Friday, 18 January 2019

Brexshit: Leave of the Dead!

You could call it swing Saturday or crossover day, for this Saturday, 19 January, marks an important moment. This is the day, in theory, when the country turns remain. Even if not a single person has changed their mind since the referendum, the demographic shift alone will have done the heavy lifting. Enough old leavers will have died and enough young remainers will have come on to the electoral register to turn the dial on what the country thinks about Brexit.

The psephologist and founding YouGov president, Peter Kellner, calculates that the leave vote has been declining by about 1,350 a day, taking into account the differential turnout: the young turn out to vote much less often than the old. By using exactly the same proportion of every age group turning out to vote exactly as they did in 2016, demographics alone will have transformed the UK into a remainer nation.

The true “will of the people” looks considerably more questionable if it turns out to be the will of dead people – not the will of those who have the most life ahead of them to face the consequences. Does this guarantee remain would win a referendum this year? Of course not. People are changing their minds, though polls show predominant movement in the pro-remain direction. But once a ferocious campaign gets under way there’s no knowing what might swing opinion. No one expected the leavers’ two toxic lies to spring out of the wicked imagination of the likes of Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove – £350m a week extra for the NHS and 70 million Turks destined for our shores.

Polly Toynbee.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Fuxit Brexshit!$%£&@&

Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal has been rejected by 230 votes - the largest defeat for a sitting government in history.
MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal, which sets out the terms of Britain's exit from the EU on 29 March.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, which could trigger a general election.
The confidence vote is expected to be held at about 1900 GMT on Wednesday.
The defeat is a huge blow for Mrs May, who has spent more than two years hammering out a deal with the EU.

Auntie Beeb.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Honduras good + Nicaragua bad = Orwell power of three

A Selective Approach

Two Latin American countries are currently in the cross-hairs of the regime in Washington: Honduras and Nicaragua.

Both are bowing under extreme corruption, street violence and Government crackdowns. Both have skidded to the bottom of the human rights league tables.

Yet one of the two is the recipient of $68 million of US foreign aid, the other is being sanctioned, claimed to be part of the 'tyrannical trio'.

Can you guess who?

Terrible Person and (former) Trump Apparatchik Nikki Haley cackled thus at the UN assembly recently (slightly paraphrased):
The People of Honduras stood with us in our decision to move the US Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem [...]
I doubt very much that the 'people of Honduras' had even the slightest say in their Government's decision but anyway, what's important here is that in order to MAGA, Trump is willing to throw away free money to backyard states that support his questionable FP.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

DNC still in denial, Biden thinks anyone can win 2020, including himself

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT Joe Biden believes that “anybody can beat” President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
While speaking at a recent event promoting his new book, “American Promise,” Biden said, “I think I’m the most qualified person in the country to be president.”

And I feel another botched coronation coming up...

After delivering an address at the Lantos Foundation’s 10th anniversary gala, where he was recognized with a legacy award, Biden was asked specifically by The Intercept why he thinks he’s the most qualified person to take on Trump.
“You don’t run for president unless you think you are qualified,” Biden replied.
“Why do you think you could beat President Trump? Why is this your time?” the former Delaware senator was asked.
“I think anybody can beat him,” Biden responded.

Oh boy, they really never learn, do they? Now where's that 500 quid I'm gonna put on Trump?

@TI.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Meng Wanzhou’s (Huawei) arrest: US Lawfare?

Blame the British, as usual. In 1807, in the midst of a struggle with Napoleonic France, HMS Leopard, a Royal Navy ship of the line, attacked, boarded and captured an American frigate, USS Chesapeake, off Norfolk, Virginia. The British claimed their action was justified by the presence on the American ship of four English deserters, whom they arrested. But, for President Thomas Jefferson, it was an outrageous, illegal infringement of the sovereignty and independence of the infant republic, eventually leading to the 1812 war.

It’s fair to say the Americans never forgot lessons drawn from the Chesapeake humiliation – and have been faithfully following Britain’s script ever since. As its power grew, the US, too, assumed the right to extend its national writ beyond its shores. One modern example is the way the US justice department ruthlessly pursues foreign nationals, such as the Scottish hacker Gary McKinnon, who are deemed to have broken US law. McKinnon’s extradition was ultimately blocked in 2012 by Britain’s then home secretary, Theresa May, after a public outcry.

Donald Trump’s threat to impose sweeping penalties on any country or individual, anywhere in the world, that dares to ignore his unilateral embargo on Iran’s oil exports is another instance of extra-territorial over-reach. Like an Oriental pasha of old, Trump has graciously deigned to issue exemptions to supplicants who beg for relief. But the overall principle is clear: in its view, the US has the right to direct and control the actions of sovereign states using threats, sanctions and almost any other means at its disposal.

Even liberal-minded Americans see no particular problem with such overweening, imperial power-plays – for who, some argue, can doubt that the US, as the pre-eminent guardian of enlightened values, acts for the best? Yet American power is no longer as all-pervasive, or trusted, as perhaps it was 30 years ago. Many contemporary states, allies included, do harbour serious doubts about US motives and intentions.

Foremost among them is China – a rival, not a friend – whose furious reaction last week to the arrest in Canada, on a US warrant, of the top Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, showed how Washington’s presumptuous attempts to exercise universal jurisdiction have become outdated, objectionable – and increasingly unenforceable.

Meng is ostensibly wanted for breaching Iran sanctions. But the wider context is more instructive than the specific, alleged offence. Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, with revenue of about $92bn last year. Western spy chiefs believe its market dominance, and close association with China’s communist regime, pose a security risk. The US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan have all recently restricted use of Huawei technology.

In Britain, Huawei has pledged to spend $2bn to fix security loopholes that the National Cyber Security Centre, an offshoot of the GCHQ spy agency, fears could be exploited for surveillance and data-collection. The promise followed a reportedly bad-tempered meeting last month with British officials. Huawei insists that neither Meng, nor the company, have broken the law or pose any kind of security risk.

The row will intensify existing worries about Chinese state-approved investment in Britain’s next generation of nuclear power stations. Meanwhile, in a public speech, Alex Younger, the head of MI6, said Britain must decide whether it was “comfortable” with using Chinese technology in critical national infrastructure. Last week, BT gave its answer, confirming it was removing Huawei equipment from its 4G network.

More broadly still, the backdrop of intensifying US-China strategic, geopolitical and economic rivalry is also germane to Meng’s arrest, as is both countries’ blatant disregard for international law. The US warrant has embarrassed Canada, partly due to suspicions that it is a politically motivated abuse of the extradition system. Although it will not admit it, China’s action last week in detaining two Canadian citizens was direct retribution, intended to pressure Ottawa into releasing Meng.

There can be little doubt Meng is a highly symbolic victim of this global rivalry. Typically clueless, Trump gave the game away when he explicitly linked the possible dropping of the case against her to resolving the US-China trade war. Trump’s clumsy intervention – rapidly disavowed by his own justice department – left the US looking no better than Beijing. Both sides appear guilty of what amounts, in effect, to hostage-taking – not what the world expects from superpowers. But perhaps it’s no surprise. After all, it is learned behaviour, courtesy of the Royal Navy.

Grauniad.

Trump certainly seems OK with this type of lawfare:

In an interview with Reuters Tuesday, Trump said he would intervene in the case against Meng Wanzhou if it proved beneficial in securing a trade deal that has splintered relations between the two countries in recent months.
The CFO of Chinese tech giant Huawei was arrested December 1 in Vancouver for violating US sanctions on Iran -- the same night Trump was dining with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the G20 summit in Argentina.

'I would certainly intervene'

"Whatever's good for this country, I would do," Trump told Reuters. "If I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made -- which is a very important thing -- what's good for national security, I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary."