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Tenuous Snowflake link of the day

Bank that lent $300m to Trump linked to Russian money laundering scam

Deutsche Bank was the correspondent bank to one in Latvia that was part of the money laundering. Deutsche Bank also lent Tr5ump $300 million.

See, bank that lent $3200 million to Trump…….we’ll get the FBI onto it shall we?

Odd this

Thandie Newton has said that she cannot get parts in Britain because there are no roles for black actors in period dramas like Downton Abbey and Call the Midwife.

Because every damn actor of every damn colour ever has whined about not getting enough parts….

As I’ve said, Salon’s doing porn for their crowd

I wasn’t a popular girl in high school. Awkward and artsy, I managed to escape being asked to any dances save my disastrous senior prom. But in my bathing suit, I was a tall and willowy clean slate with mile-long legs and breasts like half-oranges: not huge but cheerfully proportioned. When I put on a bathing suit, I could draw the attention of men and boys without having to talk to them. Their admiring looks were enough to get me started on my long, tedious education on the uneasy power of male-female dynamics.

The first swimsuit I bought was a white, black and silver speckled bikini.

Umm, yeah

The summer before my junior year of high school, I came out as transgender. I’d been raised a girl, but knew that I was really a boy, and it was time to transition. What I didn’t know is that the person I’d always called “Dad” was about to transition too. The same year I came out as Alexander, “Dad” came out as Mom.

Well, I guess so. But I’m terribly minded to think of Rule 34 here. Some of these pieces read like something from Penthouse letters. Certainly some of the Salon pieces do at times.

Not as in porn porn, you understand, but stories that people are willing to suspend disbelief to read for the kicks of doing so.

The kidnapped teenager forced to have sex with 2,000 men a year, this sort of thing. After all, everyone knows that sex slavery is a real thing, right? And so here’s a story that panders to that prejudice. It’s like the Mail talking about house prices.

Yes, yes, I’m far too cynical and could well not be true about this particular story. But, you know…..

But it’s art Dianne

“Disgusting. Unacceptable,” Diane Abbott, the home affairs spokesman for the opposition Labour Party, wrote on Twitter after the sign was first reported.

“Despicable, nasty behavior that has absolutely no place in our community,” tweeted another Labour lawmaker from a nearby London area, David Lammy.

It’s a celebration of Britain’s rich diversity:

A French freelance photographer apologized Wednesday for any offense caused by a mock road sign he placed in a Jewish neighborhood of London.

The red triangular warning sign, featuring a silhouetted image of a man in Orthodox Jewish clothing and hat, was seen near a synagogue in Stamford Hill.

Photographer Franck Allais told Reuters that it had not been meant as an anti-Semitic slur, but instead was part of a wider art project. Allais said he had put up about 20 others featuring several characters, such as an elderly woman with a shopping bag.

“It’s all about the characters in London who make London so rich and nice,” said Allais, whose work has appeared in British newspapers and magazines, including Newsweek.

Companies must pay their tax!

Mr, Chakrabortty:

It concerns a private sector that is not expected to provide good jobs, decent pay, its fair share of tax

One of the central issues in Britain – running through everything from Brexit to last week’s budget – is how to get businesses to earn the licence granted to them by the rest of society.

In desperation, Wilkes and Doherty texted everyone in their contacts book to help Colin – councillors, business people, charity groups. Within hours, Dawn Tolcher, an executive from local football team Tranmere Rovers, was in touch: she could apply for public funding for an apprenticeship for Colin, then put him on secondment to Neo.

And they all struck it lucky with Tolcher. Tranmere Rovers could have done what so many other companies do with the billions taxpayers spend on apprenticeship training: game the system and use it as a source of bargain-basement, publicly subsidised labour.

(Erm, isn’t that what they did?)
I wanted you to hear Colin’s story because it cheers me up. But also because it gives some idea of what can be done when businesses don’t rip off the public, bilk the tax collectors or exploit the staff – and actually pay their way as part of society.

You see the bit running through there about companies paying their tax?

Tranmere Rovers.

Seems to make a loss and pay not tax most years, except when it does something like sell off the training ground.

Didn’t Chakrabortty bother to check?

Stanton Glantz is a one, isn’t he?

There is strong and consistent evidence that exposure to secondhand smoke causes heart attacks and that smokefree workplace and public place laws cut heart attacks (and other diseases). The most recent evidence comes from a large study in Sao Paolo, Brazil, where heart attack deaths dropped by 12 percent following implementation of its smokefree law.

Even so, we still hear people challenging the science. For example, a recent article by a onetime employee of the tobacco industry-supported Cato Institute and bartender, tries to use the natural variability in results in different studies to argue against this fact.

He’s a bartender! Was! Ignore him!

And fancy that, he looks at many studies to see what the average effect is rather than concentrating only upon those that show the effect he seeks.

Damn, he’ll be doing science next, eh Stanton?

Woes, woes for the poor in Macao

Auyeung echoes that sentiment, lamenting that she does not qualify for most government assistance, and struggles to make ends meet.

During her first five years in Macau, she left the house where she worked as a maid only twice, fearing she would be sent back to her village in mainland China if she was stopped by police. When she finally emerged, it was to marry and move in with her husband.

He had purchased a small flat in an old walk-up building. He died six years ago, and Auyeung she still lives in the flat with her two sons. Although she does not need to pay rent, living costs take up her entire £1,000-a-month salary. The two sons are at medical school.


There are quite literally hundreds of millions of peasants out there who would take that deal. It may not be all that fair nor all that lovely but it’s s fuck sight better than what’s on offer in most of the world.

Only in The Guardian. Converting at PPP we get about £17,000 a year, with housing costs already paid. That’s in the top 3% of global incomes. And two sons going on to become doctors. Only in The Guardian is this poverty.

Paul Pun of Caritas Macau says the gap between rich and poor in Macau is wide: “The government is aware of the issue, but they need to have the courage to face the problem, and face the property developers.”

They’re the people making the place so bloody rich!

Err, what?

Living off-grid in India, am I the only one left who believes in globalisation?
Tishani Doshi
Life here has drawbacks – villagers poisoning our dogs being one – but it is a way of saving oneself from post-Trump inwardness and isolation

But, but….

My husband complains. He would like to see the local life, engage in philosophical conversations with fishermen, make documentaries about the syncretic religions of the area. “This is not a Sardinian village,” I tell him. “We can’t just walk into the centro and chat with the baker. There is no baker.”

The truth is, we probably could find someone like the baker. But I didn’t want to be saddled with translator duty. Even though I’ve spent most of my life in Tamil Nadu, Tamil isn’t my mother tongue; I prefer when locals think I’m a vellekari (white woman) with a terrific talent for language. I also didn’t want to get embroiled in village politics. We had already had one bad incident with the villagers – they poisoned five of our dogs because they claimed (probably correctly) the animals had been eating their chickens at night. I wasn’t about to converse with dog-killers.

The real reason I was uncomfortable about making local forays, though, was because I’m uncomfortable with inequality. “How is it going to work?” I ask. “We go over to their thatched hut for a chai, then invite them over to our villa for mocktails?” Like many Indians, I deal with disparities by constructing a kind of inner wall so as to be able to get on with life.

Living, hermetically sealed off in a compound in Tamil Nadu is the way to save oneself from inwardness and isolation?

Changing the subject, why is it that those who claim to be writers so rarely have much spark to their prose?

Take this for example. It’s about nothing very much at all but it has a certain sparkle to it. And he would describe himself as a journalist, not “a writer”.


Here’s the awful truth: we have entrusted the reorganisation of our social infrastructure to the sort of people who shout at their subordinates and drivers and view women as a collection of parts. We do not owe these people our money or our admiration.

It remains to be seen whether Uber will be damaged by the activist call for riders to please, for goodness sake, stop using this service. A great many people feel they have no option but to be complicit. Uber grew in the social sludge of American cities with patchy and precarious public transport provision and high unemployment. In areas where there are few late-running trains and taxis are unaffordable, taking an Uber home is the ethical equivalent of the greasy late-night kebab: you know it’s bad for you, but there’s a filthy, guilty pleasure in being able to meet your immediate animal needs. Your gut might make you answer for your midnight takeout, but it won’t kill you.

Using a service like Uber, however, is slow social poison. We are living in a socioeconomic reality whose driving philosophy can be accurately described by a sauced-up frat-boy in the back of a taxi, and we continue to venerate its winners. How much complicity can we tolerate before we get off this dodgy ride?

It’s a taxi service Laurie….

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.


The gut-wrenching story of the Iraqi family spread quickly across the Internet on Tuesday, depicting what seemed to be among the most calamitous examples of a family torn apart by President Trump’s order temporarily barring people from seven countries from entering the United States. A Michigan man claimed his sick Iraqi mother died a day after being turned away from traveling to the U.S. as a result of the executive order.

“They destroyed us,” the man, Mike Hager, told Detroit’s Fox 2, claiming that if his mother had made it to the United States as scheduled, she would have received the medical treatment necessary to survive. A number of national news outlets published the account, linking to the original interview.

But late Tuesday night, the story began to fall apart. The local Fox affiliate “received many questions about the validity of Hager’s claims that his mother died waiting to be approved to come home,” it wrote. On Wednesday afternoon, the Fox station published a story with the headline: “Man who claimed mom died in Iraq after Trump’s ban lied, Imam confirms.”

Sources close to the family also told The Washington Post that the man appears to have fabricated the tale.

[Judge halts deportations as refugee ban causes worldwide furor]

A leading imam in Dearborn, Mich., who oversees a congregation of primarily Iraqi refugees, including Hager’s family, said Hager’s mother actually died at least five days before Trump’s executive order was put into place.

The imam, Husham Al-Husainy, said Hager sent him a message last month informing him that he would be traveling to Iraq to see his sick mother, Naimma. On Jan. 22 — two days after Trump was inaugurated — community members and posts on Facebook informed Al-Husainy of the woman’s death. She had been living in Iraq for quite some time, and she died in Karbala, Iraq of kidney failure, he said.

Al-Husainy, leader of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn, said he helped lead a number of community prayer services in her honor over the course of the next three days. Al-Hajar had lived in Dearborn on and off since 1995.

D’ye think people have forgotten what “fake but accurate” means yet?

Could be due for a revival as a phrase, no?

Losing it just a little bit maybe?

Donald Trump met with the heads of several monopolistic private health care corporations in Palm Beach on Wednesday. Bloomberg reports that “A person close to Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter said he also participated.” Trump was soliciting their advice on whether he should force the Veterans Health Administration (VA) to outsource more of the care of our nation’s veterans to monopolistic health care corporations. The comic book executive at least had no apparent conflicts of interests.

How the hell can several competing firms be monopolistic, and the VA the only and only provider of veterans health care, not be a monopoly?

Is the rest of Washington Monthly this bad too?

We’ve a name for this you know

Wake up an hour earlier each morning
I decided to start waking up an hour earlier every morning – 5.30am instead of 6.30am. I now start my day by doing a few sun salutations, followed by a prayer (which I use to be thankful rather than asking for anything), and then write in my journal. This change has helped me keep in touch with myself and my emotions.

Kelly, Indianapolis

Portion of the rosary and scribble in the diary. It’s hardly new this religious observance thing, is it?

Blimey, really?

A dozen years ago I talked about hope to a roomful of working-class community college students in Washington, citing the German philosopher Ernst Bloch to the effect that without hope there is no action but without action there is no hope. A woman said in a clear voice that she agreed, because if she had not hoped she would not have struggled and if she had not struggled she would not have survived Pol Pot and the Cambodian genocide.

Progressives see a leader in Bernie Sanders as they prepare to fight back
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That floored me. Sometimes hope is just that you will survive, or that you will escape. Then you can hope for more. I wish I knew her story, but that she was in North America, alive and well and confident enough to speak out, told me something of it. Even despotic regimes end, though it’s important to remember that not everyone and everything survives; you can be devastated for what won’t and hopeful for what will at the same time.

In the United States we are probably headed for a very grim phase of uncertain duration.

Surviving Trump will be like surviving Pol Pot?