OPEN DISCUSSION – APRIL 2018

83

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OPEN DISCUSSION – JANUARY 2018

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83 COMMENTS

  1. The April open discussion thread is now open.

    If you wish to continue any of the discussions from earlier Open Discussion threads, please do so here rather than there.

    Thank you.

    The mods

  2. The gun lobby gets progressively more deranged. I didn’t at first think it was humanly possible for anyone to attack teenage shooting victims but as much as I study American politics I’m still unprepared for the level of insanity that runs deep in some sectors of the population. Latest attrocity is from NRA board member Ted Nugent who has just opined during a right wing talk show that the Parkland children are soulless liars atacking good, law-abiding American families and their god-given, constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. Now I’d agree the children are soulless as there’s no such thing as a soul but I’m not sure which bit of the constitution was written by god. I don’t see much point in analysing this any deeper than like the NRA president Wayne Lapierre and the American president Donald J (Spanky) Trump that Ted Nugent is mentally ill.

    Not wanting to be outdone in the loony stakes Sylvester Stallone’s more or less unknown brother Frank tweeted this before deleting it and making his twitter account private.

    This David Hogg pussy is getting a little big for his britches. I’m sure someone from his age group is dying to sucker punch this rich little bitch. Watch him run home like the coward he is. He’s the worst rep for today’s youth headline grabbing punk.

    Nicely done sir. Advocating physical violence on the child survivor of an AR-15 attack. The use of the word “rich” as an epithet also rings very strangely from the brother of a millionaire film star and especially as Hogg’s father was an FBI agent of no great wealth. Maybe given the rapid deletion we can put this one down to excessive alcohol.

    Meanwhile the irony levels are as high as the insanity ones as self proclaimed woman abuser Spanky Trump declares April to be National Sexual Assault Awareness Month in a presidential proclamation. It starts “Sexual assault crimes remain tragically common in our society, and offenders too often evade accountability,”. You tell it like it is Spanky.

  3. Electoralvote dot com has a nice piece today summarising Spanky’s attacks on Amazon and the WaPo and making the same points as I did recently. It ends:

    With that said, there is little question that Trump attacks Amazon (and not, say, Wal-Mart (which also ships a lot of packages), because of the Post connection. Presidential confidantes say that every attack on Amazon is precipitated by a story in the newspaper that makes Trump unhappy. However, there’s probably also a fair bit of resentment of Bezos himself baked into Trump’s anger. Depending on who you believe, Trump is worth between $1 billion and $10 billion. Bezos is worth $120 billion, and for a man who is obsessed with numbers and ratings, that means Bezos is winning—bigly. Not helping things is that Bezos is self made, and that he is embraced by the same cultural elites who shun Trump. In short: Insecurity, thy name is Trump.

  4. Arkrid Sandwich #3
    Apr 1, 2018 at 7:18 am

    Electoralvote dot com has a nice piece today summarising Spanky’s attacks on Amazon and the WaPo and making the same points as I did recently.

    The link on my comment on last month’s discussion, made it clear that the PO service “losses/costs”, which Trump attributes to Amazon, are in fact shown in its accounts, as resulting from issues with its pension fund and medical support for its staff! – and nothing to do with its package delivery service!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2018/03/open-discussion-march-2018/#li-comment-231270

    “The Postal Regulatory Commission has consistently found that Amazon’s contracts with the USPS are profitable,” the company told Fortune last year.

    Packages and shipping are one area that’s growing for the postal service, bringing in more than $19 billion in revenue last year even as volume of letters and magazines declined. In fact, its projected revenue growth “is driven entirely by increases in shipping and packages,” the postal service said in its latest annual report.

    Of course, “The Postal Regulatory Commission”, and “published company annual reports”, – are the sorts of information, legally required to be evidence based, and (as with science reports), therefore described by Trump , as “false news”, when he does not bother to read them, or does not like what they say!

  5. It’s such a relief for Catholics everywhere…there’s no such thing as hell anymore! So says the Pope. And now we see his minions scrambling to reconcile the new revelation with the cruel threatening story they’ve been preaching to the flock for many centuries. This includes frightening innocent children with threats of burning for all eternity for no good reason. Think of the countless people over all these centuries who have lived stunted lives and suffered all because they were coerced by these lying religious dictator priests, pastors and imams. The priest on this BBC video claims that hell is not part of their story, just Christian iconography. They must really think people are very stupid. Who has not gone to Sunday school and been taught that bad sinners go to a place called hell where the devil lives and it’s burning hot with fire and there are all manner of torture punishments?

    I can’t wait to ask all my good Catholic friends if they’ve heard the good news! No more hell! Yay!

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43596919

  6. LaurieB #5
    Apr 1, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    It’s such a relief for Catholics everywhere…there’s no such thing as hell anymore! So says the Pope.

    Ah! But was he sitting on the golden throne of the Vatican, wearing the robe of infallibility at the time; – or was he just confused about “doctrinal interpretations” during a casual conversation? 🙂 –
    Obviously matter for”profound theological debate”! 🙂

  7. Right Alan,

    BREAKING NEWS! The Pope was confused! Even though he has a hotline straight to God. Why didn’t God send him an instantaneous transmission with the correction straight to his brain? God must have a cheap crap internet service or he’s just a common luddite.

  8. The USA, the richest country in the world, ranked as one of the most ignorant countries, below many less developed countries.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/world-most-ignorant-countries-index-ipsos-mori-poll-survey-a7481196.html?cmpid=facebook-post

    or

    https://www.unilad.co.uk/politics/these-are-the-most-ignorant-countries-in-the-world/

    Increasingly I love that market forces are not seen as an essential ingredient in the cultivation of knowledge in some countries.

    The tories used to target the BBC for its compromising of commercial television. Bollocks to that.

    Reliable news reporting has if anything lifted the game of others. Channel 4 is superb.

    I propose these news channels and Al Jazeera are found magazine type slots on Netflix and Amazon, and that a World perspective is encouraged and topical opinion expunged and authored essays encouraged instead.

    All news content should publish sources used on line.

  9. Hell is not working well for the RCC.

    Even the positive reinforcement of heaven is starting to look a little dodgy, eternal niceness or perpetual orgasm or the unshake-off-able mother-in-law.

    Prosperity theology has it nailed it and is providing a substantial return on investment for franchisees. Your clients promised rewards to be spent on the here and now with no compulsion to share any longer.

    I can see the ticker tape now

    RAN….RBC…RCC….REG…ROK….

  10. Episode 9 of Our Cartoon President aired yesterday and it’s hilarious. Mike and Karen Pence tried to convert Trump to christianity and Eric and Don jr tried to convert Jared to Trumpianity by slicking his hair back with hair gel like theirs and taking him out to drink shots. The golden rule of Trumpianity “thou shalt always make The Father look good”.

    Trump decided his golf buggy was god because it always looked after him and saved him from walking.

  11. Yep, Ollie.

    So my point is the American populace is so spectacularly ignorant because (among other things) it has no core of truth and reliable information about the world, having no institutions charged with seeing this is achieved. PBS is surprisingly partial and scared. The FCC useless about content, concerned only with civilisation corroding nipples.

  12. Arkrid #2

    I didn’t at first think it was humanly possible for anyone to attack teenage shooting victims

    This is a litmus test and those who fail it are IMO afflicted with severe character flaws ranging from your basic selfish shallow minded assholes to the worst end of the scale – full on psychopaths.

    Reminds me of the many times I’ve been assured that devout religious people are good people of excellent moral standing. Nope. I need to ask them exactly what they stand for and run them through my morality test before I will agree with that. If they support items that are inconsistent with humanist values, ethical values and universal human rights, for example, then the situation may be so dire that I will classify them as a bad person with bad character and immoral.

    I see this as a goal of the atheist community for the future. Grab the higher moral ground from the toxic authoritarians and reactionaries and let’s have it done in a very public way.

  13. The Dow loses another 700 points as China reacts to Spanky’s idiotic steel and aluminium tariffs and imposes tariffs of its own. Closing at 23,640 down over 10% from January’s high of 26,617 the index is now in collapse territory. It’s generally reckoned it takes about a year for stock markets to fully react to a change of administration. Spanky has been crowing about how great the stock market has done in his first year but that was mainly about Obama’s economic legacy not his new policies. Now as his stupidity reveals itself fully he’ll have to own the fall as much as he claimed the previous rise. No doubt he’ll try and blame it on the fake media, Hillary or some other boogieman.

    There’s a good chance that this walking shitstorm is going to leave the USA in recession much as Bush did. The massive tax cuts and spending bill on top of an already fully employed economy are going to lead to rising interest rates and inflation soon as the Fed tries to correct the over pressure. Tariffs will further increase prices to American consumers and hurt exports as other countries retaliate. Yeah Spanky, trade wars are really good and easy to win. NOT!!! you fuckwit.

  14. President Jimmy Carter was on Colbert last week. As a fairly militant anti-theist I’m no fan of the religious but if all of them were like this guy I’d be pretty ok with it. He may not have been the greatest president while in office but since then he’s worked tirelessly for good causes. At 93 he still has better teeth than me and he’s way sharper than president numbnuts. Not the slightest sign of mental degradation there. He said he doesn’t really have any old political enemies. His main strategy has been to outlive them. On that front he’s sure as hell done a good job. I can’t help comparing him to Dubya who fucked up everything he touched, took the USA into two expensive and pointless wars, broke the economy and then disappeared into obscurity to cut brush and paint awful pictures. I know which one I’d be happy for my tax dollars to be paying to protect. Love that guy bigly.

  15. Carter gets my vote because his morality is more important that his church which he and his wife dumped in 2000 after the church took a decided turn for the sexist.

    Morals argued from reason and evidence not from outside moral authority.

    If the US religious were all like this, we could all get on with our lives.

  16. As Spanky lashes out at Amazon on twitter yet again it’s becoming clear that this is a deliberate plot to hurt its stock price and hence Jeff Bezos by abusing the power of the bully pulpit.

    Apr 2, 2018 08:35:03 AM – Only fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed. Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country…not a level playing field!

    The threat contained in there “and this will be changed” implies some White House or government action aimed directly at Amazon which is merely taking advantage of the bulk shipping discounts the USPS offers any large distributor. One can imagine the gloating Trump rubbing his tiny hands together in glee as he tweets his bile and Amazon’s stock price tumbles later on. As I said some time ago this evil troll loves destroying things just to show he can. I have no doubt that what Trump really wants is to be a dictator rather than a president hemmed in by checks and balances and if he were one he’d make Nero or Idi Amin look like cuddly puppies. I realised he was a psychopath when he was stalking Hillary on stage during that debate and I only have more reason since to believe he’s a truly evil and incredibly dangerous person.

    It’s clear now that he has no compunction about putting his personal interests and animosities above the needs of the country which he swore to defend. There is an argument that his behaviour is prima facie treasonous. In fact I think you could apply that to the Republican party in general given that the tax cut to the rich was a very deliberate sequestering of funds out of the reach of the ordinary people, aiming to create a plutocracy and ensure campaign donations for the next election cycle to the detriment of the country as a whole.

    I just hope the Dems don’t squander the opportunity coming up in November to do something about this horror show with their usual petty bickering and infighting. Republicans march in lockstep like good Nazis and always bring a gun to a knife fight. Dems squabble and bicker and always bring a knife to a gunfight. I just wish they’d fucking grow a pair and block everything Trump tries to do instead of trying to play nicey nicey. Trump is going to blame Dems for everything that goes wrong anyway. He’s already blaming them for DACA when it was him who refused to deal and he’s blaming them for obstructing his job picks despite him controlling both houses of congress.

    Apr 2, 2018 07:24:01 PM – 39% of my nominations, including Diplomats to foreign lands, have not been confirmed due to Democrat obstruction and delay. At this rate, it would take more than 7 years before I am allowed to have these great people start working. Never happened before. Disgraceful!

    I think Judge Merrick Garland might have a different opinion on “never happened before. Disgraceful”

  17. Arkrid Sandwich #18
    Apr 3, 2018 at 6:46 am

    The threat contained in there “and this will be changed” implies some White House or government action aimed directly at Amazon
    which is merely taking advantage of the bulk shipping discounts
    the USPS offers any large distributor.

    @#4 – “The Postal Regulatory Commission has consistently found that Amazon’s contracts with the USPS are profitable,” the company told Fortune last year.

    Packages and shipping are one area that’s growing for the postal service, bringing in more than $19 billion in revenue last year even as volume of letters and magazines declined. In fact, its projected revenue growth “is driven entirely by increases in shipping and packages,” the postal service said in its latest annual report.

    Packages and shipping, are a growing profitable area in USPS, so in Trumponomics, this “needs to be changed”!

    @Trump – Only [Trump labelled] fools, or worse, are saying that our money losing Post Office makes money with Amazon. THEY LOSE A FORTUNE, and this will be changed.

    Perhaps Amazon can sort out the Trump alleged USPS “problem”, by simply giving the delivery contract and the profit, to an alternative shipping company!
    Unfortunately, this is likely to leave the USPS with an irrelevant Trumponomic “solution” to its loss-making sectors!

    @ Trump – Also, our fully tax paying retailers are closing stores all over the country

    While high-street retailers do pay rents to property developers like Trump, perhaps they make less use of postal delivery services! –

    not a level playing field!

    And next to no use of Pony Express, stage coaches, or coal powered steam wagons!! 🙂

  18. Whilst not a fan of Corbyn for his deep ignorance of science and technology and understanding how business works and brexit, his refusal to go gentle into that twilight of a demanded lobotomised political correctness caused me cheer.

    His refusal to endorse all positions taken by even the Jewish mainstream if he thinks it politically morally wrong was excellent. His election to spend an evening with Jewdas (a left of centre young Jewish political movement) was honourable.

    Those with currently distasteful views or supportive of those views should not get a pass because of historical harms inflicted on all Jews.

    Most of my twentieth century heroes are Jewish, but they are mostly too clever for zionism, too in touch with humanity like Miriam Margulies, too brave like Prof. Norman Finkelstein.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0CulhsQkTA

  19. phil rimmer #20
    Apr 3, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    His refusal to endorse all positions taken by even the Jewish mainstream if he thinks it politically morally wrong was excellent. His election to spend an evening with Jewdas (a left of centre young Jewish political movement) was honourable.

    I must admit, I find it disgusting, that even the normally respectable parts of the UK press, are ranting about alleged, largely imaginary, “anti-Semitism”, in the Labour Party, while Palestinians protesting about the theft of their land, are killed and injured by the Zionist thugs of the Israeli army!
    I would suspect that the “politically correct” attacks by some of Labour’s, history illiterate, fumble-brained, Zionist apologists, on the likes of Ken Livingstone, are fuelling this!

    We know that any objective criticism of the Israeli government, or thieving armed Zionist squatters, produces screams of “anti-Semitism” – even against fellow Jews!

  20. Trump ramps up the trade war with China levying tariffs on another $50 billion of Chinese imports from electronic components to machinery and aerospace items. China says it would only be polite to retaliate and will do shortly. No doubt they will hit food products again to direct the pain at Trump voting states. Tillerson said Trump was a moron and Kim Jong Un said he was a dotard but I think both of them were far too polite. In Trump’s tiny stunted brain, selling things = good and buying things = bad which is why Trump used to not bother paying his suppliers. China sells about $500 billion worth of goods per year to the USA and only imports about £130 billion in return leading to a trade deficit of $370 billion which to peabrain = bigly bad and means the USA must be losing. The irony is if anything it’s the other way round. China’s low standard of living, low wages and cheap labour means it can produce labour intensive goods more cheaply than the USA. The USA is able to take advantage of this to buy products cheaper than it can make them domestically which means its citizens get a higher standard of living on the same wages. It means that the USA is more technologically advanced than China, has higher productivity and higher wages and therefore if one wants to look at things in a childish Trumpian way it is winning. China is too poor to buy American goods in the same quantities as Americans can buy Chinese ones.

    China imports about 100 million tons of soybeans each year which as about the same as the total US production, most of which goes to make biofuel. Soybeans are the USA’s largest export to China but if Trump ramps up a trade war then the Chinese can go to Brazil, the world’s second largest producer at 85 million tons or Argentina with 50 million tons to make up the balance. In fact American soybeans have been falling in quality and protein content as farmers have tried to force yields up so they are becoming less desirable anyway. If the Chinese slap tariffs on American soybeans it will have a devastating effect in the midwest farming states and serve only to help South America. Meanwhile American tariffs on Chinese goods only make the cost of living rise for the average consumer. None of this is hard to foresee except for the malignantly narcissistic and profoundly stupid Trump who is driven only by ego rather than reason.

  21. Arkrid Sandwich #22
    Apr 3, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    China imports about 100 million tons of soybeans each year which as about the same as the total US production,
    most of which goes to make biofuel.
    Soybeans are the USA’s largest export to China but if Trump ramps up a trade war then the Chinese can go to Brazil, the world’s second largest producer at 85 million tons
    or Argentina with 50 million tons to make up the balance.
    In fact American soybeans have been falling in quality and protein content as farmers have tried to force yields up so they are becoming less desirable anyway.
    If the Chinese slap tariffs on American soybeans it will have a devastating effect in the midwest farming states and serve only to help South America.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43632315

    Trade tensions between China and the US have been ramped up after Beijing responded to US plans for putting new taxes on hundreds of Chinese imports.

    China said it would place 25% trade tariffs on 106 US goods, including soybeans, cars and orange juice.

    The tit-for-tat action comes hours after Washington detailed about 1,300 Chinese products it intended to hit with tariffs – also set at 25%.

    US-targeted items include Chinese-made televisions and motorcycles.

    Earlier, Beijing said it “strongly condemns and firmly opposes” the proposed US tariffs, calling them “unilateralistic and protectionist”, and vowing to retaliate.

    It then responded with specifics, as the Chinese finance ministry published a list of its own.

    The products targeted by the Chinese tariffs were worth $50bn (£35.5bn) in 2017, according to the Chinese commerce ministry.

    US chemicals, some types of aircraft and corn products are among the goods facing the taxes, the finance ministry said.

    Extra tariffs will also be placed on whiskey, cigars and tobacco, some types of beef, lubricants, and propane and other plastic products.

    US orange juice, certain sorghum products, cotton and some types of wheat, as well as trucks, some SUVs and certain electric vehicles, will also be subject to the new duties, the ministry added.

    Economists had previously warned the Trump administration’s move to penalise China with the tariffs could prompt Beijing to retaliate and lead to higher prices for US consumers.

    But hey! What do “political establishment” economists know? – compared to the all embracing whizzdumb of Trump! 🙂

  22. Arkrid Sandwich #22
    Apr 3, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Soybeans are the USA’s largest export to China but if Trump ramps up a trade war then the Chinese can go to Brazil, the world’s second largest producer at 85 million tons or Argentina with 50 million tons to make up the balance.

    http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/en/internacional/noticia/2017-02/brazil-and-argentina-agree-move-closer-pacific-alliance

    Brazil and Argentina plan to create the conditions to bolster and expand the commercial ties with the European Union, China, Mexico, and the US.
    During a meeting with the president from both countries, Michel Temer and Mauricio Macri also highlighted their interest in advancing talks with the Pacific Alliance.

    Where Trump is busy abdicating US leadership and membership,
    as Trans-Pacific Trade Partners Are Moving On, Without the U.S.!

    Other countries are slowly but surely making progress on their own sweeping trade deals, without any participation from the United States. China is negotiating a potential deal with 16 Asia-Pacific countries, including Japan, India and South Korea. The European Union and Japan hope to strike separate trade pacts with a group of South American countries, Brazil and Argentina among them.

    According to the Argentine head of state, the idea is to take the opportunity provided by a meeting with chancellers, slated for March but with no venue defined as yet, to bring MERCOSUR and the Pacific Alliance closer together. The topic was also discussed during the signing ceremony of a number of memoranda between the two nations.MERCOSUR will be headed by Argentina in the first half of this year and by Brazil in the second.
    During this period, the goal of the two countries is to bring the bloc closer together and its expand diplomatic ties with other regions of the world. “It’s time to expand trade, expand investment, and opportunities for Argentinians and Brazilians, since there are no taboos in Brazil-Argentina relations at the present moment,” Temer said in his speech, which was delivered before the traditional lunch with heads of state.

    The Brazilian president noted that the partnership is all the more important if one bears in mind the context of “uncertainties in the international scenario.” “During a time when trends of disunity, isolation, and protectionism have gained momentum, Argentina and Brazil react with a better rapport, more dialog, more trade,” Temer stated, referring to the protectionist policy fostered by US President Donald Trump.

    So it looks like other countries are working on GREAT DEALS, while Trump retreats into ego-driven all-U S American protectionist trade wars!

  23. Trump has already destroyed America’s political standing in the world. I doubt there’s a world leader who trusts a word he says any longer. Even Putin is reportedly suffering from a good deal of buyer’s remorse. He will soon destroy its commercial standing too as he slaps tariffs on everything and ignores or leaves long standing trade agreements. America will soon be an isolated country while the rest of the planet forges new bonds which the USA are no part of. One wonders if Trump even cares as long as it doesn’t affect his personal wealth.

  24. phil rimmer #20

    Whilst not a fan of Corbyn ….. His refusal to endorse all
    positions taken by even the Jewish mainstream if he thinks it
    politically morally wrong was excellent. His election to spend an
    evening with Jewdas (a left of centre young Jewish political movement)
    was honourable.

    The trouble with Corbyn is that he remains entrenched in the adolescent ‘establishment rebel’ mindset that he has held throughout his utterly undistinguished political career. This has seen him acting as an apologist for Soviet expansionism, Marxist despots, Argentine fascists, Provisional IRA terrorists, Islamist fascists, and, most recently, for those associated with his party who have gone beyond rightful criticism of Zionist outrages to embrace discredited and classic anti-Semitic tropes. It is a function of his weak intellect that he fails to see the wider picture. He and Labour deserve each other.

  25. Olgun

    Very interesting video.

    The way zionists make sure that criticism of Israel is synonymous with antisemitism reminds me of religious fundamentalists making sure that criticism of their religious dogma is synonymous with racism.

    If I only had a dime for all the times I’ve had to explain that although I criticize their religion strongly, I also strongly advocate for human rights and protections. This is not a conflict.

    In the same way I can rail against the apartheid state of Israel and advocate for human rights and protections for Jews everywhere in the world.

    Until we get this distinction straight the fundamentalists and the zionists will press their advantage in the murky waters.

    I’ll never understand how zionists and their friends think that the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians is a good thing for Jews everywhere. The two state solution is dead and gone and the one state solution is the highway to hell. This will end badly for everyone and yet Israel continues to stoke the engines of the train that is on the highway to hell.

    Olgun, do you think it was counterproductive for the woman Jean (Palestinian supporter) to have mentioned that situation with the son of her friend interacting with friends of Israel and then it didn’t hurt his resume at all? I wish she had just stuck to the facts instead of muddying the conversation. What do you think?

  26. Hi Laurie #28

    do you think it was counterproductive……..

    The problem is I don’t know what I can say and what I can’t any more as they try to stifle everything at once. You cannot say what you know, what you see every day with your own eyes. Most groups stick together and give a hand up, or jobs, to their like but say that of Jewish people and it is anti-Semitic. I have worked in the houses of the Hasidic Jews in Stamford Hill and they really are a law unto themselves and self isolated. I live amongst the Essex (Chigwell) rich jews and they are very clique and Essex brash. Down the road a bit is an area (fast changing since Uber) where the Taxi (black cab) drivers used to live in their thousands so which one am I being anti-Semitic about?

  27. BTW Laurie

    Joan Ryan is an ignoramus and chases anything that will help her progress. Another conversation she tries to stifle is the plight of Turkish Cypriots. She immediately goes into Turkey bashing and talks over our heads the minute we raise our voices. A tactic long used by Greek Cypriots that she has learned well. Our story might prick up some ears so why not stifle it!

  28. Mods

    Has there been another attack on this site? The like buttons are linked to “WordPress” on new posts!!

  29. LaurieB #28
    Apr 4, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    The way zionists make sure that criticism of Israel is synonymous with antisemitism reminds me of religious fundamentalists making sure that criticism of their religious dogma is synonymous with racism.

    They don’t let genetic facts get in the way of allegations of “racism”!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/742430.stm

    Jews and Arabs are ‘genetic brothers’
    They may have their differences but Jews and Arabs share a common genetic heritage that stretches back thousands of years.

    The striking similarities in their biology have just been revealed in a study of over 1,300 men in almost 30 countries worldwide.

    Scientists compared the men’s Y chromosomes, the tiny structures within cells that carry the genetic instructions that tell a developing foetus to become a boy.

    The comparison also showed that Jews have successfully resisted having their gene pool diluted, despite having lived among non-Jews for thousands of years in what is commonly known as the Diaspora – the time since 556 BC when Jews migrated out of Palestine.

    Throughout human history, alterations have occurred in the sequence of chemical bases that make up the DNA in the Y chromosome, leaving variations that can be pinpointed with modern genetic techniques.

    Related populations carry the same specific variations.
    In this way, scientists can track descendants of large populations and determine their common ancestors.

    The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that Jewish men shared a common set of genetic signatures with non-Jews from the Middle East, including Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese.

    These signatures were significantly different from non-Jewish men outside of the Middle East.
    This means Jews and Arabs have more in common with each other, genetically speaking, than they do with any of the wider communities in which they might live.

    Judaism is a religion, NOT a race!

  30. LaurieB #28
    Apr 4, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    fundamentalists making sure that criticism of their religious dogma is synonymous with racism.

    Just ignorant emotive faith-thinking from preconceptions!
    https://www.haaretz.com/science-and-health/palestinians-and-jews-share-genetic-roots-1.5411201

    Blood Brothers: Palestinians and Jews Share Genetic Roots
    Jews break down into three genetic groups, all of which have Middle Eastern origins – which are shared with the Palestinians and Druze.

    Confronted by the violence sweeping over Israel, it can be easy to overlook the things that Jews and Palestinians share: a deep attachment to the same sliver of contested land, a shared appetite for hummus, a common tradition of descent from the patriarch Abraham, and, as scientific research shows – a common genetic ancestry, as well.

    Several major studies published in the past five years attest to these ancient hereditary links.

  31. Olgun

    Oh ok, she’s a known rabble rouser then? I took her to be a concerned citizen passing by who took some time to inquire as to how the two state solution was to be implemented. So the people in that booth knew who she was too?

    So if labour party is split significantly over this issue, what will happen next?

  32. Laurie

    Think I got you confused. Ryan was on the other side of the desk. The one dodging the question. The MP.

  33. rogeroney #27
    Apr 4, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    This has seen him acting as an apologist for Soviet expansionism, Marxist despots, Argentine fascists, Provisional IRA terrorists, Islamist fascists,

    Like Phil, I am no fan of Corbyn, as posts in the archives of this site show, and he is certainly pretty clueless about international trade and diplomacy, as his approach to brexit shows.

    However! He is perfectly entitled to visit and consult a left-wing Jewish organisation which shuns religious tribalism, and which is critical of Israel and Zionism.

    and, most recently, for those associated with his party who have gone beyond rightful criticism of Zionist outrages

    I have yet to see any evidence that those indulging in fascist bigotry have any close association with the mainstream Labour Party, although the Corbynite pandering to attract UKIP voters, may well have recently picked up a few ex- BNP/UKIP rebel fanatics.

    to embrace discredited and classic anti-Semitic tropes.

    We need to be very careful about these sorts of unevidenced assertions, bearing in mind the standard scream of “anti-Semitism”, which Zionists and their media apologists, use to try to gag critics and side-track issues!

    According to the Zionist propagandists, poor little Israel is having to defend itself and its lands from aggressive Palestinians!

    The historical maps over the decades, tell a different story!

    http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/mapstellstory.html

    ISRAEL & PALESTINE: THE MAPS TELL THE TRUE STORY

    The truth is that far from being the poor victim it likes to portray itself as, Israel is in fact the most aggressive and belligerent nation in the region, having invaded pretty much everyone it shares a border with.

    The following maps show just who is wiping who off of the map! (see link)

  34. This

    https://www.vox.com/world/2018/3/29/17168320/labour-corbyn-anti-semitism-mural

    is a good account of the issue.

    The drift to the right among British Jews (as is happening among too many populations at the moment) is a problem. The tolerance of the original heavy rightist leader Benjamin Netanyahu needs a challenge and decent left of centre Jews provide that. Groups like Jewdas do this.

    Loyalty should be to moral positions first last and always.

    Corbyn, as explained, is far from ideal here, but avoiding a mere amoral loyalty to this or that group is a start. The anti-banking mural was though “racially” unacceptable. He must be squeaky clean on this.

  35. phil rimmer #39
    Apr 5, 2018 at 1:35 am

    @link – One of the biggest points of tension was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Corbyn, like many on the socialist left, is staunchly pro-Palestinian — which is of course in no way anti-Semitic. But his advocacy on the issue has gone in a direction that many in Labour are uncomfortable with, most infamously inviting members of the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah to speak at Parliament in 2009 and referring to them as his “friends.”

    “Infamously”?? These are the elected Palestinian leaders whos are subjected to assassination by the Israeli military and death squads because they are prepared to stand up to Zionist fundamentalists and apartheid laws imposed on the Palestinian Arabs. The retaliatory attacks on Israelis and numbers of casualties caused are puny in comparison death toll and destruction wreaked on Palestinian populations by the Israeli military!

    https://www.vox.com/2014/7/14/5898581/chart-israel-palestine-conflict-deaths

    Since 2005, 23 out of every 24 conflict deaths have been Palestinian

    You’ll notice right away that the overwhelming majority of the deaths are Palestinian, and have been for the almost 14 years since B’Tselem began tracking. Overall, the group has recorded 8,166 conflict-related deaths, of which 7,065 are Palestinian and 1,101 Israeli. That means 87 percent of deaths have been Palestinian and only 13 percent Israeli. Put another way, for every 15 people killed in the conflict, 13 are Palestinian and two are Israeli. (Statistics for the past two months are from United Nations Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs.)

    “the disparity has widened over time”

    That number is even more staggering when you consider that there are about twice as many Israelis as there are Palestinians. This means, very roughly, that a Palestinian person has been 15 times more likely to be killed by the conflict than an Israeli person. Of course the conflict impacts Palestinians and Israelis far beyond just conflict deaths, but these statistics help show how utterly disproportionate the conflict has become in its toll.

    The old-school Labour leadership —

    Rubbish! Only a Blairite clique is pro Zionist and like Trump, posing as unbiased “mediators”!

    along with a majority of the roughly 263,000 Jews living in Britain — worried that this kind of comment didn’t just reflect Corbyn’s politics on Israel, but rather an overall lack of concern for anti-Semitism and the welfare of Jews.

    Yep! The wider more vociferous Jewish leaders to shout “anti-Semitism” and exercise their psychological projection that their fellow tribal murderous, bigoted, Israeli Zionists, are poor little victims of prejudice, and promote the perpetual Zionist propaganda, that it is the objective critics who are the bigots, and that the OT God, really did give Zionist squatters the title deeds to all the Palestinian lands; – so taking them by force is not really armed robbery supported by the police and army!

    The scale of the theft, is mapped out on my link @#36.

    The knee jerk “anti-Semitism” jibe is even trotted out against Jewish critics such as Jewdas!

  36. I said a while back that I didn’t think Hair Fuhrer was close to a breakdown because he’s spent his entire life fighting people and being hated. I may have spoken too soon. It was Forrest Gump who said that stupid is as stupid does. Judge a person by their actions. Trump is acting progressively more insane. It’s nopt just the level of the crazy which has always been bad but the sheer intensity and rapidity with which he’s coming out with this stuff now. He’s now threatening to impose more tariffs on another $100 billion of Chinese goods because they retaliated against him. He’s just said that women in the “caravan” in central America that’s heading north are being raped in unprecedented numbers because all the potential immigrants from that part of the world are rapists. At an event in West Virginia yesterday he doubled down on his crazy illegal voter shtick which he tries to convince himself is what robbed him of winning the popular vote.

    “In many places the same person in California votes many times. They always like to say, ‘Oh that’s a conspiracy theory.’ It’s not a conspiracy theory. Millions and millions of people and it’s very hard because the state guards their records.”

    He can’t let a single thing go or put it behind him. He’s as obsessed with Hillary beating him in the popular vote and the size of his inuaguration crowds now as he was 18 months ago. He can’t admit Russia influenced the election because that detracts from him claiming all the credit for the win. Nothing is too petty or too far in the past to stop obsessing over. He’s determined to hurt Bezos and Amazon for being richer than him and because the WaPo tells the truth about him. He’s determined not to back down against China even if it brings the USA’s farming economy to its knees. His threat to pull out of Syria would be catastrophic for the region. There’s nothing he won’t destroy or corrupt to protect his ego.

    If I can paraphrase Forrest Gump to “insane is as insane does” then I think we have to conclude that Trump is now the poster child for insane.

  37. Trump couldn’t even extract much a trade deal with South Korea, only the world’s 11th largest economy and one which is dependent on the USA for military aid. But he thinks he can take on China which is the world’s 2nd largest economy and one which has a shit load of cash in the bank to play with. China’s economy has been growing at a huge 10% per annum for a long time now and even though that’s dropped to about 6% it’s still massive growth. When Obama took office it only has a gdp of $5 trillion but that’s up to $13 trillion now and about to overtake the gdp of the entire Eurozone.

    This is being done not through population growth but a steady and deliberate move from low tech labour intensive industry into high tech, high output work which raises income per person. China has over 4 times the population of the USA but still only about 1/6th of the earnings per capita. If it can even get to one half of the USA’s income per person it will have an economy twice the size and be the dominant world economic power by a large margin. It should catch up with the USA’s $19 trillion gdp in about 10 years.

    If Trump tries to take on China in a trade war he has two problems apart from the main one of him being an idiot. President Xi is now president for life. He doesn’t have to worry about voters in the next election. Also China has massive foreign exchange reserves of over $3 trillion it can use to soften the blow of tariffs on its citizens. The USA is near as dammit bankrupt with a piffling $123 billion in the kitty.

    It’s true that China is massively dependent on the USA for its exports of $500 billion per annum but it can afford to go without those for a long time before the pain bites too hard. However when the American consumers stop getting their cheap Chinese products and farmers go out of business they’re going to repudiate Republicans in the voting booths by the million.

    This is not a game Trump can win. China will get hurt but Trump will get destroyed.

  38. @#40 – @link [@#39] – One of the biggest points of tension was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Corbyn, like many on the socialist left, is staunchly pro-Palestinian

    I wonder why???

    The scale of the theft, is mapped out on my link @#36.

    The knee jerk “anti-Semitism” jibe
    is even trotted out against Jewish critics such as Jewdas!

    Meanwhile – talking about the map of stolen Palestinian land;-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43667947

    Clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces have erupted along Gaza’s border with Israel, a week after similar unrest left 16 people dead.

    The Israeli military said it had shot three people in the legs, as protesters burned car tyres and threw stones.

    The protesters are demanding that refugees be allowed to return to ancestral lands that are now in Israel.

    But Israel says the militant group Hamas, which dominates Gaza, is staging the rallies in order to launch attacks.

    It has warned that orders given to soldiers about when to open fire have not been changed, despite a storm of international criticism.

    Hamas and other groups organising the six-week protest campaign, dubbed the Great March of Return, say they are peacefully calling for the right for Palestinian refugees to return to land they fled from or were forced to leave in 1948, when Israel was created.

    The Israeli government rejects such claims and says terrorists are using the cover of the protests to try to cross illegally into its territory.

    Israel’s Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, warned that anyone getting close to the border fence in Gaza was endangering their life.

    “If there are provocations, there will be a reaction of the harshest kind like last week,” he said.

    As we know when dealing with religious fundamentalists, trying to recover stolen property from Zionist armed robbers, is “provocation demanding reactions of the harshest kind” – threatening their lives for “vicious attacks” on fences!!

    The Israeli military has said its troops have only used live fire against people trying to sabotage the border fence, rolling burning tyres towards it, or throwing stones.

    But the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has said live fire should only be used when troops face “tangible and immediate mortal danger, and only in the absence of any other alternative”.

    It has called on soldiers to refuse to open fire on unarmed demonstrators, saying orders to do so are “blatantly unlawful”.

    But hey! Some poor little Zionists are having their FEELINGS offended by allegedly “anti-Semitic” verbal criticism!

    I think some “politically correct” muppets in the UK and US, need to get a grip on proportionality and reality!

  39. When we were discussing Enlightenment Now, I meant to post this link.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FACK2knC08E

    Hans Rosling “Don’t Panic”. I’ve posted before, but it has lost none of its pertinence.

    This is still the best crash course in demographics anywhere.

    I was posting it elsewhere because even the brightest folks still do not get how population is going for us.

    The genius insight is to talk of peak children (2bn 0-15yrs)…which we have reached already.

    There is still much to add to this but his argument for who’s court the ball is currently in is powerfully made.

    And using a step ladder to get us to understand about perspective taking is genius also. We need to feel these facts if we are to get up out of our seats and act.

  40. Phil

    I’m just now in the final pages of the final chapter of Enlightenment Now. Will finish it tonight. An overall good read that leaves me optimistic as Pinker always does.

  41. Alan

    need to get a grip on proportionality and reality!

    Jeezis, could they just read a Wiki page or two? It doesn’t take much more than that to take in the injustice of the situation. Can they then try to imagine what it would be like to have their own country taken away, renamed and them be cast into diaspora or open air prison camps?

  42. LaurieB #48
    Apr 6, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    It doesn’t take much more than that to take in the injustice of the situation.
    Can they then try to imagine what it would be like to have their own country taken away, renamed and them be cast into diaspora or open air prison camps?

    I suppose Trump could take a few lessons from his Zionist son-in-law, and try building HIS wall INSIDE MEXICO, while being “offended” by critics, and shooting any of those “Mexican or south American terrorists,” who damaged the wall or attacked armed US squatters occupying Mexican farms! ! 🙂

    It’s not so long ago that history records that they did this to the native (Red Indian) American tribes!

  43. Kushner family investments in illegal settlements on Palestinian territory and his involvement with high level Israelis made his assignment to solve the Middle East problem a hideous cruel joke. Not that US was ever an honest broker there in the first place but sending wonder boy Kushner there was a kick in the teeth to the Palestinians.

    I wonder if Kushner is a duel national. Hmm. Even if he doesn’t have the paperwork, he’s got blatant divided loyalties and I’m glad they stripped his security clearance.

  44. Phil #46

    The biggest tragedy is that these Ted Talks are not on prime time tv instead of X factor. The presentation on this one was extremely good. Thanks for sharing.

  45. Ollie,

    Your wish granted. This was an Open University joint production with the BBC and went out on BBC2 in November 2013.

    TED talks are 15 to 20 minutes at most with no production resource.

    So many people waste time delaying their own essential action demanding population cut first before they deign to act themselves. As we can see without a substantial cull things are going as fast as they reasonably can on the population front.

    Lifting the 1 billion poorest out of poverty IS the prophylactic that absolutely minimises population growth short of a police state. If the one billion richest could invest $9 a day (on average) for the billion poorest the outcomes would be transformed in a decade and over the decades later the investment returned with good interest.

    If we could make high quality goods that lasted and were maintainable we could supply these folks with second hand items that would be wealth transforming for them and transform the global waste stream. Lamps to light their evening work and education, phones to educate and facilitate business.

    We just need joined up policy to advantage us all.

  46. @#45 – The Israeli military has said its troops have only used live fire against people trying to sabotage the border fence, rolling burning tyres towards it, or throwing stones.

    However excessively disproportionate this sounds, other accounts suggest that this is less than the true story of atrocities!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43683184

    Israel’s army says it will investigate the death of a Palestinian journalist shot during clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces on Gaza’s border with Israel, local media report.

    Yasser Murtaja, a photographer with a Gaza-based agency, was wearing a clearly marked press vest when wounded on Friday, multiple sources confirmed.

    He died from his injuries in hospital – the 28th Palestinian killed in a week.

    An Israeli military spokeswoman said it was reviewing the incident.

    “The IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] does not intentionally fire on journalists,” a statement said according to Israeli website Ynet News. “The circumstances in which journalists were hit, allegedly by IDF fire, are unknown to us and are being examined.”

    Hundreds attended Mr Murtaja’s funeral on Saturday, in which his body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag and a press flak jacket placed on his stomach.

    The 30-year-old was one of nine Palestinians killed on Friday. No Israelis and at least 491 Palestinians were injured, according to Palestinian and Israeli officials.

    For a second Friday, thousands of protesters gathered at five sites along the 65km-long (40-mile) Israel-Gaza border. They are demanding that refugees be allowed to return to ancestral lands that are now in Israel.

    Piles of tyres were set on fire in an attempt to create a smokescreen to block the view of Israeli snipers.

    Troops responded with fire, the Israeli military said, when thousands of people attempted to breach the fence on the frontier.

    Photos by multiple agencies show Mr Murtaja, who was reporting for Ain Media, being treated immediately after being shot in the abdomen.
    He was wearing a navy-blue protective vest marked with ‘PRESS’ in capital letters.

    A freelance photographer who was next to Mr Murtaja told Reuters they were both clearly marked as journalists, adding that his colleague was also wearing a helmet.

    “The target was very clearly journalists,” Mr Murtaja’s brother, Motazem, a journalist also at the scene, told French news agency AFP.

  47. Meanwhile in another area of propagandist deception and manipulation of voters opinions:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-43680969

    Facebook suspends AIQ data firm used by Vote Leave in Brexit campaign

    Facebook has suspended a Canadian data firm that played a key role in the campaign for the UK to leave the EU.

    The social media giant said AggregateIQ (AIQ) may have improperly received users’ data.

    It cites reported links with the parent company of Cambridge Analytica (CA), the consultancy accused of improperly accessing the data of millions.

    AIQ denies ever being part of CA, its parent company SCL or accessing improperly obtained Facebook data.

    The Vote Leave campaign paid AIQ £2.7m ($3.8m) ahead of the 2016 EU referendum.

    An ex-volunteer with the campaign has also claimed Vote Leave donated £625,000 to another group to get around campaign spending limits, with most of the money going to AIQ. Vote Leave has denied any wrongdoing.

    AIQ’s website once quoted Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings saying: “Without a doubt, the Vote Leave campaign owes a great deal of its success to the work of AggregateIQ. We couldn’t have done it without them.” The quote has since been removed.

    In total, AIQ was given £3.5m by groups campaigning for Brexit, including Vote Leave, the Democratic Unionist Party and Veterans for Britain.
    The UK’s Electoral Commission reopened an investigation into Vote Leave’s campaign spending in November.

  48. Phil #52

    More mainstream than that Phil. The Ant and Dec spot. A public information film like we used to have. For those that clap like rabid seals at anything that moves on stage. For the young me that would just see the lips move and understand none of it. Those one billion poor could end up more informed than the rich that gave them the chance in the first place.

  49. Hans Rosling’s book, Factfulness, is out in the UK just now. The perfect complement to the Pinker Enlightenment Now. There is a 70 minute BBC abridgment that has all the essence.

    It seems astonishing that these arguments need making but in order to finish the job of lifting people out of poverty, in order to fix the climate we need folk to understand our good success so far. We need folk to see how we achieve success so that they don’t default at the last hurdle.

    His anecdote about Al Gore is important. Frightening people to coerce them is exactly the wrong thing to do. Credibility, reliability of data are key.

    Links follow in the next post.

  50. Yep, the links have gone straight into the spam bin.

    One observation though about why we are plagued by media that promote only the bad….

    Making news a substantially free market service will make it open to our basest tastes as De Quincey (the inventor of gutter journalism) profitably discovered, but more importantly, in making the general public anxious a biddable electorate are created and power garnered.

    The right most particularly gain by selling misery and dismay and the religious right cap it with a journey to hell.

  51. Ollie,

    Yes this needs to go as mainstream and youth oriented as possible.

    I would like to see versions of this go to make mini-documentaries (15 minutes) for younger kids going out under the “Newsround” brand, say.

    I would like to see such materials configured to meet National Curriculum needs and used in schools.

  52. Glad you liked it, Arkrid.

    A clear thinking mind is great to see in action.

    Do check out the 70 minute BBC R4 piece in #57. Here he spreads wider to good effect.

  53. Another great episode of Our Cartoon President this weekend. Spanky is under fire from Gen Kelly and other cabinet ministers to pitch the first ball and look like a man’s man. Trump is terrified of making a fool of himself and says he’s so manly the cameras will not be able to pick up the speed of his throw and hence make him look bad. They practice on the White House lawn and he only manages to throw the ball 5 feet. He says it’s the ball’s fault. Ivanka is whining to Jared that she doesn’t have a good internet image so she copies Malala Yousafzai’s online profile and changes the name. She decides to do something for African children to get recognition and sets up a work program so they can sew clothes for IvankaTrump.com. Then she’s bewildered when she’s accused by the press of running a sweat shop. Jared tells her these other women actually went though stuff and suffered hardship. Ivanka says she knows hardship. Her horse went lame once and she had to go riding on a generic stable horse she wasn’t used to riding.

  54. @#45Israel’s Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, warned that anyone getting close to the border fence in Gaza was endangering their life.

    If there are provocations, there will be a reaction of the harshest kind like last week,” he said.

    As we know when dealing with religious fundamentalists,
    trying to recover stolen property from Zionist armed robbers,
    is “provocation demanding reactions of the harshest kind” –
    threatening their lives for “vicious attacks” on fences!!

    [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43709737](http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43709737](http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-43709737)

    Israel’s military says it is investigating video footage, filmed through the scope of a rifle, allegedly catching soldiers cheering the shooting of an apparently unarmed Palestinian.

    The video, which went viral online and featured prominently on Israeli TV, was denounced by Israeli politicians.

    The military said the shooting, seemingly on the Israeli-Gaza border, probably occurred a few months ago.

    The case comes at a time of heightened tensions over Gaza.

    Israel has faced mounting criticism for shooting dozens of Palestinian, many fatally, during clashes at protests along the border in the past two weeks.

    Israel has defended its actions, saying it has only used live fire against individuals trying to breach the border fence, or those using weapons or explosives.

    In the video broadcast on Monday, three men are seen nearing a barrier or fence.
    The crack of an apparent gunshot is heard and one of the men, who had been standing still and appeared to be unarmed, falls to the ground.

    A voice is heard to exuberantly declare in Hebrew: “Wow, what a video. Yes! Son of a bitch! What a video!”

    A crowd of people are then seen rushing to retrieve the man who was shot. His condition is not clear.

    The video first appeared on Israel Channel 10 television and was widely shared online, drawing shocked reactions.

    Israeli Arab MP Ayman Odeh said in a tweet that the video “horrifies the mind”. “Calls of joy at taking a life and what appears to be the execution of someone who did not threaten anyone,” he added.

    He called for the alleged culprits to be put on trial.

    The alleged incident was also denounced by Israeli politicians on the right and left.

    Yehuda Glick, from the ruling Likud party, called it a “very hard video to watch. Disturbing and disappointing.”

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/israeli-ministers-defend-soldiers-cheering-in-idf-sniper-video-1.5989159

    Israeli Ministers Defend Soldiers Filmed Cheering in Sniper Video

    Education Minister Naftali Bennett came out Tuesday in defense of the Israeli soldiers seen in a video clip cheering after watching a sniper shoot a Palestinian
    “Anyone who was ever on the battlefield knows that to sit in Tel Aviv or [television] studios and judge IDF soldiers according to their comments, when they are busy defending our borders, is not something serious,” said Bennett in an interview with Army Radio.

  55. Meanwhile one of the “benefits of Trumponomics” has been identified!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43706309

    The US is heading for an annual budget deficit of more than $1 trillion (£707bn) by 2020 following tax cuts and higher public spending, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    It said that while the measures will temporarily boost the US economy, they will exacerbate its long-term debt.

    The agency said US debt could rise to a level comparable to World War II and the financial crisis.

    It warned that it would have “serious negative consequences” for the US.

    The CBO’s report has been revised to incorporate the effects of a new $1.3 trillion government spending bill and the $1.5 trillion in Republican-led tax cuts approved last year.

    It lifted its economic growth forecast for this year and next to 3.3% and 2.4% respectively.

    However, the non-partisan CBO said the deficit – the difference between what the government spends and what it receives through tax receipts – is expected to rise to $804bn in 2018 from $665bn in the previous year.

    So the plan is: “borrow loads of money, give most of it away to your friends and supporters, charge the repayments and the interest to the US taxpayers, – Oh! and throw a few crumbs and more pastoral support for their god-delusions, to the gullibles who vote for you”!

  56. @#54 – The Vote Leave campaign paid AIQ £2.7m ($3.8m)
    ahead of the 2016 EU referendum.

    An ex-volunteer with the campaign
    has also claimed Vote Leave donated £625,000 to another group
    to get around campaign spending limits,
    with most of the money going to AIQ.
    Vote Leave has denied any wrongdoing.

    We really need to ask about these big-money slush-funds being used to manipulate voter opinion!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43751525

    Lawyers acting for whistleblowers have released further evidence they say shows the Vote Leave campaign broke EU referendum spending rules.

    The material allegedly shows how closely the campaign worked with youth group BeLeave.

    It comes from Mark Gettleson, a web designer, the third person to make claims about Vote Leave’s spending in evidence to a select committee.

    Vote Leave has rejected claims of illegal co-ordination with BeLeave.

    Legal Firm Matrix Chambers argues, in a 50-page legal opinion, that Vote Leave should have declared payments of just over £625,000 to Canadian data firm, AIQ.

    If included in the campaign group’s overall spending return, the payments would have pushed Vote Leave over the £7m limit.

    Vote Leave says the £625,000 doesn’t count as its own expenditure, as the money was a donation to Darren Grimes, who set up the group, BeLeave.

    He says he spent the money on services provided by AIQ, although the money went directly to AIQ from Vote Leave, for “services in kind” to BeLeave.

    The Electoral Commission has said this would have been within the rules, provided that Vote Leave and BeLeave were not working together – a decision that is the subject of a separate legal challenge by the Good Law Project.

    Former Vote Leave activist Shahmir Sanni and Christopher Wylie, who worked for controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica, have already claimed that Vote Leave used BeLeave to get round spending limits.

  57. Arkrid Sandwich #62
    Apr 10, 2018 at 5:50 am

    Another great episode of Our Cartoon President this weekend.

    So while there is the distraction of several $million worth of missiles being used to demolish a few Syrian buildings, and the Russians are testing out their missile defence systems in a live fire exercise, back home US industries are counting the cost of Trump tariffs!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43731798

    The US-China trade dispute is starting to have consequences.

    US tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium went into effect last month. China’s retaliatory duties on more than 100 US imports, including pork, fruit and wine, kicked in soon after.

    Further tariffs on $50bn worth of the each country’s products are in the offing, as the Trump administration presses China on state subsidies and practices it says encourage intellectual property theft. The White House has threatened even more.

    Economists expect the duelling taxes to have a relatively limited impact on the overall US economy. But they say the measures will touch most parts of the country and lead to higher prices for everything from televisions to vitamins.

    For certain industries like agriculture, aerospace and manufacturing, the effects could be severe.

    So how are US companies handling a looming trade war?

    See link for details by sectors:

    For some firms, the measures are welcome. Companies such as US Steel have announced plans to expand their operations, bringing on hundreds of workers.

    Their customers – many of them manufacturers located in the Midwest – are worried, however.

    They say US tariffs have already increased demand for domestic steel – which accounts for the majority of the metal’s sales in America – driving up prices for firms reliant on steel-based parts.

    The proposed tariffs, which include taxes on hundreds of Chinese-made parts and equipment, promise more pain.

    At Roadtec, a growing 600-person Tennessee company that makes asphalt paving machines, suppliers are already asking 40% more, says the firm’s marketing director, Eric Baker.

    He says the firm is still trying to figure out how to best address the higher costs.

    Details of other firms are on the link:-

  58. Mueller and his team must be loving being up against people like Trump and Hannity who are so dumb they incriminate themselves every time they open their mouths or start tweeting. As soon as it came out in court that Cohen had represented Hannity in the past Hannity tweeted that “I never paid Cohen nuttin okays yous guys. We’s was just friends ya knows. Just buds and ok so maybe’s he gave me some advice outa the goodness of his heart once or twice.”

    The trouble is if Hannity never paid Cohen then anything between them is not covered by attorney client privilege even if Cohen somehow manages to prove he’s actually a bona fide lawyer with privilege rights in the first place. So we can be pretty sure that Hannity has just ensured that everything he did do with Cohen is going to be in the public domain in due course, or at least in Mueller’s domain.

  59. Some of the connections between propagandist funding and bought stooges, is coming to light!

    @#65 – Lawyers acting for whistleblowers have released further evidence
    they say shows the Vote Leave campaign
    broke EU referendum spending rules.

    The material allegedly shows how closely the campaign
    worked with youth group BeLeave.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43793546

    Misuse of data was “rife” among the businesses and campaigns of Leave.EU chairman and ex-UKIP donor Arron Banks, a former Cambridge Analytica (CA) employee has told MPs.

    Brittany Kaiser said Mr Banks asked the consultancy firm for a joint strategy for Leave.EU, UKIP and Eldon Insurance.

    Ms Kaiser said CA “took receipt” of UKIP’s membership data as part of this.

    Ms Kaiser was giving evidence to the House of Commons’ digital, culture, media and sport committee, which is conducting an inquiry into fake news.

    Cambridge Analytica is at the centre of a dispute over the harvesting of personal Facebook data and whether it was used to influence the outcome of the US presidential election and Brexit referendum.

    Meanwhile, committee chair Damian Collins has said there is no legal reason for the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, to not attend the inquiry on Wednesday.

    Mr Collins said representatives for Mr Nix had said he would miss the hearing as he was “subject to a criminal investigation by the Information Commissioner’s office”.

    Leave.EU was fronted by then UKIP leader Nigel Farage and funded by millionaire Mr Banks, but failed in its bid to be named the official Brexit campaign group.

    It denies that Cambridge Analytica undertook any work for the campaign.

    But Ms Kaiser says she pitched them a detailed strategy.

    “Arron Banks asked us to design a strategy where we could work with Leave.EU, UKIP and Eldon Insurance together”, she told MPs.

    Ms Kaiser said she saw data from Eldon Insurance – which is owned by Mr Banks and carries out claims for Go Skippy – used by the Leave.EU with her “own eyes”.

    She said that as Leave.EU had little data when they first met, CA “took receipt” of UKIP’s membership and survey data to create a model for Leave.EU communications.

    UKIP has been contacted for comment.

    “We submitted a contract for £41,500 for phase one,” said Ms Kaiser, referring to the preliminary work she says was undertaken by CA.

    She said this work was not reported to the Electoral Commission and never paid for.

    “We never had a contract with Leave.EU, the contract was with the UK Independence Party for the analysis of this data but it was meant to benefit Leave.EU,” she added.

  60. Arkrid Sandwich #2
    Apr 1, 2018 at 7:11 am

    The gun lobby gets progressively more deranged.
    I didn’t at first think it was humanly possible for anyone to attack teenage shooting victims but as much as I study American politics I’m still unprepared for the level of insanity that runs deep in some sectors of the population.
    Latest attrocity is from NRA board member Ted Nugent who has just opined during a right wing talk show that the Parkland children are soulless liars attacking good, law-abiding American families and their god-given, constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.

    Yep! The gun-deluded have “faith” in their gun-worship, which rivals the superstition-worship of the god-deluded!

    Meanwhile:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43835834

    National School Walkout: US students mark Columbine anniversary

    Schoolchildren across the US walked out of their classrooms on Friday morning to demonstrate against gun violence.

    The National School Walkout marked the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado.

    Connecticut high school pupil Lane Murdock set up the event in the wake of the Parkland shooting in Florida.

    Only one hour before the walkout was due to begin, authorities say a student in Ocala, Florida was shot in the ankle at the Forest High School.

    One teenager posted a photo of a barricade that his class constructed after hearing the gunshot.

    Police and Marion County Schools officials say only one person – a 17-year-old student – was injured and a suspect is in custody.

    The suspect was initially identified as a student, but authorities later clarified that he was not a current student at the school.

    Students at the Forest High School – which had planned to hold an in-school “civic demonstration” rather than a walkout – were taken to a nearby church to meet their parents.

    Around 11:00 local time, officers responded to reports of a gunman at another school in Marion County, but later said those reports were false.

    However, all schools in the district were placed on “Code Red” lockdown as a precaution, according to district spokesman Kevin Christian.

    The goal of Friday’s demonstration, which involved more than 2,000 schools, was to raise awareness of gun violence and to combat political inaction.

    Participants on Friday also held 13 seconds of silence, in honour of the 13 victims of the Columbine shooting.

    The sample walkout agenda from the campaign says the students will not go back to school but instead will “make calls to their Senators’ offices and flood social media with calls for reform”.

    https://www.nationalschoolwalkout.net/planning-guide/sample-walkout-agenda

  61. @#68 – Misuse of data was “rife” among the businesses and campaigns of Leave.EU chairman and ex-UKIP donor Arron Banks, a former Cambridge Analytica (CA) employee has told MPs.

    I see the the Brexiteer-delusional-fantasists, are still full of Dunning-Kruger confidence about their “exceptional negotiating abilities” – including the ability to negotiate a post-Brexit, CLOSED-OPEN BORDER between the EU Republic of Ireland and the UK Northern Ireland!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43835934

    Brexit: No 10 still ‘confident’ of Irish border solution

    No 10 says it is confident a deal can be done to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland after Brexit despite signs of an impasse over the issue.

    The BBC understands UK plans to resolve the matter faced sustained criticism from the EU at a meeting on Wednesday.

    Downing Street said it did not recognise reports it had been told none of its proposed ideas would work.

    The EU wants to present an agreed solution on the issue to a summit meeting of European leaders in June.

    Chief negotiator Michel Barnier told French TV on Friday that 25% of the final withdrawal deal had still to be settled and it could still be derailed by disagreements over the border and other issues.

    As with other issues, the brexiteers are trying to sustain the fantasies by putting off the issues, until there is no time left for debate, in the hope that the UK will just uncritically drift into brexit, and then have to make the best of a bad job!!

    However, it is not only EU negotiators who are telling them their plans don’t work! and will damage the UK economy!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43821737

    A powerful cross-party group of MPs is to force a vote on a customs union next week in the House of Commons.

    Theresa May has pledged to leave the current customs union after Brexit.

    Downing Street believes that trying to replicate it when the UK leaves the EU would stop the country from being able to sign its own trade deals.

    The news about the Commons vote comes the day after the House of Lords inflicted a defeat on the government over the customs union issue.

    The government had hoped to avoid a vote on the issue in the Commons until next month.

    But the MPs, including Yvette Cooper, Nicky Morgan, Sarah Wollaston, and Hilary Benn, have secured a debate that will force the issue.

    BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said that although a vote would not be binding on the government, it will ratchet up the pressure on No 10 to shift its position if the Commons agrees.

    Conservative backbencher Anna Soubry said that it would “not be a meaningful vote at all” but the debate would be important.

    She said the “crunch question” was whether the government would have sufficient MPs prepared to overturn the Lords amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill, when it returned to the Commons.

    She told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme the Lords vote had asked the government only to “explore” a customs union.

    “There is an increasing number of Conservative MPs… who are worried and now understand the benefits of us having a customs arrangement, not just for the benefit of manufacturers in particular in our country... but also for peace in Northern Ireland.

  62. Arkrid #67

    Mueller and his team must be loving being up against people like Trump
    and Hannity who are so dumb they incriminate themselves every time
    they open their mouths or start tweeting.

    You’ll get a kick out of Trump’s latest tweet, all but incriminating himself. He claims Cohen won’t “flip,” leaving unsaid by implication, the question: on what would Cohen flip? I can think of only one possible reason for tweeting such a monumentally stupid admission: his base loves that type of defiance. I don’t imagine they would be willing to connect the dots, though.

    But the rest of us can–and have.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2018/04/21/trump-lashes-out-at-new-york-times-over-michael-cohen-coverage-vows-cohen-wont-flip/?utm_term=.d74ea0a905c6

  63. Vicki

    Can you even believe Trump said that?! Cohen won’t flip and tell all the bad stuff he’s been cooking up for his mob boss Trump. For all his belligerent defiance, Cohen must be paralyzed with fear behind the scenes. He’ll flip if he any sense of self-preservation.

  64. Vicky, I think “flip” refers to going insane.
    Kidding…..
    How long before one of these old crooked bastards heart gives out to stress? And I’m sure Ronny Jackson will be there with his amazing diagnoses.
    I hope we don’t see that. I just want them in jail. Quickly.

  65. Vicki #71
    Apr 21, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Arkrid #67
    You’ll get a kick out of Trump’s latest tweet, all but incriminating himself.

    I have been meaning to write about it. You can always tell what is paramount in Trump’s mind and what he’s most aggrieved by because that’s the thing he furiously rage-tweets about. At present it’s Cohen.

    “Apr 21, 2018 07:17:22 AM – The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Habberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will “flip.” They use…. non-existent “sources” and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!

    Trump’s chicken’s are finally coming home to roost. Far from”liking and respecting” him, by all acounts he’s treated Cohen like shit for years and years, publically humiliating him, ignoring his advice and twice threatening to fire him. Despite this Cohen has behaved like a faithful lap dog trying to preserve his place near the seat of power, probably in hope of some future reward. It’s believed that Cohen wanted a White House or other government legal position but was ignored. Of course Trump thought he could get away with treating Cohen like shit because Cohen was prevented from ever screwing him over by attorney/client privilege. The raid on Cohen’s premises must have come like a thunderbolt to little Donny.

    As for the well known and well respected White House correspondent Maggie Haberman (only one B Spanky!) she says she’s been phoned by Trump numerous times about articles she’s written, sometimes angrily and sometimes thanking her if one said nice things about him. Of course all of Trump’s rage tweets are full of lies but why he thinks that saying he doesn’t speak to her has anything to do with the veracity of her story is unclear. He just lies compulsively without always any underlying purpose.

    I think Bill Maher summed it up nicely in Friday. “So Cohen has said he’d take a bullet for Trump. Now he’s being threatened with jail time let’s see if he’ll take a dick for him.” It’s no wonder Trump struggles to find lawyers who’ll act for him. He can’t keep his fucking mouth shut. He’s too dumb to know what’s incriminating and what isn’t and he’s still convinced that he sits god-like, above the law.

    What I think this ongoing debacle does show though is that the office of President is far too powerful. It’s almost impossible to prosecute a sitting president for crimes. The power of presidential pardon is far too open to abuse. Impeachment is not much of a check and balance when congress is full of partisan toadies who put party above country. The founding fathers thought that the system they had implemented would mean the cream of the crop would be winnowed out by the election process until only the best of the best had survived the county, then state, then national vote. They could not have known that 200 years later money would corrupt the process to the point that a complete conman and compulsive liar would be elected president. The Republicans led by toady in chief Mitch McConnell are refusing to implement any legislation to protect Mueller from being fired. We know they never impeach Trump while they hold the Senate.

    Mueller however has many options and he’ll know all of them very well. He can charge those he’s trying to flip with state crimes that Trump can’t pardon and maybe he can hold criminal charges against Trump over until he’s out of office.

    You can tell Trump is shitting his pants. He’s only nice to people he needs something from and what he needs most from Cohen is his silence. He won’t get it. Lawyers are compulsive note takers because they are trained to document everything in writing just as Comey has done. Even if Cohen tries to stay silent it’s probable that all of the dirt is already in his files.

  66. I see the woo-brained are abusing their positions in the English legal establishment, to discriminate against the non-religious in the provision of coroners’ services!

    Apparently they think that moving the religious to the front of the queue is granting equal rights under non-discrimination legislation!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-43922000

    A London coroner has been ordered by the High Court to change her “cab-rank” queuing policy for handling burials after it was ruled “unlawful”.

    Senior coroner Mary Hassell had said she would not fast-track inquests based on religion.

    Which is affording equal rights to all, and special privileges to none!

    Under Jewish and Islamic law, bodies must be buried on the day of death or as soon as possible afterwards.

    These have no jurisdiction in England!

    Her jurisdiction covers north London which is home to large communities of orthodox Jews and Muslims.

    Lord Justice Singh said the policy set by Ms Hassell was discriminatory and must be quashed.

    Demonstrating his inability to distinguish religious doctrines from UK and European statutory laws – along with an inability to comprehend the word “equality”!

    Sitting with Mrs Justice Whipple, he said:
    “We hope that, with appropriate advice from others, including the chief coroner and perhaps after consultation with relevant bodies in the community, the defendant can draft a new policy which meets the needs of all concerned, including protection of the legal rights of all members of the community.

    The “protection of the legal rights of all members of the community”, means that nobody gets the privilege of jumping the queue on the basis of some delusional belief that they are entitled to do so!

    Lawyers representing religious groups, who brought the legal challenge, argued Ms Hassell’s stance ignored “deeply held beliefs” of certain religious communities.

    They said Ms Hassell’s policy was unlawful and breached the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act.

    A statement which is either downright lies, or gross incompetence!

    The court previously heard the coroner’s patch covered the boroughs of Camden, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, which between them have “sizeable” Jewish and Muslim minority populations.

    Following the court’s ruling, Board of Deputies vice president Marie van der Zyl called on Ms Hassell to consider her position.”

    With this level of woo-biased incompetence and psychological projection, perhaps Marie van der Zyl should consider her position, or the legal establishment should do so for her!

    “She [Ms Hassell] has previously said that she does not believe that using her discretion to order cases, which she needs to do to uphold the religious freedom of the diverse communities she is meant to serve, is ‘fair’,” she [Marie van der Zyl] said.

    “If she cannot carry out this basic function of her role, she must vacate her position.

    “Whatever the future for the inner north London coroners’ service, the issues raised by this case have highlighted the lack of accountability for this public service and the pressing need for reform.”

    There is no need for “reforming” a scientific and medical legal service which is already operating on basis of equality, to make it theocracy compliant!
    There is however a very urgent need for some integration training for these ghetto communities, who think they are above English Law!

    Abdul Hai, a member of Camden Council’s ruling cabinet, described the court’s decision as a “resounding victory for those who have campaigned for the coroner’s service to be brought into the 21st Century”

    Or more accurately – to take the coroners’ service back into the dark ages!.

    “Over the past five years, the coroner has lost the confidence of the large sections of the communities in the four boroughs.

    “It is essential that she takes immediate action to rekindle that confidence,” he said.

    Yep! The woo-brained love playing the martyr!
    English medical and legal services should not be pandering to demands for religious privilege, and should certainly not be encouraging demands for religious privileges in the name of equality legislation or building confidence that such theocracies will be tolerated by the secular population!!

  67. Alan

    Well this is an interesting one!

    Although they may have had good reason to get a corpse underground posthaste in the past, we now have technology and methods to deal with a more lengthy stay above ground for certain reasons. Of course, if we get hit with a plague or all refrigeration fails us, I’ll be the first to change this policy.

    I can only imagine what would happen if I insisted that the dead person on the way into the coroner’s office be processed in a few minutes time because I need them to be six feet under by the time the sun goes down. I do believe the police will be knocking at my door with a search warrant as a minimum.

    Forensic science has the ability to discover all manner of bad behavior and fishy business. The development of forensic techniques is a fascinating story that is described in the book The Poisoner’s Handbook.

    It’s for the common good when everyone must accept the decision of autopsy and other investigations surrounding death even though it seems terribly intrusive at that sad time. Muslims and Jews aren’t the only ones who don’t want their loved ones autopsied. We are all equally capable of feeling upset about it. There is a legal process here for very good reasons. They are not special in life or in death.

  68. LaurieB #76
    Apr 27, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    We are all equally capable of feeling upset about it. There is a legal process here for very good reasons.

    Coroners courts are frequently involved in dealing with evidence in criminal cases.

    Senior coroner Mary Hassell had said she would not fast-track inquests based on religion.

    @#75 – Lord Justice Singh said the policy set by Ms Hassell was discriminatory and must be quashed.

    I would suggest that any judge who rules that function of anti-discrimination legislation is to award privilege to particular local cultural groups at the expense of minorities or others, should be investigated to see if his appointment was on the basis of “politically correct ethnic quotas”, rather than on legal competence!

    Properly applied anti-discrimination laws have no need for “fudge-judges”, who can’t interpret legal documents correctly, or who think that state anti-discrimination laws are subject to variation according to the feelings or beliefs of some particular local groups!

    Coroners’ courts are not there to appease local superstitious beliefs! They are there to investigate deaths in a scientific manner and where appropriate hear evidence in the identification of criminal activities!

    If the dogmas of some groups tell them that their beliefs and membership, entitles them to preferential treatment in public services, it is up to the secular law to disabuse them (and any confused judges), of those delusions!

  69. Well the coward-in-chief ducked the WH Correspondent’s Dinner again to go and rant and boast in front of some of his deplorables in Michigan. The man who brags he’d run to face down a guy with an AR-15 is too scared to face a girl with some rapid fire one liners. Comedienne Michelle Wolf of the Daily Show lambasted him in his absence though as well as excoriating the Huckabitch and Kellyanne Conway.

    Spanky phoned in to Fox and Fiends (sic) as well last week. He was on the line for 30 minutes and talked for…. yep 30 minutes. He babbled and ranted non stop until even the three white Trump apologist guys on a sofa had glazed expressions like how do we get this guy to shut the fuck up and go away? Trump trotted out some old favourites like how he’s achieved more in his first year than any president in history and a few bizarre new ones like “people keep coming up to me to ask how I manage to look so great”. Well people come up to me all the time in my imagination too Spanky. Unfortunately for his lawyers Trump also seemed to admit that Michael Cohen was acting for him when he negotiated the Stormy Daniels payoff which he’d denied knowing anything about up until now. He also admitted he hadn’t bought Melanoma a birthday present as he was too busy. Yeah she’ll understand Spanky, she wouldn’t want anything interrupting your executive time watching cable tv and scarfing down big Macs and diet coke. And it’s not like you have about 100 staffers who would run to the shops for you. I think the biggest mystery of the Trump administration to me is why that woman doesn’t divorce the fat slob right quick while she’s still young enough to find a real man. Probably a pre-nup somewhere at the root of things I’ll be bound.

    Doctor Ronny Jackson, whose main qualification to run the VA seemed to be lying about Trump’s height and weight, has withdrawn his application after a barrage of criticism from 20 or more people about him drinking on duty and handing out pills like candy. Jackson said it was because it was becoming a distraction to Trump. No Ronny, a distraction to Trump would be finding a cockroach in his family sized bucket of fried chicken or seeing another 71 year old playing golf and actually walking the course. Trump immediately blamed Jackson’s withdrawal on Democrats, the same imaginary democrats who control the imaginary House and imaginary Senate that Trump blames for his failure to appoint people to government jobs and get legislation passed.

    However the possibility of real Democrats controlling the real House and Senate gets ever closer. At a meeting in the WH, senior repugs like McConnell tried to convince Trump of the danger of this happening if they didn’t all get a plan together. “Won’t happen, can’t happen” said Trump in denial. His malignant narcissism won’t let him admit such a loss so he’ll be unable to plan for it. Trump will just fiddle while Congress burns, probably with his penis while thinking about Ivanka.

  70. LaurieB #79
    Apr 29, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    There’s an article on the Alfie Evans case on Quillette now.

    Here is a very relevant section from your link!

    Alfie’s case—like that of Charlie Gard last year—and the desperation of his young parents have been ruthlessly exploited by religious and political actors with dubious motives of their own.

    An American based pro-life activist named Christine Broesamle contacted Mr Evans early in the year after she read one of his Facebook posts. Previously, her contacts had offered to fly Charlie Gard to Rome, and she said the same could be done for Alfie.
    She also arranged for German and Italian doctors to visit Alder Hey posing as friends of the family.
    One of those doctors falsely claimed to have seen Alfie’s medical records and, on this basis, he pronounced Alfie “fit to fly.”
    He further suggested that Alfie could be prescribed an anti-convulsant, a claim the court found to be “entirely contra indicated by his medical history.” This was a gross breach of professional ethics, which unsurprisingly did more harm than good to Mr Evans’s case.

    The Evans family were also put in touch with an organisation called the Christian Legal Centre (CLC)—described in court as “a campaigning organisation” (it campaigns, inter alia, against abortion and gay rights)—which became publicly involved after the parents had lost the first two rounds of argument in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, and once the Supreme Court had ruled that it would not conduct a full hearing (although it did give a brief ruling without hearing oral argument).
    At that stage the parents’ legal options in this country would normally have been exhausted.

    Associated with the CLC was a man called Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile who has worked as an adviser to the current UKIP leader Gerard Batten. He is some sort of law student and wrote a letter
    in which he stated that:

    [A]s a matter of law it is your right to come to [the] hospital
    with a team of medical professionals with their own
    life-support equipment and move Alfie
    to such other place as you consider is best for him.
    You do not need any permission from [the] Hospital or the court to do so.

    This advice was flatly and unarguably wrong.
    One of the many rather mysterious things about the case is quite why the CLC needed to rely upon the legal advice of a law student when its own director, Andrea Minichiello Williams, describes herself to Companies House
    as a barrister (although for some reason she does not seem to be listed on the Bar Council directory of practising barristers).
    Even if Ms Minichiello Williams’s own legal knowledge is a little rusty, she had at her disposal the services of a practising barrister,
    Paul Diamond, who for 10 years has been “standing counsel” to the CLC. As long ago as 2008, Mr Diamond, a sole practitioner who gives his address as a post office box in Cambridge, was paid £100,000 p.a. for his services, which would appear to be something of a waste of money if they relied on the word of a law student instead.

    In accordance with the CLC’s legal advice, Mr Evans turned up at the hospital equipped with a foreign doctor and the staff of an air ambulance and asked to remove Alfie. There was some sort of confrontation with hospital staff, and the police were called.
    Back to court the parents went, now represented by Mr Diamond bearing a ‘habeas corpus’ application that can only be characterised as legally nonsensical —I suppose we can’t blame the law student for that, since it must have been Mr Diamond’s idea—which was inevitably struck out by both Hayden J. and the Court of Appeal.
    With remarkable understatement they described the application as “misconceived.”
    Far from helping the desperate parents, it is difficult to view the CLC’s involvement as anything other than exploitative.

    The nadir of this circus arrived with the announcement that summonses had been served on doctors at Alder Hey Hospital, charging them with conspiracy to murder: a stunt with not even a veneer of legal respectability.
    Theoretically, such a course could have left Mr Evans vulnerable to being sued for malicious prosecution (although I am sure that the doctors at Alder Hey would not have pursued it), and any lawyer associated with it would be hauled before his or her professional regulator.
    It is inconceivable that a barrister such as Mr Diamond could have advised his clients on such a course, so it is safe to assume that the advice to issue the summonses came from Mr Stroilov the law student.

    X-X-X-X-X-X-X

    This expands on my own conclusions which were stated on this other thread!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/11/an-exchange-on-abortion/#li-comment-231513

    Hopefully this will allow the unfortunate child to die in peace, although the “preserve-any-form-of-life-at-any-cost-regardless-of-suffering” brigade, may seek to exploit the grief and wish-thinking of these gullible parents, so as to wring out some more media propaganda for their ignorant delusional views!

  71. Excellent Quillette article.

    Thanks, Laurie.

    Parents may care most, generally speaking, but that doesn’t mean they know best, nor even care most for their offspring as their own personal misery is factored in.

    The current flight from expertise (expertise always in the medical profession leavened with compassion) must be stemmed.

  72. @#80 – The nadir of this circus arrived with the announcement
    that summonses had been served on doctors at Alder Hey Hospital,
    charging them with conspiracy to murder:
    a stunt with not even a veneer of legal respectability. . . . . .

    . . . . . so it is safe to assume that
    the advice to issue the summonses came from Mr Stroilov the law student.

    @Quillette link – More precious time was wasted while Mr Diamond was criticised by Hayden J. for speaking “ridiculous emotive nonsense” and “using the court as a platform for platitudes and soundbites” instead of making the proper legal submissions.

    That was polite compared to his description of Mr Stroilov,
    who he described as a “fanatical and deluded young man.”

    For those not in the UK or unfamiliar with UK legal qualifications, –
    a law student is nowhere near qualified as a lawyer!

    To become an English lawyer, students first have to pass an LLB university law degree. (Solicitor and barrister courses are different and lead to different qualifications and different careers)
    Then solicitors (lawyers) have to qualify on a post-graduate LPC (Legal Professional Practise) course.
    Then they have to be accepted by a law firm as being well enough qualified (eg.. have a first, or 2.1 law degree and LPC) to be offered employment on a training course with firm or partnership of qualified solicitors who supervise their work. (This is a sort of apprenticeship).
    If they successfully complete this training, they may then seek employment as qualified solicitors, but even then, they are expected to work within the specialist areas of law for which they have qualified, and to refer clients to other specialist solicitors for work on areas of law outside of their specialist training and areas of expertise!

    https://online.essex.ac.uk/blog/what-is-a-qualifying-law-degree/

    It appears that armed with the know-it-all delusions of “faith”, this grossly incompetent (undergraduate?) student, is ignoring legal codes of conduct and giving perverse advice, while posing as a legal professional!

    It seems that faith-head campaigners also employ pseudo-lawyers, as well as pseudo scientists, and disreputable quack pseudo-medics! 🙂

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