diluvio.

What remains includes an unfinished, abandoned 8-mile bridge structure over the Orinoco River, four hours’ drive from the closest city in the southern Bolivar state. Further north, the skeleton of a soya processing plant put up by the company stands in the arid savanna of Anzoategui state; the fields there haven’t yielded one grain of soya.

Jesus, even with the damn oil money and contracting it out they still couldn’t even build the damn communes.

Have to go all the way back to the groundnut scheme to beat that.

John Podesta’s password was “password”

An interesting claim, no?

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has said a 14-year-old could have hacked into the emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

John Podesta’s emails were made public by the whistleblowing website and proved to be a hammer blow to the Democrat’s election campaign as she lost out to Trump.
In an interview, Assange revealed the campaign chairman’s password was ‘password’ and that he had responded to phishing emails.
The Wikileaks founder said he was 1,000 percent confident the Russians did not hack the Clinton campaign, adding Barack Obama was ‘trying to delegitimize the Trump administration’.

Not wholly convinced that gmail will let you have such a password but perhaps in the past….

Still, interesting that this is from one of those technocratic wonks who know all the difficult policies to really make america work, right?

All that will change is that the lies won’t have FoE on the top

A green campaign group has agreed not to repeat misleading claims about the health and environmental impacts of fracking after complaints to the advertising watchdog.

Friends of the Earth spent more than a year trying to defend its claims, which were made in a fundraising leaflet, but has been forced to withdraw them.

The group’s capitulation is a victory for a retired vicar and a retired physics teacher who have been working for years to expose what they believe is scaremongering about a safe technique for extracting shale gas.

The Rev Michael Roberts and Ken Wilkinson complained about Friends of the Earth’s claims to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which also received a complaint from the fracking company Cuadrilla.

The authority found that Friends of the Earth (FoE) failed to substantiate claims that fracking could cause cancer, contaminate water supplies, increase asthma rates and send house prices plummeting.

How academia is fallen

Daniel T Rodgers is a professor of History at Princeton. His book Age of Fracture won the Bancroft Prize in 2012.

So, what’s the deep analysis today?

Liberals risk becoming a permanent minority in America

Liberals, in the sense that he’s using (hint, special snowflakes) always have been a distinct minority in the US. Just as the Owenite wing of the British left couldn’t get elected to local councillor let alone above without the sheep of the Labour Party. Who disagree with them about pretty much everything except the desirability of the red rosette.

The desertion of the northern, white working class in the 2016 election, should it persist, would leave liberalism without a viable electoral base. Unless the Trump victory literally splits apart the Republican party, liberalism threatens to become a permanent minority of the educated, the bi-coastal, the urban, the nonwhite, and the poor.

Again the sort of liberalism we are talking about here is an almost exclusive preserve of the over-educated bi-coastal elite. Those non-white poor for example, not known as a great reservoir of tolerance towards gay men really – as innumerable hip hop lyrics point out.

It could even be that the coalition has broken because that concentration on the minor degrees of LGBYQQwhatsitallabout have not in fact addressed the interests of the poor of any race, urban or not?

Even, get your economics right and people might vote for you again?

Wonder if this will ever break through into his consciousness

Let’s be clear that I am not excusing either party for its haplessness: incompetence is unappealing from wherever it comes and right now it is being offered by the two major party leaderships in Westminster. But if that is the case and continues, as seems likely, what are the prospects?

We’re ruled by idiots and yet obviously politicians should have more power over our lives.

What point the Curajus State if they’re all cack handed morons?

The demand that GPs provide a seven day a week service is one they simply cannot meet: there are not enough GPs to do it. And unlike the junior doctor dispute, no one will die if a GP is not open on a Sunday. Emergency health care of a very high quality is already available seven days a week in the UK. This demand from the government is simply about consumer choice, not medical need. So GPs need to say no.

Which is all you need to know about what the populace wants in said Curajus State really, isn’t it? “Simply” consumer choice?

Timmy’s far Asian tour

Would appear to be on. Business class flight, reasonable per diem, not exactly looking forward to 12-18 hours on a plane each way but, you know, per diem.

Hmm. Vaccinations, eh? And health insurance. Plus, looking at the list of available airlines ….biman looks a little too exciting really, but anyone flown Turkish long distance? Etihad is of course just fine. Any other tips?

Only been doing short haul for the past couple of decades so which airlines to use and which to miss tips welcomed.

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?

Oh well done to The Guardian here

Indian firm makes carbon capture breakthrough
Carbonclean is turning planet-heating emissions into profit by converting CO2 into baking powder – and could lock up 60,000 tonnes of CO2 a year

The slight problem being:

A breakthrough in the race to make useful products out of planet-heating CO2 emissions has been made in southern India.

A plant at the industrial port of Tuticorin is capturing CO2 from its own coal-powered boiler and using it to make soda ash – aka baking powder.

No, soda ash is sodium carbonate. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate.


Isn’t Roger Harrabin supposed to be a science reporter?

This is what happens when the anal retentives gain power

Office “cake culture” in which staff bring in treats for birthdays and celebrations is becoming a daily health hazard and should be stopped, experts have advised.

Horrors, eh? Someone might enjoy themselves with a sweetie and a bit of human contact through gift giving. Haven’t they ever read Polanyi?

Can’t have that, ban it!

There’s a certain hankering for the old days really. Even for the times that some chinless wonder on a horse rode up to take all the young men away to kill the Frenchies. Even that was better than this, wasn’t it?