Politics

Shocked, Shocked!

Who would have believed it?

Clinton lawyer charged with lying to FBI during Trump-Russia inquiry
Michael Sussmann is second person to be indicted in William Barr-ordered investigation of the investigators

When investigating who might have lied it is – allegedly – one of the Clinton lawyers. Who could believe such a thing?

Ms. Solnit manages to get it entirely wrong again

Amazing, really:

What if the fate of the world was complicated and also, to most people, a bit boring? What if we got a chance to change the world or even save it, and hardly anyone noticed? I hardly dare to start this essay with the phrase “budget reconciliation” lest you be inspired to click elsewhere right away, but stick with me. This is important and also includes a Britney Spears sighting. Because the budget reconciliation bill is maybe the most important thing happening right now, in the long run, but the least dramatic, at least in how it’s being reported. By important I mean significant, for all of us, for the long-term future, for the lives of ordinary people and for the climate.

So she goes off and talks about how this is all about the long list of wokeisms and luvvieness that she supports.

Which isn’t the point at all.

“Budget reconciliation” is a tactic to get a bill passed. One that is used when there isn’t sufficient support to overcome the filibuster rules in the US Senate. There’s nothing, nothing at all, in the concept that says it should be about or even is about wokeism and luvvieness.

The wokeism and luvvieness is in this specific bill which people are trying to use this process to pass. That they’re using this process is the proof itself, whole and complete, that it doesn’t have widespread support. That’s why they’re using this process, see?

Canada’s different you know

This:

Meanwhile Mr Trudeau’s main rival, the Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, has run a largely successful campaign blaming the Liberal leader for a selfishly opportunistic election, swelling the national debt and failing to tackle climate change.

That’s the conservatives arguing that not enough is being done about climate change.

Hmm, with Princess Nut Nut, maybe not so different.

Sounds about right, yes

…”They’ve been piggybacking on other people’s events,” Jared Holt, a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, told USA Today. “They go where they believe the culture war is being fought, because they see themselves as potentially violent enforcers in a broader culture war.”

Oh, waiddaminute. That’s about the Proud Boys. Not Antifa/revolutionaryworkersparty/trots/thelongmarchthroughtheinstitutions.

So much for democracy then

Infrastructure Summer: The Untrained Bipartisan Deal-Makers
The senators negotiating the infrastructure package don’t have expertise in infrastructure, and it’s showing.

Senators, just like other politicians, rarely have training in anything other than gaining votes. Sounds like a great reason not to have Senators running stuff, given that lack of knowledge.

Damned idiots

Travel Covid test costs should be capped at £40, MPs have told the Government amid a growing Tory backlash against the charges.

OK, let’s cap the price of something in huge demand. That always works out well. The lampposts part of this is the following:

Senior Conservative MPs are calling

When even the Tories are this ignorant we need a new politics, no?

From which we must conclude that talented people don’t join the Labour Party

Labour is recruiting hundreds of people who may never have been party members to stand as parliamentary candidates at the next election.

Sir Keir Starmer has launched a centralised drive, likened to David Cameron’s “A list”, to start installing candidates in battleground seats in anticipation of an early election in 2023.

The party has changed its rules to allow anyone, no matter how long they have been a member, to stand as part of its Future Candidates Programme to attract talented candidates.

Harsh conclusion, but fair.

A pity

Republicans in Congress want to subpoena a British-born scientist as part of an investigation in which they have concluded Covid-19 leaked from a Wuhan laboratory.

A report released by Republicans on the House foreign affairs committee said the “preponderance of evidence proves” the virus leaked from the Chinese research facility “sometime before September 12, 2019”.

I think they’re probably right. I’d certainly like to see a proper investigation. But the pity is that as a Republican led inquiry American politics is currently so insane that the establishment will be entirely against this specific investigation.

This is entirely, wholly, different

Donald Trump’s penchant for turning his political and legal troubles into fundraising schemes has long been recognized, but the former US president’s money hustling tricks seem to have expanded since his defeat by Joe Biden, prompting new scrutiny and criticism from campaign finance watchdogs and legal analysts.

Critics note Trump has built an arsenal of political committees and nonprofit groups, staffed with dozens of ex-administration officials and loyalists, which seem aimed at sustaining his political hopes for a comeback, and exacting revenge on Republican congressional critics. These groups have been aggressive in raising money through at times misleading appeals to the party base which polls show share Trump’s false views he lost the White House due to fraud.

Of course it’s different. Whadda you think these people are, Clintons or something?

Democracy, eh?

The US Department of Justice on Friday ordered the Internal Revenue Service to hand Donald Trump’s tax returns to a House committee, saying the panel had “invoked sufficient reasons” for requesting them.

The news was a second blow for Trump in a matter of hours, after released DoJ memos revealed that as part of his campaign to overturn his election defeat by Joe Biden, he pressured top officials to falsely label the 2020 election as corrupt, then “leave the rest to me”.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi applauded the DoJ’s order to the IRS to release Trump’s tax returns to the ways and means committee.

“Today, the Biden administration has delivered a victory for the rule of law, as it respects the public interest by complying with Chairman [Richard] Neal’s request for Donald Trump’s tax returns,” Pelosi said in a statement.

“Access to former President Trump’s tax returns is a matter of national security. The American people deserve to know the facts of his troubling conflicts of interest and undermining of our security and democracy as president.”

A Democrat says that the Democrats are right to insist that the tax returns of a Republican must be given to the Democrats.

Rightieho Nancy.

Well, this is where I’d go for analysis too

Jana Bacevic is assistant professor of sociology at Durham University. Linsey McGoey is professor of sociology at the University of Essex

The reason Britain has had a bad pandemic:

It may be tempting to explain the government’s lagging public health advice by a lack of clear evidence, the novelty of the situation, or just “bad luck”. But this obscures the degree to which the government has also exploited the uncertainty generated by the Covid-19 pandemic for economic and political gain, by using the facade of incompetence to narrow the political choices available to the public.

In a report released last December, the cross-party joint committee on national security strategy condemned the government for having “failed seriously to consider how it might scale up testing, isolation and contact-tracing capabilities during a serious disease outbreak”. But the report missed a key aspect: the delay in scaling up public testing helped to prime the space for private UK-based firms to enter the market.

Yep, it’s all been done so as to privatise the NHS. Obvious innit? ‘Coz Tories is bastards.

What other analysis would you expect from sociologists?

This deserves an award

Cuba has always split international opinion. Its detractors are perhaps best represented by the US senator Marco Rubio, who called the island “the only country in the world where Cubans can’t succeed”.

In turn, its supporters brook little criticism. Helen Yaffe, an author and academic from Glasgow University, recently arrived on the island, swiftly joining a government rally called by the government. Afterwards she declared on Novara Media: “No one should underestimate the resilience of the Cuban revolution.”

Managing to make Marco Rubio look statesmanlinke and sensible is an achievement.

It’s an odd thing to protest against

Several of the groups have protested against what they say are politically-motivated expulsions of members who have been accused of anti-Semitism.

It’s a political party. Of course things are done for political reasons.

It’s especially odd coming from these groupuscules, whose motivating force is that every decision should be subject to politics – what gets taught, what gets made, by whom and where, should be a political decision. What, after all, is a “truly democratic economy” than one driven by political motivations?

Well, could be I suppose

Vladimir Putin personally authorised a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents.

The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present.

They agreed a Trump White House would help secure Moscow’s strategic objectives, among them “social turmoil” in the US and a weakening of the American president’s negotiating position.

Russia’s three spy agencies were ordered to find practical ways to support Trump, in a decree appearing to bear Putin’s signature.

By this point Trump was the frontrunner in the Republican party’s nomination race. A report prepared by Putin’s expert department recommended Moscow use “all possible force” to ensure a Trump victory.

Western intelligence agencies are understood to have been aware of the documents for some months and to have carefully examined them. The papers, seen by the Guardian, seem to represent a serious and highly unusual leak from within the Kremlin.

I tend to think of it as one of those terribly convenient leaks but there we are. Who am I to question the narrative?

But here’s the actually interesting question. This is different from the US choosing sides in Yeltsin v Zyuganov how?

I doubt it but here’s hoping

Could this be, finally, the end?

The biggest mass demonstrations for three decades have rippled through Cuba, as thousands took to the streets in cities throughout the island, demonstrating against food shortages, high prices and communist rule.

The protests began in the morning, in the town of San Antonio de los Baños in the west of the island, and in the city of Palma Soriano in the east. In both cases protesters numbered in the hundreds.

With millions of Cubans now with mobile internet on their phones, news of the protests quickly swept to Havana. By early afternoon, thousands marched through central Havana, chanting “homeland and life” and “freedom”.

“I’m here because of hunger, because there’s no medicine, because of power cuts – because there’s a lack of everything,” said a man in his 40s who didn’t want to give his name for fear of reprisals.

“I want a total change: a change of government, multiparty elections, and the end of communism.”

The beginning of the end at least?

Since the pandemic, which has gutted tourism revenue, Cubans have become accustomed to waiting in line for hours to buy basic goods like chicken and detergent.

Nonsense. Chicken and soap have been in short supply for decades.

Yeah, court in handcuffs, so normal for tax issues, right?

Trump Organisation CFO Allen Weisselberg appears in NY court in handcuffs accused of tax fraud
Mr Weisselberg on Thursday said he will plead not guilty and fight criminal tax charges against him, it was reported

Criminal!

The Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer on Thursday pleaded not guilty to tax evasion charges in a New York court, in a widening criminal case against Donald Trump’s business that could complicate his political future.

The charges focus on whether Allen Weisselberg and other company executives received benefits and perks such as rent-free apartments, private school fees and cars, without reporting them properly on their tax returns.

“This was a 15-year long tax fraud scheme involving off-the-books payments,” said Assistant District Attorney Carey Dunne, adding that Mr Weisselberg is accused of not paying taxes on $1.7 million (£1.3m) in income.

Umm, yeah:

Treasury Secretary-nominee Timothy Geithner has told a Senate panel at his confirmation hearing that his failure to pay $34,000 in taxes was a careless mistake. Despite questioning from lawmakers on the issue, Geithner has wide support from both parties.

No politics here then, none at all.

Blimey

At each ratcheting down of respect for politicians, democracy itself takes a hit. It’s a dangerous state of mind to worship democracy, yet despise its practitioners, ranking them down among estate agents, debt collectors and journalists.

That’s rating politicians a bit high, isn’t it?