OPEN DISCUSSION – MAY 2018

205

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205 COMMENTS

  1. The May open discussion thread is now open.

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  2. I see the quacks are trying to preserve access for quacks to NHS money!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-43950865

    Bid to overturn homeopathy crackdown

    Homeopaths are seeking to overturn a decision by NHS bosses to recommend GPs no longer prescribe the treatment.

    The British Homeopathic Association has won the right to have a judicial review of the move.

    It was proposed last year by NHS England after a consultation, which the BHA is arguing was flawed.

    Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, has described homeopathy as “at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds”.

    At the High Court, Richard Clayton QC, who is representing the BHA, said the consultation, which ran ahead of the decision in November, had been overly complicated and failed to present both sides of the argument.

    Ah! – the false equivalence of “Both sides of the argument” – as if fanciful quackery was on a par with modern medical treatment!

    He said there was “ample” evidence that homeopathy worked but the consultation had been “completely one-sided”.

    Spoken like a true con-man! (“My evidence is that I assert there is ample evidence”! – when this claim contradicts the actual evidence from reputable studies, and no credible supporting evidence has been produced!)

    He also said the consultation documents were too technical and not understandable to the “ordinary person”.

    That’s the thing about modern medicine – it is too complicated for the gullible uneducated to understand, so posturing quacks can take advantage by pretending their mumbo-jumbo based rubbish is equivalent to expert medical opinion! (We can’t con the expert professionals – so let’s con the “ordinary person” who has no understanding of how biology and medical treatments work!)

    NHS England rejects the accusations.

    I think that’s what is known as peer review – or it would be;- if the homeopaths had produced any credible scientific papers which were fit for reviewing!

    The NHS itself says: “There is no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition.”

    Spending on homeopathy prescriptions accounted for about £92,000 last year.

  3. Arkrid Sandwich #207 (March OPEN DISCUSSION)
    Mar 29, 2018 at 12:25 am

    I think we also finally find out
    why the White House doctor Ronny Jackson gave the obese Trump such a glowing health report in January.
    Quid pro quo for the VA job it seems which he’s just landed.

    I’m uncertain if Ronnie Jackson followed a similar procedure,
    but it seems that the glowing health report from Doctor Harold Bornstein was fake news written by Trump!!
    The hyped superlatives probably give away that it was NOT a professionally written medical report!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43970908

    Donald Trump wrote own health letter, says physician Harold Bornstein

    Donald Trump’s former doctor has said he did not write a 2015 letter declaring the then-Republican presidential candidate’s “astonishingly excellent” health, US media report.

    “[Mr Trump] dictated that whole letter,” Harold Bornstein told CNN.

    The White House has not yet commented on the physician’s allegation.

    Mr Bornstein also said that Mr Trump’s bodyguard had carried out a “raid” on his offices in February 2017, removing all of Mr Trump’s medical records.

    In an interview with CNN, Mr Bornstein said the 2015 letter suggesting that Mr Trump would be the “healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency” was not his professional assessment.

    “[Mr Trump] dictated the letter and I would tell him what he couldn’t put in there,” he said.

    It is not clear why Mr Bornstein is making these allegations now.

    The letter’s contents included statements on Mr Trump’s physical strength and stamina, which were described as “extraordinary”.

    His blood pressure and laboratory tests were described as “astonishingly excellent” and he was said to have lost 15 pounds (7kg) over the course of a year.

    It added that Mr Trump had no forms of cancer or joint surgery.

    A few weeks ahead of its release, Mr Trump tweeted that Mr Bornstein’s medical report would show “perfection”.

    Of course it turns out, that it was not authored by Dr Bernstein, and was not a professional medical report!

    “I am fortunate to have been blessed with great genes,” Mr Trump, who became the oldest president to be elected in US history, wrote on Facebook at the time.

    In January this year Mr Trump had a three-hour examination amid speculation over his mental health.

    His White House doctor, Ronny Jackson, said at the time: “I have no concerns about his cognitive ability or neurological functions.”

    What about Mr Bornstein’s office ‘raid’?

    The New York City-based physician said he was visited by one of Mr Trump’s personal bodyguards and two other men at his office on 3 February 2017.

    “They must have been here for 25 or 30 minutes, it created a lot of chaos,” Mr Bornstein told NBC News, adding that the incident made him feel “raped, frightened and sad”.

    He said the original and only copy of Mr Trump’s medical charts, including lab reports, were taken by his aides.

    The incident took place shortly after The New York Times published a report in which Mr Bornstein said he had prescribed Mr Trump with Propecia, an anti-baldness drug.

    White House press secretary Sarah Sanders later insisted that the incident was not a raid and that it was “standard procedure” for the White House Medical Unit to take possession of the president’s medical records.

  4. The lies are piling up so thick and fast in Trumpland at the moment it’s hard to keep up. Two weeks ago Trump’s biographer told about how Trump started lying in school, about his baseball scores, inventing sports tournaments he claimed to have won that never happened and claiming he was voted Ladies Man of the Year in a school that had no female students. However those lies paled into insignificance with later ones as Trump extended his range of mendacity. When he was really worth only about $5 million he claimed to Forbes he was worth $200 million to get on their rich list. He inflated the number of apartments he claimed to own in NY by a factor of 3 and the value of each of them by over 2 and said they were loan free when they were actually mortgaged up to the hilt. He had no actual equity other than the seed money his father had given to him. Forbes thought they were being prudent by halving his worth and including him in the list at $100 million but they hadn’t realised what Trump had. If you tell a small lie people just see it as a lie. If you tell huge enough lies then people think there must be some kernel of truth or that there can’t be that much smoke without any fire.

    Trump played the same game in later years, constantly inflating his claims about his net worth up into the billionaire ranks. He suffered a setback when he sued a reporter for libel after an article saying he wasn’t a billionaire. Trump lost when he couldn’t prove to the judge that he was worth that much. The judge’s decision stated that Trump was probably worth only about $200-300 million from the evidence he had seen. However that didn’t stop Trump from continuing to inflate his claims up to the $10 billion figure he trumpeted during the campaign and Forbes have him listed at $3.5 billion so they clearly never learned their lesson.

    Now we find that Rudy Guiliani, Trump’s new lawyer, says that Trump did reimburse Michael Cohen for the $130,000 paid to Stormy Daniels. That makes both Trump and Cohen liars for many months but of course we already knew that. Cohen’s story was preposterous which will not sit well with a judge if Cohen faces trial. Lawyers are supposed to be truthful although that’s as big a fiction as Trump’s hair and tan.

    We live in a strange world in which Trump has destroyed all the norms. All we get from him and his surrogates are lies and we get the truth from comedy shows like Samantha Bee and John Oliver. Sam Bee’s show yesterday excoriated the pathalogical liar the Huckabitch who was pilloried by Michelle Wolf at the WHCA dinner. The press have clearly lost whatever spine they might once have had by criticising Wolf for being mean to Sanders.

    It’s depressing to have to keep covering this stuff. Trump has lied over 4,000 times in office now which rivals the number of court cases he has faced. It would have sunk any other president without trace but the religious right have no limits to the behaviour they will tolerate. Sam Bee’s show went to a Trump rally and chatted with some deplorables. One said she watched 10-12 hours of Fox News a day and still thinks Trump is doing great. People would probably have liked Hitler too if the only info they had about him was from chatting to his mum. Another said he doesn’t know and wouldn’t talk to any Democrats or liberals. He doesn’t speak to that “species”.

    America is truly a country of two separate species. The humans and the Republicans.

  5. Arkrid #5

    The lies are piling up so thick and fast in Trumpland at the moment
    it’s hard to keep up.

    The man is a complete fantasist, without an ounce of integrity. It fits with his narcissism, too: in his eyes, even if it is not literally true that he is the biggest, best, richest, cleverest and all the rest, it should be and if the world were run properly, he would be, and for him, that makes it “true” even if not literally “true“. Alternative facts, remember.

    The world has known fantasists and liars before. The really perplexing thing is how America has fallen for such an obvious one.

    The two lies that have been exposed in the last 2 days – first, the letter about his “astonishingly excellent” health supposedly written by his doctor; then, the payment to Stormy Daniels – were both so wholly transparent, right from the start. The letter was so obviously written in Trumpese – no one else writes in that ridiculous, superlative-obsessed fashion. And OF COURSE Cohen was reimbursed for the $130k – I mean, who the hell is naive enough to believe a lawyer hands across that kind of money for a client from his own pocket?

    The dangers of keeping a population in ignorance and teaching them to accept on faith rather than evidence have never been more obvious.

    Unless you’re one of the rich and powerful, of course: if you are, then the rewards of keeping them in ignorance and teaching them to accept on faith rather than evidence have never been more obvious.

  6. It also seems that the list of questions Mueller wants to ask Trump that the NYT received may have been leaked by Trump or the WH despite him screaming that the leak from Mueller was a disgrace. Apparently the list the NYT received was full of spelling and grammar errors and not written in legalese and they had to tart it up before publication to make it readable. That would fit very well with Trump wanting to maintain his witch hunt claims. I’m sure Mueller runs a tighter ship.

  7. It all underscores his utter contempt for everything that gets between him and what he wants (i.e. more power and more wealth for himself): truth, law, the American public, democracy itself.

  8. @ Marco #6

    lies that have been exposed in the last 2 days first, the letter about his “astonishingly excellent” health
    supposedly written by his doctor

    Even better is the revelation mentioned earlier by Alan that Trump’s previous, rather eccentric physician (Harold Bornstein) had his office raided by an attorney accompanied by couple of bodyguard goons in February 2017 to seize all of Trump’s health records, without prior notice, in breach of normal protocols, after the guy had (admittedly unprofessionally) revealed in public that he had been treating Trump with drugs for baldness, and prostate problems (with likely impotence implications). Rather belatedly, he admitted that Trump had dictated the pre-election medical report he issued. The now disgraced White House medic Admiral ‘Ronny’ Jackson who fronted the presidential health check has so far not owned up to engaging in a similar deception.

  9. It’s really a shame that we couldn’t have known any of this stuff about Trump before the primaries and the election.

    [Sarcasm off]

    I wonder if any of his supporters will learn anything (of value) from this experience, which is going to get worse before it gets better.

  10. @ Arkrid Sandwich #5

    We live in a strange world in which Trump has destroyed all the norms.
    All we get from him and his surrogates are lies

    You realise of course that much of this comes from his father, the ‘exceptional’ genes he inherited. As an example: while a slum landlord in New York in the early 1950’s, Fred Trump (Trump snr.) had many apartments in Jewish areas, so in order to sell to Jewish tenants who might be averse to dealing with a German, he lied about his ethnicity by claiming to be of Swedish origin. The Trump family maintained this deception until the 1980’s.

    The other significant influence, of course, came via the notorious mob lawyer Roy Cohn, who was for many years the Trump family/company counsel, ‘fixer’, and mentor to Donald. Given such a background it is clear what kind of person, compliant in that environment, would eventually emerge.

    If I were to attack the US media for anything, it would be for their dereliction of duty in not exposing this filthy degenerate and his toxic influence on society from the outset, instead of reporting on it for so long as mere entertainment.

    However, it should not be forgotten that Trump isn’t operating in a vacuum. There is a major political party, a religious movement, and a third of American voters supporting him uncritically. What does that say about America? It’s not the ‘Leader of the Free World’, that’s for sure.

  11. rogeroney

    What does that say about America?

    This is the most depressing part of the whole sordid shitty affair; watching that many people refuse to accept the truth of what’s right in front of their noses; we have a corrupt lying psychopath for a President who has brought all of his mega-thieving friends right along with him. The fleecing of the American public brought on by short sighted, brainwashed, fear based bully worshipers. Who knew there were so many of them? It’s downright depressing.

  12. rogeroney #12
    May 3, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    What does that say about America? It’s not the ‘Leader of the Free World’, that’s for sure.

    But the Republicans are the representatives of global, freely deregulated, corrupt, and unfettered exploitative elites, and leaders of the “Free-dumb” self-defeating sheeple herds!
    (Free from competent education and critical rational thinking)

  13. Meanwhile in the English local elections, Farage’s bought stooge ‘KIPpers have served their disruptive purpose, so the sponsor who funded them has withdrawn, thus leaving them to their party’s usual petty irrelevant in-fighting, – typical of clueless rebels looking for an anti-establishment cause!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44002060

    The UK Independence Party has suffered a near wipeout in the council seats it was defending in the English local elections.

    With 99 of the 150 councils declared, the party had won just two seats – both in Derby – and lost 92.

    It would be excellent if the Republican Trumpies have a similar result in the autumn 2018 US mid-term elections!

  14. I don’t read much into the demise of UKIP, Alan.

    The party may have sunk into oblivion, but it’s still setting national policy, having had its own policies adopted wholesale by the Tory government.

    Why bother voting for UKIP when you can vote Tory (or even Labour) with the same effect but far more chance of winning? UKIP itself couldn’t bend over further to please its supporters than our Tory government is doing. And our Labour opposition too, for that matter.

  15. LaurieB #13
    May 3, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    This is the most depressing part of the whole sordid shitty affair; watching that many people refuse to accept the truth of what’s right in front of their noses;

    But that’s exactly what religion always does. It conditions people to accept dogma and preconceptions instead of facts and evidence right in front of them. The majority of the deplorables are religious nationalists which is another term for racist bigots who hanker for the 50s when women and niggers knew their place, god was a white god for white people, homosexuals were deviants who deserved to be killed or at least recognised as not real Americans and abortion was a sin. God has appointed Trump to lead them out of the wilderness because god can use bad people to do good things and because he’s god’s choice they don’t give a flying fuck how he behaves, what he says or how much he lies. He’s still working to put right wing judges in the courts for them who might one day repeal Rowe v Wade and he’s keeping the dark skinned invaders out who would otherwise come here to rape their women, take their jobs and suicide bomb them, (ok some of them might be good folks).

    It was interesting watching Sam Bee’s show ask the deplorables at the Trump rally if they were satisfied with what Trump had achieved in office. They were very satisfied but when asked with what exactly could only come up with the tax cut and Trump bringing peace to Korea single handed which means a week ago they would only have been able to think of the tax cut. Why they think the tax cut was a good thing is beyond me. It didn’t help any of them; judging by their clothes and diction these were not multi millionaires. Even little Marco Rubio, who crawled so far up Trump’s fat arse he hasn’t seen daylight for a year is saying it only served to let big corporations buy their shares back and rich people get richer. But Fox Noise says the tax cut is great and god must have a plan for all this because Trump is his messiah so they cheer and clap and chant Nobel, Nobel. They don’t want facts about Trump any more than they want facts about their christianity – facts get right in the way of keeping the faith. Facts are the devil’s semen, sprayed out to confuse the faithful from his ungodly black cock. Facts are hot and salty and hard to swallow. What they want is platitudes and lots of them.

  16. @ Arkrid Sandwich #17

    Why they think the tax cut was a good thing is beyond me. It didn’t
    help any of them

    This reminds me of one of my favourite “Trump supporter” jokes:

    There are two types of Trump supporter : Billionaires and Idiots. Check your wallet to see which kind you are.

  17. Okay, so I posted here earlier and the post was, um, short-lived.

    I was probably a bit too angry. Here is another shot at it.

    I am greatly disturbed by the nature of the posts that I have seen in comments sections at this site recently – and also very disappointed because, well, it’s not like I haven’t pointed out this kind of thing before.

    Comments, almost across the board, are showing a disturbing lack of skepticism about how the media are covering politics – in particular US politics.

    Here is a great introduction to the problem from the Washington Post. The TLDR version is: The media coverage of the Trump Administration is a circus (please note: their words, not mine) designed to distract us all from what is really going on – and what’s really going on is a horror story.

    The Washington Post is not alone. See here for some insight from venerable characters of the US political left. TLDR: Michael Moore, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren bemoan the fact that the media is using the Trump Circus like a set of shiny keys (again please note: their words, not mine) to distract voters.

    Question: Is it a good thing for a site that supports critical thinking and promotes evidence-based policymaking to be over-run by comments that focus on some “shiny keys”.

    I appreciate that a site which uses news as one of its main ways of seeding a new dialogue will tend to follow the main stories of the day to some degree. BUT (note the BIG BUT), a site that simply follows the privately-owned-media’s agenda is one that fails to seed an alternative public discourse.

    Alternative public discourse = alternative political discourse. Alternative political discourse = what is required to change politics and get it focussed on facts.

    Look, I get it, watching the Trump Train-Wreck-in-slow-motion is a lot of fun. And yes, Mueller may, in the fullness of time, reveal Trump to the World in all of his, erm, ‘glory’?

    I don’t care. I want to change the World for the better and that means I want us to focus on the things that count.

    Here’s a seed for an alternative dialogue: How do we get these people to change their vote?

    TLDR: ABC News has been following a town that voted almost solidly Trump for a year. The Democrats, according to the voters there, put up such a terrible candidate against Trump that they held their noses and voted Trump. But as we watch the Trump government fail these people we can see that, even though dogmatic thinking is not in short supply, there is wiggle room to move some of them to vote differently.

    There are hints in the ABC report that any analyst worth their salt will see as clear finger-posts to a political sea change.

    That sea change, and the next election cycle, is what we should be discussing – that we should be helping to shape. And we should be using this space, and whatever attention we command, to moving the voter’s attention away from the circus, and towards the things that matter to so many of them, and which are being vanadalized outside the circus tent while they’re not watching.

    Before anyone in the US gets the impression that I’m some superior Brit – no my friend we too have our circus; it’s called BREXIT, and it soaks up almost all of the British polity’s attention.

    So please, everyone, can we focus less on porn stars and the possible-but-long-shot work of a Special Counsel and talk more about what’s happening that is, and will, actually harm American Voters – a lot more.

  18. @ Stephen of Wimbledon #20

    can we focus less on porn stars and the possible-but-long-shot work of
    a Special Counsel and talk more about what’s happening that is, and
    will, actually harm American Voters – a lot more.

    Stephen, you are right to point out what I believe to be a deliberate policy of distraction by the Trump circus on the one hand, and a gross dereliction of duty by the ‘serious’ media to properly investigate issues on the other hand.
    However, I think you’ll find that at any one time there are multiple threads on this site where perhaps the greatest source of harm to American voters – the insidious grip achieved by the far-right ‘christian’ fundamentalist faction on America’s institutions – is given plenty of attention.

  19. S of Wimbledon

    We have the NY Times, the Washington Post and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC to provide details and explanation on the damage being done behind the scenes of this American circus. I don’t know what percent of the population follow the deep damage that Trump & co. are doing to this country. I do know that Trump supporters are steadfast in their support of their hero/bully and trying to talk sense into them is an exercise in futility. I can’t bear to try anymore.

    It must seem to outsiders that the American liberals/Democrats are just apathetic slugs who take what Trump wants to dish out, but until we get the report from the special prosecutor there isn’t a whole lot we can do. I feel my fellow Americans holding their breath waiting for the midterm elections so we can gain control of the congress and neutralize Trump and his agenda. Until then, unless the special prosecutor comes out with a major finding, we can protest and sneer at his disgusting behavior and coarse behavior until the day we cast our ballots.

    What worries me and others is the question of whether or not things that they are wrecking can be fixed in the future or not. We have definitely blown off steam here on a regular basis since the election day that ushered a rat into the White House. I think we have acknowledged that an anti-science and pro-religion force has gained the upper hand here and are racing against time to deconstruct our secular system and replace it with that of the Christian fundamentalists. The next election in November will be indicative of what the American public wants to do about that situation. A surge back to secularism or double down on a reactionary agenda that will have far reaching consequences.

    I don’t blame you for chiding us on our commenting content but also, maybe you can prompt us to dig deeper when you see fit.

  20. Here’s a seed for an alternative dialogue: How do we get these people to change their vote?

    Steven, as an American that lives with these people, its not gonna happen.
    The religious right is accepting of corruption, rape, torture, and war.
    I never realized how stupid the average citizen of the USA is. I’m sixty-three.
    Education is not the answer. We have plenty of opportunities for self education.
    Brainwashing at a young age is the problem. The religious right has demonized education and science to try to keep the young under control. And now they have demonized government outright.
    On my street of ten families, I don’t have anything to do with half.
    This is not normal.

  21. The next election in November will be indicative of what the American public wants to do about that situation.

    Laurie, If I thought these people could be given “facts” and actually believe them, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. There is no logic with the fundies. That’s the wall.
    I don’t think the fundies will change if they heard the Trump murdered someone on fifth avenue.
    “Its Gawds will and he is forgiven”.

  22. alf

    I agree with everything you said in 26. It feels hopeless to me. Just this morning at the hairdressers everyone was chatting amicably when one woman, a FUX news mean bitch went on a rant about how liberals want open borders. Drugs pouring in over the southern border and killing our kids. The rest of us stared out the window because she’s hopelessly brainwashed. Just. effing. gone. A real nasty hater who’s totally invested in the snake in the White House and his snake friends. She wrecked my whole day and the other women’s too. I came home and ate cookies for therapy. My hair looks good though.

  23. Laurie, But, what kind of cookies were they? That’s important. I have eaten more cookies this year than
    in the last ten years. I think Jeff Sessions has something to do with this.

  24. Tears of bitter resentment cookies, but I’m not picky. Picky eaters are control freaks. Another one of my pet peeves.

  25. So cadet bone spurs pulls the USA out of the Iran nuclear deal with no apparent alternative plan to put in its place. Of course it was much easier to criticize the deal than improve on it. After all it must have been a lousy deal because President Blackenstein, Trump’s dark nemesis, signed it. The man who ridiculed him at the 2011 WHCA dinner while he stewed in his seat and turned red. Trump main agenda has been to undo everything his hated predecessor put into place.

    Kin Jong Un should take note. Liars and conmen don’t tend to keep their word and the USA’s means nothing while Trump is president. Personally I think the rest of the world should now just ignore the USA as irrelevant to it. Get on with business and let the 5 year old child in the room scream and stamp its feet.

  26. What knocked me back on my heals, debating the merits of a representative government, with a scientist (a liberal, reason’n’evidence American) was a trust in the wisdom of the masses, or, at least an acquiescence in the face of it…

    There is no preventing the tyranny of the masses. And there probably shouldn’t be…

    There is some sort of faith in hyper-democracy, a trust that individuals are not the easiest creatures to bamboozle and that bamboozlers do not abound, that individuals together become wise, that or in concert they define what is moral and that government with access to expertise, must never even hint at dirigisme, for that is the slippery slope to….?

    It brought me back to Dan’s utter distaste for “Our Revolution”.

    The US seems to live on the tritest of aphoristic political narratives which are held like articles of faith, rather than a first order pragmatic kluge.. Increasingly in debates I’m having they come across as political virgins.

    I’m shooting at the left here. Yes its been fragmented by identity politics and needs to come back together now we know better and can all see our biggest enemy is held in common. But in the US they are often too feeble in their outrage to consider wider political action.

    Government as evil self serving beast by nature has gone in deep.

  27. Not content with showing the world he can’t be trusted to honour international agreements by leaving the Iran deal, Trump is now showing Congress he can’t be trusted to honour domestic ones by trying to rescind parts of the budget he just signed. He wants to claw back $15 billion of spending including $3 billion on the Children’s Health Insurance Program which provides medical care to sick children. In the November elections Democrats are going to have so many things they can hammer Trump loving Republicans over the head with they’re going to run out of airtime.

    Trump seems intent on burning every bridge he comes across and has not the slightest conception that at some point in the future he’ll need the help of people he’s busy stabbing in the back right now. Democrats are never again going to trust him to honour bilateral agreements, world leaders are already talking about cutting the USA out of international deals and working round him rather than with him. Trump’s modus operandum is to keep painting himself into a corner and then screaming about how he can’t walk out of the room now. If he’d just said the Iran deal was flawed or capable of improvement he could have given himself some wiggle room but because it was Obama’s deal it had to be pathetic, the worst deal in the history of the world, and then he’d have looked weak if he’d stayed in it and Trump hates looking weak which is tricky to avoid when you’re a spineless coward with hurty bone spurs.

    He’s said to be ranting in private already about Giuliani making things worse for him but then he keeps picking useless people to work for him because no one competent will do so. His lawyers tried to coach him about possible Mueller questions last week but Trump wouldn’t stop talking about himself for long enough for anyone else to speak. In 4 hours they only managed to cover two questions.

    An engineer friend of mine used to say you can’t educate pork. Instead of actually ever being great Trump has just spent his life lying to others about how great he is. Whether he believes it or not is unknown but it’s clear he’s pretty much incapable of being educated now. You can’t make deals if A) you won’t ever listen and learn and B) no one trusts you to keep your word.

    What Trump actually does do well is destroy things. He destroys trust, he destroys relationships, he destroys the reputations of everyone who comes into contact with him and thankfully he’s also destroying the Republican party and all of its candidate’s chances of getting re-elected. Mind you it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys. They hitched on to his corrupt wagon like leeches, they’re attacking a bona fide hero John McCain for daring to stand up to a draft dodging coward, they’re attacking Mueller for trying to get to the bottom of Russian intervention in the election, they’ve taken trillions away from the poor and middle classes to give it to the rich and tried their best to destroy the health care system. They’re all just smaller versions of their spineless, treasonous leader. It is beyond comprehension to this observer at least how such a large proportion of the electorate remain blind to how the people they voted in are actually destroying the country brick by brick.

  28. A Trump tweet from earlier today:

    The Fake News is working overtime. Just reported that, despite the
    tremendous success we are having with the economy & all things else,
    91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake). Why do we work so
    hard in working with the media when it is corrupt? Take away
    credentials?

    Why is he so often called unpredictable, when actually, every single thing he does or threatens to do was totally predictable before he ever got elected? Did anyone ever seriously think this was a man who valued a free press?

  29. 91% of the Network News about me is negative (Fake).

    Marco, notice how we was stupid enough to publicly conflate negative with fake?! What a tell! He’s confirming that anything he perceives as negative is therefore fake. What a lunatic! Not that we didnt already know it but he’s such an idiot he doesn’t realize he shouldn’t advertise it.

  30. There’s no doubting that Trump will go down in history as the most mentally challenged President ever. I will be astonished if he manages to last another year in office.

    Incidentally has anyone noticed how proud he is to show the scrawl he employs as a signature when signing something that looks much like a series of alternate up and down lines and is wholly unrecognizable as his name. It’s yet another clownish attribute that I freely chuckle at.

  31. Well Spanky got himself a nice little photo op at Andrews Air Force base last night welcoming the three captives NK released. He’s crowing about it mightily on twitter and hoping it’ll distract from his many other problems. Maybe he thinks Kim will give up his nukes as easily as he gave up the hostages. Dream on Spanky. Kim is playing you like a cheap fiddle. He’s thrown you a little bone but he knows if he gives up his nukes it’s game over for him. Fetch the bone Spanky, good dog, now drop it, drop boy. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Kim is teaching Spanky all about bait and switch and Spanky’s narcissism makes him an easy mark. Spanky thinks it’s nukes that are on offer when they meet but Kim is just strengthening his relationships with SK and China so he can become a major player and insulate himself from American attack.

  32. I dislike how the USA is becoming anti science and can you guys give me any advice for immigrating to another country/leaving the united states?

  33. Jacob #40
    May 10, 2018 at 10:30 am

    I dislike how the USA is becoming anti science
    and can you guys give me any advice
    for immigrating to another country/leaving the united states?

    I replied to your earlier asking of this question, over on this link:

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/09/whose-science-critics-say-proposed-nm-science-standards-omit-evolution-climate-change/#li-comment-231733

    If you wish to discuss any features I listed, please continue the discussion on this OPEN DISCUSSION THREAD, which is specifically for user raised issues.

  34. My disgust levels are rising atm. A Fox News guest, retired air force general Thomas McInerny said in respect of the Gina Haspel CIA nomination that torture works “it worked on John McCain. That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.” McCain who spent 5 years in a vietnamese prison after his plane was shot down was tortured to the point his arms have permanent disabilities and he refused an early release back to the USA while others of his comrades were still being held. He says he never gave any classified intel to the vietnamese despite the years of torture. McCain opposes Haspel’s appointment as CIA director because she oversaw waterboarding and other torture during the Bush era.

    In another vicious attack on McCain white house staffer Kelly Sadler said it doesn’t matter what McCain thinks of Haspel as he’s dying of brain cancer anyway.

    Of course this sort of vile behaviour has already been condoned by Trump who actually derided McCain for being captured by the Vietnamese and said he prefers soldiers who don’t get captured. In fact the coward Trump prefers not being a soldier at all having dodged the draft to Vietnam 5 times to ensure there was no chance of him personally getting captured by anyone.

    I obviously don’t agree with the side of the aisle McCain sits on and he did go a bit mad when he was running for president but he’s a god damn genuine war hero and none of these people are fit to lick his boots never mind criticize that he got captured for 5 years. But he gave the famous thumbs down to the healthcare bill so now he’s a target for opposing Hair Fuhrer and not being a faithful sycophant like the other toadies in the Repugnicant party. I thought members of the military were sacrosanct, especially vets who served their time and more especially captives who resisted torture for years. Not if they oppose Trump in any way it seems. Nothing matters as much to these scum as putting party before country and rich before poor. I don’t think these filth just need voting out of office. I think they need exterminating like bugs in an infested house.

    2 years ago I could not have imagined that the Republican party would soon be waging an all out attack on its own security services, the FBI and even war heroes and siding instead with the old enemy Russia who corrupted the election in their favour. I can’t say I’m ashamed to be an American as this evil behaviour occurs as I’m not one but I’m ashamed to be a human being. It is my conclusion that judging by its voters and by the politicians in the Republican party that America is now an evil country in many respects. Not just misguided but actually evil and with subhumans in positions of power.

  35. More than anything we need decent Republicans to split from the “Moral Catastrophe of the Right”. Too many are keeping their head down.

    New Republicans.

  36. Horrific news on Samantha Bee’s program this week. We’re all familiar hopefully with the lead in water horror of Flint Michigan, in no small part due to Michael Moore’s coverage whose home town it is. However Sam reported that over 3,800 other communities in the USA have lead levels in their water at least twice as high as Flint. The need for a robust and proactive EPA is paramount but Trump and Scott Pruit are doing their best to strangle it. Perhaps the Republicans are not concerned because mentally retarded children are much more likely to vote for them than smart and well educated ones.

  37. Arkrid Sandwich #45
    May 11, 2018 at 5:58 am

    The need for a robust and proactive EPA is paramount
    but Trump and Scott Pruit are doing their best to strangle it.
    Perhaps the Republicans are not concerned because mentally retarded children are much more likely to vote for them than smart and well educated ones.

    Ah! The USA – The land of the gun-toting cowboys, Faux-News, salesmen with “free speech”, and uneducated “customers” making (free from objective information) choices, on behalf of themselves and everyone else!

    I see they have also just de-funded the top NASA greenhouse monitoring programme!

  38. New Mexico Democratic congressional candidate Pat Davis has started airing tv ads which say “Fuck the NRA”. “If Congress won’t change the gun laws, we’ll change congress”. The tv station has had to air the ads unbleeped because censoring political ads is against the law.

    Wow, a Dem with an actual pair of balls. Bill Maher is going to have an orgasm in next week’s show.

  39. Hope you enjoyed your happiness while it lasted, Phil. Robert Reich has just posted this on his Facebook page.

    This morning I phoned my friend, the former Republican member of
    Congress.

    He (laughing): Shall I reserve a seat for you in Oslo?

    Me: No way Trump gets the Peace Prize.

    He: What if Kim gets rid of his whole damn nuke program because Trump
    scared the sh*t out of him?

    Me: Even if Trump becomes Pope, it won’t stop the blue wave.

    He: Be careful, my friend. Trump’s approvals are rising.

    Me: Yeah, from the sewer to a toilet. He’s gonna be a huge problem for
    Republicans this fall.

    He: Let me tell you something. Voters aren’t hearing a damn thing from
    the Dems. Nada. Zilch. If your party thinks it can win by sitting on
    their duffs and spouting anti-Trump crapola, they’re wrong. You think
    average Joe and Jane really think Dems are standing up for them? (He
    laughs.) Pelosi and Schumer? Give me a break.

    Me: Doesn’t matter. We flip 24 seats, we retake the House. And 23
    Republicans are trying to defend seats where Hillary won. Should be a
    cinch.

    He: Don’t bet on it. And you can forget the Senate.

    Me: Whatever, Trump won’t make it to 2020. If Mueller doesn’t skewer
    him, the Stormy Daniels stuff will.

    He: You still don’t get it. Mueller and Stormy won’t lay a glove on
    him, and I’ll tell you why. He’s a jerk but he’s shaking things up,
    and voters like that. Every time he takes a dump on somebody
    important, they cheer. Whenever he skewers another sacred cow, they
    applaud. The more offensive he is, the more people say “this guy is
    real.” Doesn’t matter what Mueller finds or what a porn star says.
    Trump is Teflon.

    Me: Whatever happened to your prediction that the GOP would dessert
    him once they got their tax bill enacted?

    He: I wasn’t paying attention to the Trump coalition.

    Me: What coalition?

    He: Trump has pulled together the white working class and the moneyed
    interests of America. No one thought it possible. It’s the new
    Republican Party. Racist, anti-foreigner, deregulation, tax cuts.
    Reagan on steroids. Unbeatable. If he wants a second term, he gets it.

    I’m not close enough to it all to know how accurate his Republican friend is here; but when I look at the equivalent demographic in the UK – who were swayed in similar ways by similar impulses in 2016 – I don’t see any significant signs that they no longer want the same things now.

    What do those of you in the US think?

  40. This is exactly the stuff of my current nightmares, Marco. What if chance events…..

    It might not be for a decade or too, but if the the Peace Prize judges awarded it to Trump they might in fact be fomenting the bloodiest guerrilla civil war ever. Could they be that stupid? Are the regressive left that emotionally superficial, that intellectually shallow?

  41. phil rimmer #50
    May 14, 2018 at 2:47 am

    It might not be for a decade or too, but if the the Peace Prize judges awarded it to Trump they might in fact be fomenting the bloodiest guerrilla civil war ever.
    Could they be that stupid?

    I don’t think Trump/Pompeo are offering anything of value!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44101068

    The US may allow private companies to invest in North Korea, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.

    In an interview on Fox News Sunday, he clarified that this would be conditional on the country’s full denuclearisation.

    So as a “great deal”, disarm themselves, and invite in the empire-building US corporate rip-off artists to run their economy!

    He said US investors could help build its energy grid.

    The North Koreans would have to be idiots to invite in backward-looking US Trumpy energy companies, when they have existing arrangements with China – The world leader on manufacturing renewable systems!

    This comes after his trip to Pyongyang last week and ahead of President Donald Trump’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

    The US announced its offer to help rebuild the North Korean economy on Friday, but Mr Pompeo has now given more details on the proposal.

    “This will be Americans coming in – private sector Americans, not the US taxpayer – private sector Americans coming in to help build out the energy grid. They need enormous amounts of electricity in North Korea,” he said.

    He also suggested agricultural investment, so North Koreans “can eat meat and have healthy lives”.

    Yep! The North Koreans could lose 90% of their agricultural production in food-chain losses producing meat! – AND convert to a “healthy” US fast-food burger diet, after handing over their agriculture and food industries to the corporate US!

    It sounds very much like Trumponomics!
    Address food shortages (caused by foreign imposed economic sanctions), by feeding a large proportion of your national food production to animals, to produce meat for burger chains and steak-houses!

  42. More ‘winning’ from Trump, with his latest his ‘peace initiative’ in Jerusalem : nothing says “peace” like 58 Palestinians killed, 2,700 wounded, renewed hostilities between Iran and Israel, and U.S. allies snubbed. The guests at yesterday’s pantomime Embassy opening ceremony :

    Jared Kushner, Trump son-in-law, a slum landlord with a felon for a father and a billion dollar debt liability, who reminded the audience that he’s in charge of Trump’s “efforts to bring peace,” while denouncing unarmed Palestinians for being shot.

    Robert Jeffress, the pastor who gave the opening prayer, who has said that both Islam and Mormonism are “heresy from the pit of hell” — and that Jews are bound for that same destination. “You can’t be saved being a Jew,” he said in a 2010 interview.

    John Hagee, an evangelical Christian leader who gave a closing prayer, who is known among other things for once saying that God allowed the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed, to happen “because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.”

    Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was standing at Trump’s side last year when the president said there were “very fine people” among neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville and later defended Trump’s handling of the situation.

    Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who spoke at a reception for the U.S. delegation, after which Kushner and Ivanka Trump asked for Yosef’s blessing. The rabbi recently compared black people to monkeys and proposed blessing only “a person with a white father and mother.”

    Trump serves up a cadre of racists and anti-Semites, and still Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu applauds “a great day for peace.”

    Gee, hoowee, it sure makes you proud to be a ‘murcan, don’t it ?

  43. rogeroney

    Gee, hoowee, it sure makes you proud to be a ‘murcan, don’t it ?

    I am thoroughly disgusted by these stupid psychopaths. That whole ceremony with Kushner and Ivanka was puke worthy. What a disgrace.

  44. rogeroney #53
    May 15, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    More ‘winning’ from Trump, with his latest his ‘peace initiative’ in Jerusalem : nothing says “peace” like 58 Palestinians killed, 2,700 wounded,
    renewed hostilities between Iran and Israel, and U.S. allies snubbed.

    Those of us with long memories recall the earlier Trump posturings as a mediator, by the liar and con-man in chief!

    https://www.firstpost.com/world/donald-trump-vows-to-work-as-mediator-between-israel-palestine-3423900.html

    Donald Trump vows to work as ‘mediator’ between Israel, Palestine

    May 04, 2017 15:39:12 IST

    Washington: – US President Donald Trump vowed to work as a “mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator” to help broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians as he welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House.

    “We will get this done,” Trump vowed as he met Abbas on Wednesday.

    Trump reiterated the need for Israelis and Palestinians to broker a peace through direct negotiations and called on Palestinian leaders to “speak in a unified voice against incitement to violence and hate”.

    “There’s such hatred, but hopefully there won’t be such hatred for very long,” Trump said, speaking alongside Abbas in the Roosevelt Room.

    The Palestinian leader expressed his support for a two-state solution to the conflict and the long-held Palestinian desire for a capital in East Jerusalem, welcoming Trump’s role as a mediator in peace negotiations.

  45. “There’s such hatred, but hopefully there won’t be such hatred for very long,” Trump said, speaking alongside Abbas in the Roosevelt Room.

    Hatred is increasing exponentially.

  46. LaurieB #56
    May 15, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    Hatred is increasing exponentially.

    . . . . And like the mealy-mouthed NRA Republicans who made derogatory remarks about the gun protests from survivors of school massacres, the Trumpist and Zionist apologists, will try to blame the murdered Palestinians, for the hatred stirred up by Trump and Kushner, and that will only motivate more “terrorist” attacks against Americans and Zionists!
    The latter, will as usual of course by playing the poor little victim and, be screaming “ANTI-SEMITISM” in the media, at critics of their barbaric actions!

    I seem to recall that their holy book states a balanced reprisal response of “an eye for and eye, and a tooth for a tooth”, NOT “a massacre for a perceived trespass” or “multiple murders and injuries for an outraged resistance protest against an army of occupation” – which is the core issue in the dispute over injustices in land ownership! – Not that those with the indoctrinated blinkers of faith-thinking – and full of self-righteous self-importance would notice!

    Relevant issues were discussed here on this earlier discussion!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/11/islam-criticism-in-a-hand-to-hand-fight/#li-comment-228855

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2017/11/islam-criticism-in-a-hand-to-hand-fight/#li-comment-228967

  47. It looks like Trump’s 30 seconds on top of Stormy Daniels are going to be generating payback for a long time to come. Her lawyer Michael Avenetti is crucifying Trump on twitter and the chat shows. A couple of weeks ago he revealed that Trump knew about the $130,000 payment to Daniels and had reimbursed Cohen for it. Then he produced bank statements showing Cohen taking money from AT&T and other firms for access to Trump. Now he’s tweeted photos of Cohen arriving at Trump tower in Dec 2016 with a Qatari diplomat and businessman who has boasted in court filings about bribing General Michael Flynn and who was apparently trying to get access to Trump via Steve Bannon with Cohen’s help. If Cohen received payments that he either didn’t declare on his tax returns or in filings as a foreign agent then he’s getting easier and easier for Mueller to flip even if Trump promises to pardon him for any federal crimes.

    As for Cohen getting charged with state crimes that Trump can’t pardon this may be getting closer too as Preet Bharara, the attorney for the southern district of NY who Trump abruptly fired when Preet refused to take his phone calls, may be running for the NY Attorney General position vacated by Eric Schneiderman. Bharara now hates Trump with a vengeance and much of the dirt involving Trump and his minions took place in NY state. Trump can’t fire the NY AG either so Preet could become a major thorn in his side.

  48. I see that North Korea has threatened to cancel the Trump meeting because of unreasonable demands!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-44134910

    North Korea has said it may pull out of a summit with US President Donald Trump if the US insists it gives up its nuclear weapons.

    The highly anticipated meeting between Mr Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is due to take place on 12 June.

    But in an angry statement, North Korea’s vice-foreign minister accused the US of making reckless statements and of harbouring sinister intentions.

    He pointed the finger squarely at US National Security Adviser John Bolton.

    “We do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him,” Kim Kye-gwan said.

    The White House has responded by saying it is still hopeful the meeting will go ahead.

    “The president is ready if the meeting takes place. If it doesn’t, we’ll continue the maximum pressure campaign that’s been ongoing,” said spokesperson Sarah Sanders.

    The groundbreaking agreement for Mr Kim and Mr Trump to meet came about as North Korea said it was committed to denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

    Exactly what that would entail has remained unclear, but North Korea has invited foreign media to witness the dismantling of its main nuclear test site later this month.

    Mr Bolton recently said North Korea could follow a “Libya model” of verifiable denuclearisation, but this alarms Pyongyang, which watched Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi give up his nuclear programme only for him to be killed by Western-backed rebels a few years later.

    I think that North Korea is only too aware of Trump’s posing as an honest broker and the reality for their peoples of the Iraqi, Palestinian, and Libyan models!

    The BBC’s Laura Bicker in Seoul says North Korea – which had long said its nuclear arsenal is essential for its survival as a state – is now making its demands clear.

    The best option appears to be for both North and South Korea to cut Trump out of the picture, and get down to living together as good neighbours showing mutual respect for different views!

  49. @ Alan4discussion #58

    And like the mealy-mouthed NRA Republicans who made derogatory remarks
    about the gun protests from survivors of school massacres, the
    Trumpist and Zionist apologists, will try to blame the murdered
    Palestinians

    Alan, how about we apply some “NRA logic” to the problem: Guns don’t kill….. Guns make people safe…. Give every Palestinian an AR-15…..Problem solved. (!)

  50. alf

    Let’s order some of those little Canadian flags off Amazon. We need to sew one onto our backpacks and one onto the bum of our jeans. Overkill?

  51. The Dems passed a Bill in the senate to save internet neutrality yesterday which of course every Repug voted against apart from Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John Kennedy of Louisiana and he was a Dem all his life anyway until 2007. The Repugs once again show that they only care about supporting Hair Fuhrer and don’t give a damn about the ordinary voters and their needs. The Bill will fail in the House of course and even if it doesn’t Spanky will veto it but the Dems will be able to hit Repugs over the head with it in November.

    The Senate also confirmed that Russia interfered in the election, contradicting the House’s whitewashed fake report that Trump sycophant Nunes oversaw.

    I have concluded that America has a huge malignant cancer growing in it and it’s called the Republican party. The only cure is surgical removal.

  52. In my childhood and youth I grew up in Pakistan, India and the US. Hardly more than a toddler in the first, up to my 10th year (over 50 years ago) in the second, and up to my 19th year (over 40 years ago) in the third. Actors who were big stars in Bollywood got elected to high offices at least in the states there (especially if they had roles as Shiva, Vishnu etc. in their movies). Well, OK, at the time India had an illiteracy rate of close to 75% (and never mind that religion had a massive grip on these illiterates).

    1980: Alzheimer Ronnie gets elected President of the US. Eh wot??? In an interview I read with (at the time former) Social Democratic Chancellor of Austria Bruno Kreisky he commented that it was frightening that the two most powerful nations on earth, with the most gigantic nuclear arsenals, were both nominally headed by what were to all intents and purposes marionettes (this was the just pre-Gorbachev period when Konstantin Chernenko was nominally General Secretary for about 13 months). Yes, very scary.

    Then, Dubya (and more to the point dastardly Dick Cheney). Gore won Florida, as has now been ascertained. And forget Florida, the Reps had done their criminal purges of voter registration rolls in other places too. There has not been a US election from 2000 onwards that should not have been supervised by neutral observers with a very robust mandate to intervene when obvious irregularities occur – I mean, you think the Russian election of Putin for president there was corrupt? Keep on dreaming – no, actually, it would be better to stop dreaming. I am still puzzled how these criminal scum failed to pervert the 2008 and 2012 elections.

    But then 2016 Duhnald. Some Dems screwed up wholesale. Just like the Greens could have stopped Dubya if they had just realized that this piece of crap was 100 times worse than Gore. Hillary Clinton with 50% plus dementia would be worlds better that the current putrid scum. Idiots. And of course the US’s by now utterly brain-dead ancient thing with the Electoral College. Thundering idiots.

    With Dubya, I had the uneasy feeling that the US had reached a threshold like the German Weimar Republic in the early 1930s. Congratulations, morons, you now have managed to get your equivalent of Hitler. And when it comes down to it, the German electorate never gave him a real mandate in our then parliament, low 40s percentage was maximum even when he had been given almost unlimited powers by non-Nazi but still reactionary scum. And the German electorate was immensely more ignorant about electoral issues after a bit over 10 years of “practice”, and had been hammered by much more serious economic problems than the US at the time, which had nominally had about 140 years of practice at such stuff. And they voted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

    But then maybe, though the illiteracy rate in the US is very much lower than in even current India, this is not as helpful for making electoral decisions based on real thinking as I wrongly assume? That brainless religion thing …

  53. In another staggering own goal demonstrating their complete lack of compassion for ordinary people the Republicans are tinkeriung with the Food Stamp program in a bill which comes up for vote today. To qualify for food stamps people have to be in work for a minimum number of hours per week and usually have to certify that every 6 months. The new bill requires people to prove their work hours every single month which will require a huge administration system to deal with that extra paperwork. The net effect is estimated to be that up to 2 million poor people will lose entitlement to food stamps or just not bother applying any more and the costs of administering the system will outweigh any potential savings.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/republicans-want-big-government-too-they-just-want-it-to-help-fewer-people/2018/05/17/03998746-5a10-11e8-8836-a4a123c359ab_story.html?utm_term=.bb94122ac7ef

  54. Arkrid

    At this point I believe that the Republican party wants to bring on a libertarian gun toting fundamentalist Christian dystopia where white alpha males and their clans control resources and power and everyone else is reduced to serfdom.

    If a major correction is not achieved in the November elections I predict that those of us here with the means to do so will create their own exit strategy. That would take some money to achieve it but when we think about the situation our children and grandchildren and further generations will face in that kind of future, it would be money well spent.

    The social insecurity that the lower and lower middle economic classes here face as a result of the anti-mutualism that Republicans are aiming at now will be a complete defeat. No more pensions, no food stamps, the cost of university completely out of reach for the average citizen, housing costs exorbitant, public schools degraded by “school choice”, daycare unaffordable so it’s not worth trying to work, abortion becoming difficult or impossible to obtain. Environmental destruction, free rampaging of the financial sector, political corruption ignored. This is a recipe for the collapse of America back to the bad old days.

    If my fellow Americans won’t wake up and smell the disaster then I want out.

  55. Well, once again we have a shooting. Fucking thoughts and prayers again………….
    I’m just about through with this country too. I have been through with them for decades, but I also
    think its not about voting anymore. Maybe its time to leave.
    New neighbors this week. From Idaho. With the NRA stickers in their windows.
    Now I am totally surrounded by gun nuts and religious idiots and racists.
    This is America.

  56. Like every act of charity, every claim for guns as an act of civic policing and deliverance of justice, is an admission of a society’s brokenness. Doubling down merely returns the USA to the 1850s where most seem to want to live.

    Too selfish to invest in society, they would rather take their chances, because they themselves feel lucky, especially when packing, and protected and privileged by prayer.

    Work your gonads, off folks. The midterms have to be a huge shock and cry of disgust. Vote for change. Join that Party. Volunteer to deliver leaflets, send emails, berate folks in the most winning way you can on the phone. You have the brains and the guile to do it well. Engage!

    There are more than enough decent folks in the US to flip this last gasp of the utterly selfish and their manipulated loser followers. (The manipulated losers need a reward when you prevail. Explain this.)

  57. It’s being reported that Spanky has personally pressured the Postmaster General to double the rates the post office charges Amazon at multiple meetings with him which are omitted from the WH official meetings schedule so as to try and keep them secret. Cynics amongst us might think this looks like a sustained barrage of pressure from Trump against his perceived enemy Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world. However it could just be that Trump keeps forgetting he’s already asked the Postmaster General to do this and so gets her to meet him again. It seems that on both occasions Trump met Bill Gates, a few months apart, he asked the same question, is HPV the same as HIV? having apparently forgotten he’d already been told the answer. He also now seems to think his wife’s name is Melanie in a hastily deleted tweet.

    It was Nixon’s vindictiveness against his perceived enemies that led to his undoing, ordering the IRS to audit people he didn’t like and producing an “enemies list” that was eventually given to Congress. Trump’s actions with the Postmaster General are clearly of the same type of abuse of power. Whatever it is that finally brings Trump down we can be pretty sure it’ll be of his own making as he doesn’t go many days without shooting himself in the foot again or getting one of his surrogates like Giuliani to do it for him.

  58. @#55 – Donald Trump vows to work as ‘mediator’ between Israel, Palestine

    . . . and with an “honest broker” like this, why do Palestinians and neighbouring Arab states need enemies?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-44210403

    F-35 stealth fighter sees first combat, in Israeli operation

    The US-made F-35 stealth fighter has seen its first ever combat action, flying in an operation for the Israeli air force.

    The air force chief showed an image of jets over Beirut, Lebanon, and said the planes had “already attacked twice on two different fronts”.

    Israel recently carried out scores of air strikes in Syria.

    The F-35, from the world’s priciest military programme, has been criticised both for cost and combat effectiveness.

    Last year, Defence Secretary James Mattis had to defend the programme after then President-elect Donald Trump tweeted criticising its huge price, said to be close to $100m (£74m) per plane.

    Maj Gen Amikam Norkin told heads of 20 foreign air forces meeting in Israel: “We are flying the F-35 all over the Middle East and have already attacked twice on two different fronts.” He did not specify the targets.

    Israel, the first country outside the US to acquire the single-seat fighter, has received nine of the 50 F-35s it has so far ordered, and could take up to 75.

    In Israel it is referred to by its Hebrew name “Adir” (Mighty). The jets are believed to be the F-35A variant – conventional takeoff and landing.

    The BBC’s Tom Bateman in Jerusalem says Israel’s claim to have used it in an operational strike even before the Americans may be designed as a further show of military strength, as it believes elite Iranian forces are trying to entrench themselves in Syria to threaten Israel.

    Israel said its recent air strikes inside Syria targeted Iranian military infrastructure, in response to rocket fire aimed at Israeli military positions in the occupied Golan Heights.

    Iran has hundreds of personnel in Syria, who it says serve as military advisers to the Syrian army. It has also sent thousands of volunteer fighters in support of the Syrian government.

    The US has given Israel more military aid than any other country in the world – currently around $4bn a year – and its laws on arms sales require that Israel always maintains military superiority in the Middle East.

    Well! That’s really GREAT NEWS of a GREAT DEAL for the US armaments industry! – and for Zionist squatters!

    What would the world do without those poor little peace-loving, defenceless “peace makers,”- systematically seizing land and territory from others over the decades, and consequently surrounded by all those hostile states who have been robbed by force of arms? 🙂

  59. @#55 – Donald Trump vows to work as ‘mediator’ between Israel,
    Palestine

    Sorry, Don. Think you might have blown any claim to be an honest broker when you moved the US embassy to Jerusalem. It’s a bit like offering to act as mediator between two warring neighbours, having first helped one of them to set fire to the other’s house.

    But none of this is intended to be taken seriously anyway. It’s all just noise, crumbs tossed to his followers to keep them quiet. The Trump presidency is about one thing and one thing only: ransacking everything America has in order to give it to himself and his chums, and destroying everyone and everything that might try to stand in his way. (Is that two things?)

  60. Olgun #75

    I’m afraid I’m not a subscriber so it’s only showing me the first couple of lines. Could you perhaps summarise for me?

  61. Marco

    That’s strange? I’m not a subscriber either but I can read down even though it is fragmented by adverts everywhere.

    It is just a report on the gas deals being attempted in the region and the problems each decision faces. This one focuses on Israel and Greece’s attempts. We Turkish Cypriots follow all this closely because we believe we have rights regardless of our unrecognised status. Won’t bore you with the details but the decisions Trump takes seem to counsidevwith why a Cyprus deal cannot be done. From little old Cyprus the gas story balloons to cover the entire world. The Israel, Cyprus Greece route has always been reported to be the Russian route. Turkey was supposed to be the American route. Trump is making big boy decisions is all I am saying. We have to take him seriously.

  62. Yes, that is strange, Olgun. I’ve just tried again, and definitely can’t see more than the first couple of lines. Perhaps you need to be signed into the website, even if not a subscriber to the newspaper?

    Trump is making big boy decisions, though, no doubt about that. But I don’t think he’s even taking himself seriously. Look at everything he’s done since he’s been in the White House: there’s no sign of any method, any strategy, any clear policy, any thought whatsoever beyond the very basic one of bullying, purloining, wheeler-dealering and/or blackmailing more wealth and power for himself and his cronies. Everything else is mere collateral. Yes, his decisions have huge consequences for everyone else. But he literally doesn’t care.

  63. I might add to the recent Israel-Palestine conflict solely caused by Donald Trump i.e. opening the new US embassy in Jerusalem, resulting in violence and killings. News was spread on global and Israeli media that Donald Trump actually fulfilled the Bible Prophecy of Isiah 45 because he is the 45th president of United States: giving back control of the holly land to the Israelites. I don’t think a prophecy (which is bullshit in itself) fulfilment by such a vulgar, stupid, fraudster and rapist named Trump is really a great idea. Not impressive at all rather Israelis should be ashamed if they have shame and feel deeply insulted if they have respect for their ancients books: To fulfil the prophecy (which should be holy, but again the definition of holy in God’s books is actually filthy) by a man who grab woman by pussy and had (may still have) affairs with porn stars. I mean come on Israel show some dignity and respect to your holy prophecy and holy land, if they are holy really. Utterly true that a filthy and ghastly belief in myths and immoral man made books’ prophecies can be fulfilled by a vacuous and unscrupulous pussy grabber. Peace in that region will never be achieved as long as the three monotheism of Gods has the veto on the ‘holy land’. As Christopher Hitchens pointed out immortally not long ago, “Every one knows and we have a rough agreement on the two state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict but no one can achieve it, The UN can’t get it, The US can’t get it, The Israeli Parliament cant get it, the Quartic can’t get it, The PLO can’t get it. Why? because the parties of Gods has the veto on it. People will be killed and murdered for the ancient books, myths, caves and relics”.

  64. Marco

    For those of us involved in the Cyprus problem, the bullying, blackmailing etc, has always been there. The difference is that Trump has almost brought an honesty to it all by doing it up front and in your face. I am not sure which one I prefer to be honest. His “big plan” chases almost the same plan as the states. I am still in two minds as to why Trump pulled the plug on Uran but it coincided with Israel threatening to sign with the Greek, and therefore Russian pipe line, pipe line. Does that mean that Trump slapped Israel in the face and threatened to send the region into turmoil or is he caving into Israeli threats?

  65. Olgun #80

    You’re obviously coming at this from an angle that I know very little about, so I’m at a bit of a loss to respond to your specific points, I’m afraid.

    To me, watching from the sidelines, there only seems to be one consistent thread: the thread of corruption and personal enrichment. Trump isn’t a geopolitical player. He doesn’t even know what the word means. He’s simply for sale to the highest bidder.

    The BBC has just reported the latest example, and presumably it will be covered by other news outlets too:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-44215656

    Trump lawyer ‘paid by Ukraine’ to arrange White House talks

    Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $400,000 (£300,000) to fix talks between the Ukrainian president and President Trump, according to sources in Kiev close to those involved.

    The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Ukraine’s leader, Petro Poroshenko, the sources said, though Mr Cohen was not registered as a representative of Ukraine as required by US law.

    The meeting at the White House was last June.

    Shortly after the Ukrainian president returned home, his country’s anti-corruption agency stopped its investigation into Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.’

    There’s more via the link.

    I just can’t see any sign of any overarching goal, philosophy, strategy, call it what you will, other than making money for the mob. If Cyprus could find a way of dangling a few million $ in front of Trump or one of his cronies, I wouldn’t mind betting things would change for it overnight.

  66. The NFL have caved spinelessly to Trump’s demands by ruling that players can no longer exercise their right to free speech by taking a knee during the anthem or their team will be fined. Players who refuse to stand for the anthem must stay in the locker room until play starts. This is clearly unconstitutional but it is how autocracy and dictatorship begins. Trump is chipping away at both the constitution and societal norms to delegitimise everything except what he says is right. He is being aided and abetted by Republicans in Congress who don’t care how he behaves as long as the Democrats are never allowed to win anything. Trump could shoot the hypothetical person on 5th Avenue or be found in bed fucking a live boy or a dead girl and none of them would care. If it was a live boy they’d say he was doing his bit for LGBT rights and if it was a dead girl they’d ask why the deceased should be discriminated against and not be allowed to lead a satisfying sex life too.

    Trump has always known he could never do anything to turn off his base. What he’s still trying to find out is how far he can push Congress, the courts, the security services, the DOJ and anyone else who seeks to limit his powers. He now understands that even Mueller thinks a sitting president can’t be indicted for a criminal offence other than perhaps via the Attorney General. He also knows that there will never be 67 votes in the Senate to convict him of impeachment even if the Dems take the House in November. So the question becomes at what point does Trump simply to refuse to obey any legal order made against him? What if Mueller issues a subpoena and Trump just says go fuck yourself. The court could find him in contempt and issue a warrant but Trump just seals himself in the bunker 300 feet under the White House and tells the secret service to fight off anyone who comes for him. He’s also Coward-in-Chief of the armed forces so he could order the army to defend the White House.

    What if Trump runs again in 2020, loses but refuses to go? He claims that 10 million illegal immigrants voted for the Dems, the election was fraudulent, introduces martial law, starts arresting Dems in Congress, left wing judges, the opponent who beat him and declares himself president for life like Xi did in China. I believe that with Trump there is a non zero possibility of these things coming to pass. I doubt if Trump would baulk at starting a civil war in the country if it meant hanging on to power.

  67. A federal judge has ruled that Trump can’t block Twitter users who say mean things about him because his account is a forum for free speech under 1st amendment rights. We’ll see if he now unblocks them or uses this as a test of how immune he is from legal sanctions. I’m sure that to start with he’ll appeal it all the way to the Supreme Court. After all it’s taxpayer money paying for this court time not his own money. He whines about the waste of taxpayer money when it’s being spent on investigating himself but doesn’t give a shit about the $1 million cost of every trip to Mar-a-Lago to publicise his own business interests and play golf instead of working.

  68. I am really wondering if I want to stay or if I can stay in the USA.
    I’m half white. But there remain the 40 percent of the USA that supports Trump no matter what he does.
    Point is, I don’t feel safe in the community. Ever since two years ago, the tension in this crappy town has risen.
    This county is already known for having a large white power following.
    Now that I know what a good majority of the country thinks, (or fails to), I don’t really feel good about waking up in this country.

  69. That’s heartbreaking, Alf. And it’s a feeling shared by more and more people, not just in the USA, also in Brexit Britain and elsewhere.

    No one – NO ONE – should have to feel intimidated or unwelcome or “other” just because of the colour of their skin.

    It is both horrifying and bizarre to see the rise and rise of white/ethnic nationalism in the very countries that most pride themselves on their role in defeating that very thing in World War II.

  70. Marco #82

    I just can’t see any sign of any overarching goal, philosophy,
    strategy, call it what you will

    Don’t know if you caught NewsNight last night or if anything new is being said here but there seems to be some sort of strategy here?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0b4dzqf/newsnight-23052018

    If Cyprus could find a way of dangling a few million $ in front of
    Trump or one of his cronies, I wouldn’t mind betting things would
    change for it overnight.

    After years of working on getting Turkish Cypriot rights on the agenda of the international community, I think that money might be taken but nothing will change. Too many interested parties and decades of planning for the state to let go and it fits into Trumps plans as well. I do understand that most of what I say about Cyprus and the region might not be known to you but gas deals, and disagreements, in the area seem to be the key which then goes global when you look at the rest of the worlds needs.

  71. Marco

    Sorry, forgot to add…

    I think I have sorted out the problem with you not getting full version of link I posted. The last link (above #88) I first opened on my iPhone and it worked without having to sign in. When I open it on my Mac it wants a sign in. The other link works the same way. If you want the full article without sign in then you need to do it on your phone!!!

  72. Alf, Marco

    I am a Turkish Cypriot Living in the UK and was reading some comments on Turkish Cypriot FB page about the Windrush scandal. An English woman living in North Cyprus took offence to the comments about the British letting people from the colonies down and after a bit of a rant and deflection about getting our own house in order first, she ended with, “if you don’t like it you can always go back home”. Seems all you need to be is English in the world for some.

  73. Olgun #90

    I’m afraid the arrogance and entitlement of a certain kind of Brit (actually, you’re right: it’s nearly always a certain kind of English) are simply unsurpassed. To the rest of us it’s just toe-curling.

  74. Marco #91
    May 24, 2018 at 9:14 am

    I’m afraid the arrogance and entitlement of a certain kind of Brit (actually, you’re right: it’s nearly always a certain kind of English) are simply unsurpassed. To the rest of us it’s just toe-curling.

    I think it is particularly prevalent in ex-colonials and in the rich commuter areas around London.

    I am often reminded of an incident with my daughter at university, when some of the students from the south east asked her out to a Japanese restaurant under the mistaken belief that those living North of Watford Gap are some sort of barbarians! 🙂
    The South-East crowd, then ordered ENGLISH food from the Japanese menu and were surprised when my daughter ordered Japanese food – and were even more surprised that she acquired a taste for it, and the skill of eating it with chop-sticks, while on an exchange visit to Japan!

    ALL the English are immigrants! Some of my ancestors were Vikings. Others were Germans. Some were probably Saxons or Celts. My wife’s family is Scottish on both sides. Both sides of my family are from Northern England! (Where much of the technology of the industrial revolution was invented!)

  75. a certain kind of Brit

    On this side of the pond it’s a certain kind of American. This is something I’ve witnessed more times than I can count. Many shitty comments are made in my presence, both blunt and subtle but I do think they are all testing me to see if I’ll chime in with a racist remark or ethnic slur to indicate a camaraderie of bigots. It’s very difficult to hold my tongue on this. I’ve heard first and second generation Americans curse out other immigrant groups. Completely ridiculous. The phrase that sits in the front of my mind is – My family showed up here in 1620 so instead of sneering at immigrants, why don’t YOU go back to where your people came from? Can’t take your own medicine?

    My husband once had an interaction with another immigrant at the grocery store. Seems they were both sorting through fruit when somehow they annoyed each other. She said to him, “Go back to Iran (pronounced eye-ran)!” Him: “Why would I go to Iran when I’m from Algeria?”. To top it off, she spoke in broken English with a non-American accent. Two immigrants fighting it out over the fruit display about who should go back to where they came from. Like I said, completely ridiculous.

    But don’t you just love it when the ancestry braggers get their DNA analysis back and it tells them something shocking and in their view, disgraceful?! We know an Algerian guy who bragged for years about his long illustrious family tree. He got results back claiming that he had Jewish ancestry. He was taken aback. We were dying laughing at the pompous ass.

  76. Well it’s bye bye to his much desired Nobel peace prize as President Magoo and his bumbling sidekicks blow their chance of a meeeting with Kim Jong Un. In an appallingly handled series of comments by Bolton and then Pence they threatened Kim with the same fate as Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi namely being ousted by American led interests and then executed or beaten to death by a mob if Kim didn’t give up all his nuclear weapons. Not surprisingly this enraged NK officials who called Pence a political dummy and said Trump could either meet them over a table or at a nuclear showdown. So Trump threw a hissy fit, chucked all his toys out of the pram and cancelled the summit before Kim could make him look weak by doing it first.

    Yet again the supposed “world’s greatest deal maker” shows he’s comically unprepared and incapable of negotiating in any situation where he doesn’t already hold all the cards. He only has two strategies which are to bluster and threaten and then lavish unconvincing flattery in the hope this will make the other person his friend. If neither approach works he is shit out of ideas. Trump started off as usual by demeaning and ridiculing “little rocket man”, calling him fat (says the pot to the kettle) and threatening him with “fire and fury” in nuclear annihalation. However when Trump got a chance for photo ops with the release of the three hostages he called Kim an honourable man and thanked him for his great treatment of the hostages. A pathetic reverse which convinced no one, least of all Kim who as I said at the time was playing Trump like a cheap fiddle.

    Throughout this grim and inept process Trump has only been concerned as always with the spectacle and optics rather than the substance of the matter. Trump puffed out his chest on the steps of Air Force One at 3am as the hostages arrived home and said this must have broken the record for ratings at 3am in the morning. It was clear he cared nothing for the hostages compared to his desire to make himself the centre of the spectacle and the recipient of all the praise. However this event was quickly superceded by the prospect of NK/USA peace talks and Trump’s desire to get back at his nemesis Obama by winning his own Nobel prize. So obsessed did Trump become with this he even ordered commemorative White House medals to be made celebrating the historic meeting that hadn’t happened yet. The desperation for ratings and plaudits oozed out of him.

    Just to have held such a meeting would have been historic and it didn’t have to actually achieve anything. In fact it would have been surprising if it had but it would have set a precedent and opened the door for further talks. But of course the Trump team had no coherent strategy, no single message to keep everyone on point and no realistic aims for the talks so Bolton and Pence went back to threats of nuclear annihalation if Kim didn’t completely disarm and the spectre of him being torn apart by an angry mob like Gaddafi. It was ineptitude on a mighty scale but sadly typical of Trump’s inability to manage people or situations competently.

    Trump’s sociopathy and narcissism make him incapable of relating to to other people on a normal level. Trump himself only responds to flattery, no matter how outrageous or unwarranted. Trump believes himself to be the greatest at everything so there is no limit to the flattery he desires. He doesn’t get that normal people actually get uncomfortable with flattery even if it’s warranted and very suspicious about flattery that isn’t warranted. When Trump starts slathering on the soft soap which he so desires himself it just pisses other people off.

    Trump has blown every deal he’s been involved in so far. Europe is now trying hard to work without him and round him on Iran, he threatened China and said trade wars were easy to win and then fell apart like a cheap suit when they fired back even harder on soybeans and pork. He got nothing out of South Korea on trade talks other than limiting imports of cars that they don’t even send the USA anyway. Even in his letter to Kim cancelling the meeting which he boasted he dictated all by himself he threatened a nuclear attack again, something that even the dullest of blunt tools know you don’t do.

    Kim has come out of this miles ahead of Trump. He’s shown himself to be a savvy operator and made good progress in talks with SK as well as a diplomatic visit to China on his big bullet proof train to preserve relations there. Trump has come across like a school yard bully who blusters ands then runs away crying to his mummy’s skirts. Kim’s strategy will now be to further strengthen relations with SK so they can exclude Trump and present a united front to him.

    There’s something people need to be aware of. NK has a population of 25 million but a GDP of only $17 billion. SK has a population of 50 million and a GDP of $1.4 trillion, nearly 100 times as much and 50 times greater per capita. Kim has succeeded in developing nuclear weapons with a GDP smaller than that of a medium sized American city. SK is the 11th biggest economy in the world and represents a source of unimagined riches to Kim if he can cement relations with it. One wonders how much president Moon of SK would like to have his own nuclear arsenal in return for just a little financial help to Kim. Kim could offer him a seat at the big boy table and Moon could offer Kim an economy brought into the 21st century with its own high tech manufacturing industry and trade routes to other countries. Since Trump came into office, public opinion in SK has very much turned in favour of it having its own nuclear arsenal.

  77. It’s being reported that Trump is sending Air Force One to Korea to deliver a mix tape to Kim showing how much he still loves him and wants to get back together. Songs on the cd include Rocket Man – Elton John, Enola Gay – Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Tiny Hands – Fiona Apple, Boom Boom – John Lee Hooker and Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers. Kim is reported to be preparing his own mix tape with Crazy Frog – Axel F, War, What is it good for? – Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Stormy – Carlos Santana.

  78. Trump is now touting tariffs on car imports on the grounds of….National Security FFS. Because yes that old VW Rabbit you drive is such a threat to the republic.

  79. As Trump withdraws ignominiously from the NK peace talks Stormy Daniels says she wishes she’d known you only had to criticize Mike Pence to get Trump to pull out fast. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the 2nd who is otherwise doomed to meet with Trump in July issues a statement from Buck House. “One is informed by ones advisors and ones Prime Minister Theresa May that Vice President Michael Pence is a redneck cnut with plastic hair like a Ken doll and his head so far up Trump’s fat arse he can’t see the sun.” Here’s hoping that Trump will also now pull out of coming to the UK. He’s not fucking welcome.

  80. He’s not fucking welcome.

    Yes, yes, I know. We know that. But if he does have the audacity to go sweeping into London with his evil entourage, I’m counting on a spectacle of a hail of flying rotten tomatoes and I really, really want to see those rotten tomatoes fly. Please let them fly as an act of solidarity with us.

  81. Arkrid Sandwich #103
    May 25, 2018 at 6:08 am

    Here’s hoping that Trump will also now pull out of coming to the UK.

    Trump loves to make a big deal out of his mother being Scottish!
    I am sure there are some remote, barely inhabited islands off Scotland where he could be kept away from critics and protests: – but if there was insufficient accommodation for the press, or an aggrandisement entourage, he would probably pull out! 🙂 – Much to the satisfaction of many in the UK!

    Some of these remote outposts have expensive facilities for rich twits to shoot wild-life which is flushed from the undergrowth by paid local yokels! Great gun activity – largely lacking contacts with ordinary UK citizens – but it sounds ideal for Trump!

  82. Laurie B #104

    But if he does have the audacity to go sweeping into London with his
    evil entourage, I’m counting on a spectacle of a hail of flying rotten
    tomatoes and I really, really want to see those rotten tomatoes fly.
    Please let them fly as an act of solidarity with us.

    Honestly, I don’t think there’s any doubt about this whatsoever. London or Scotland, or London AND Scotland – he’ll be met with huge protests. I promise.

    I don’t think the protesters will be allowed anywhere near him, mind you, so it’s perfectly possible he won’t personally see or hear much of us. Especially in Scotland, where’ll he’ll no doubt be helicoptered in and out. But the protesters will be there all the same, and the internet will be full of photos and videos to prove it. (In fact, if you want a giggle, do a Google Image search on “Anti-Trump protests Scotland”.)

    Solidarity against Trump? You can count on us 🙂

  83. Alan #105

    The Scottish part of the plan seems to be for him to visit one of his two golf-courses here (Turnberry and Aberdeen), both of which have plenty of accommodation nearby.
    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/22/donald-trump-set-to-head-to-scotland-for-golf-during-state-visit

    Personally, I think the only thing that would lead him to pull out at this stage is the prospect of huge protests that he couldn’t be shielded from. And obviously, it would be an easy matter to helicopter him in and out of the golf courses, and to strictly control who has entry to them while he’s there. I doubt very much that any protester – in Scotland, especially – will even clap eyes on him.

    But I think the anti-Trumpers will be happy either way. Yes, it would be amusing if he chickened out. But I think a lot of people will take great satisfaction in getting out on the streets and showing the world what they really think of him if he comes.

  84. British PM Theresa May also launched into one of her trademark blistering attacks on Mike Pence in hopes of avoiding her own meeting with Trump. “Mr Pence is not the sort of chap we full heartedly approve of over here” she blasted. Pence reportedly burst into flames as the full force of her nuclear blast hit him. In a scene reminiscent of the molten gold thing from Game of Thrones his plastic hair melted to his skull and his little Ken cock became fully erect for the first time since his wife Karen turned 40.

  85. I relunctantly confess I do download Stephen Colbert’s late night show from time to time to watch his Trump slams or if there’s a particularly interesting guest but I’d like to take this opportunity to say how utterly appalling the late night show format on American tv is now. Every show has the exact same format with the obligatory house band complete with ethnic bandleader who invariably has an intrusive and annoying laugh every time the host makes a little joke. You get your monologue while the band riffs on the piano and drums at each joke, some bland current affairs news and then a nothingburger interview with a celebrity who simpers and preens while the host asks him or her easy questions.

    The only late night show ever worth watching apart from Carson was the Craig Ferguson show with the robot Geoff Peterson voiced by Josh Robert Thompson who did the amazing Morgan Freeman impression. Sadly Craig had enough after 10 years and his successor James Corden just fell straight into the normal sidekick band format and dragged the show back into mediocrity. Someone for god’s sake come up with an actual interesting late night format that’s worth watching.

  86. I have a question for all the regulars:

    What issues do you think Democrats should focus on this election cycle? Keep in mind these are more local than national although we will be sending some reps to D.C.

  87. Arkrid

    I am so so so sick of that stodgy predictable format. When Colbert went over to that format I was very disappointed. He’s lost his edge and at the worst possible time!

  88. Vicki

    Seems like single payer health care has great momentum and the possibility of providing relief to countless Americans now.

    Gun control? With the young people agitating as they are, could we get some measures through?

    Help with college tuition especially to aggressively move poor kids up into a decent middle class existence.

  89. Vicky
    Election fraud and corruption.
    And revising the laws to prevent the debacle that Trump is spawning.
    Nothing will change until our votes are legitimate.

  90. Vicki

    That’s a platform we could really get behind. I’m very interested to watch the Dems get their message together and broadcast it through the daily sordid slop that distracts everyone.

  91. Vicki #110
    May 25, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    I have a question for all the regulars:

    What issues do you think Democrats should focus on this election cycle?

    I can probably answer that best by thinking about the reasons I wouldn’t want to live in the USA. First must be healthcare. Universal free healthcare is a basic human right in any civilized society. The thought of losing ones home, getting bankrupted or like the guy in Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko, having to choose which of his fingers he wanted reattached after a saw accident because his insurance didn’t cover the cost of saving all of them and the others were then thrown in the trash is disgusting.

    2nd is the police who are institutionally racist and consider themselves more important than the public they are supposed to protect and serve. In the UK the police call the public sir and madam. In the USA it’s the other way round, especially if you are black and don’t want to be shot. The whole shoot first, think later mentality and any amount of lethal force is ok if a single officer feels a bit threatened needs to be rooted out by training and better employee selection.

    3rd, gun culture and school shootings. The Republicans are owned like bitches by the NRA and will never do anything about gun laws. The NRA ought to be pleased if the Dems do well in November because that’s always great for gun sales. They’ve crashed since Trump won because the paranoid nutters aren’t afraid of him coming for their guns so they’re not stocking up. Remington went bust FFS. The public overwhelmingly want better background checks and bans on assault weapons, even most gun owners approve. The Dems need to get it done.

    A number of other issues wouldn’t stop me living there but need to addressed. Politics is corrupted by big donors and religion. This is supposed to be a secular country with separation of church and state. It sickens me hearing the nutters talk about their “god given” 1st or 2nd Amendment rights or whatever it is they’re wittering on about. The power of the presidency is far too great as Trump has revealed. We are just finding out how much control of the presidency relied in the past on presidents themselves having some level of human decency of which Trump has none. The ability to pardon should either have to be confirmed by Congress each time or at least limited to people not connected with the president in any way including family and himself or political allies. Whether a sitting president can be charged with either civil or criminal proceedings needs to be clarified by legislation. No one should be above the law.

    Supreme court justices shouldn’t have life terms. 10 years maybe and then it’s do-over time.

    The press in the USA is fucking spineless. It took over a year before anyone would use the word “lie” in print in connection with Trump. The only real honesty comes from satirical shows like Sam Bee and John Oliver.

  92. I forgot a couple of things. The monetised bail system keeps poor people in jail, often for months, even when they’ve done nothing wrong. Similarly the for-profit prison system is a disgrace which encourages corruption and false convictions. Both need to be abolished.

  93. LaurieB #111
    May 25, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Arkrid

    I am so so so sick of that stodgy predictable format. When Colbert went over to that format I was very disappointed. He’s lost his edge and at the worst possible time!

    So much of American tv caters to the lowest possible denominator. Or at least it did, there have been some improvements, especially with Netflix and HBO. Back in the day every comedy show had to have the obligatory dumb guy who could be used to explain any words over three syllables long that the audience might not understand. In Cheers it was Woody and in Friends it was Joey. So at anything even vaguely esoteric dumb guy could ask “what does that mean?” and another cast member could explain it to the low information plebs on their couches in redneck land. Then Frasier came along and blew all that out of the water with intelligent repartee and sophisticated humour and hey, the folks at home still managed to get it. But late night is so effing soporific and anodyne. A thick slice of dull served with a side dish of bland.

  94. President Magoo should still get his Nobel prize trumpet congressional Republicans. Well yeah, nothing screams Nobel prize quite so much as abjectly failing to get any peace talks. “One of the greatest attributes of President Trump is his willingness to walk away if the deal is bad for America.” says Rep Ralph Norman (R-SC). Well he’s good at walking away as long as it doesn’t involve more than about 20 yards of walking and then he needs a golf buggy to carry his fat arse.

  95. First things to fix, though the list of to dos is long, is politics itself. Actually drain the swamp, have a narrative for actual change, not versions of the same old format. Propose to take back the purchase of political power and influence. The Dems need some distance from their banker friends.

    Listen to the passionate George Monbiot talk about organising a campaign using volunteers.

    Sent me by my son… start about half an hour in…

    https://www.blubrry.com/jacobin/34202826/the-dig-telling-a-new-story-with-george-monbiot/

    He has a good story for returning power to citizens fixing their own communities.

    Arkrid, its meant to go in this sentence, not that.

    Posting pre-coffee has its risks.

  96. Garrick #120
    May 26, 2018 at 12:54 am

    This is very good news in view of wider concerns in Ireland as well.

    I think the exposure of the true nature of “Catholic morality”, has had a very positive effect on diminishing the RCC’s credibility as a moral or informed authority, on various subjects where they are in conflict with researched information!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2018/05/highest-ranking-vatican-official-charged-with-sex-abuse-heads-to-trial/#li-comment-231878

  97. Arkrid Sandwich #100
    May 25, 2018 at 3:03 am

    Kim’s strategy will now be to further strengthen relations with SK so they can exclude Trump and present a united front to him.

    And right on cue Kim and Moon meet again today and in Kim’s first ever live tv conference announce that north and south Korea will be united again in the biggest possible of “fuck you’s” to Trump and co.

  98. Hi Arkrid! As Joni Mitchell would say, “There’s a wide, wide world of noble causes…”

    This election cycle has more to do with state elections, although there will be reps elected to Congress. My initial question has more to do with changing the tide of ignorance and nationalism; we can’t just be the ‘anti-Trump’ party.

    I think Phil brought up a good point: campaign financing. I’d like to see political ads with links to their sources.

    Right now, the issue of gerrymandering is before the SCOTUS, and hopefully, it will rule in favor of better representation. Here in Ohio, we overwhelmingly passed Issue One, which decides who draws up the districts. https://ballotpedia.org/Ohio_Issue_1,Congressional_Redistricting_Procedures_Amendment(May_2018)

    I get in a lot of arguments with friends and family who back Trump’s agenda (although not necessarily Trump himself). Always, my first question to them is, “Who is controlling the dialogue?” The answer goes a long way toward explaining how we’ve fallen into these divisive camps.

  99. Trump is now desperately flailing at the NK situation after Kim and Moon’s surprise meeting caught him off guard. He has no one to blame but himself for sending the snotty letter on Thursday calling off the Singapore summit on 12th June but he can’t bear the thought of losing his Nobel prize which would mean that his nemesis President Blackenstein is still one big thing up on him. So he’s now resorting to pretending the letter never existed nor the press conference immediately after it when National Security Council member Matt Pottinger told dozens of reporters that 12th June is like in 10 minutes time, too close for the meeting to be rescheduled again. So the “failing” NYT duly reported this and Trump went ballistic on twitter denying that such a statement was ever made and that the official who gave it doesn’t even exist. Only the meeting is on tape and dozens of people were there.

    It’s hard to know whether Trump is losing all touch with reality or just using his strategy of the Big Lie again which he learned when inflating his wealth by a factor of 40 to get into Forbes as I reported earlier.

    Here’s a psychological profile which may seem pertinent. Guess who it’s about.

    “His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”

    Nope it’s not about Trump. It’s the psychological profile the United States Office of Strategic Services prepared about Hitler during WWII. Sounds familiar though eh? Trump’s entire repertoire is lifted straight out of the Nazi playbook of deception and propaganda used by Hitler and Goebbels to drag Germany into fascism in the 1930s. They wanted to get rid of anyone who wasn’t a blue-eyed blonde aryan and Trump is basically the same. He’s said he’d like more Norwegians to come to the USA but he definitely doesn’t want any blacks, muslims or wetbacks coming in to supposedly join MS13 and terrorise the inner cities. He’s creating the same imaginary enemies as the Nazis did and blaming them for everything and the next step is to scare the people into letting the government take over complete control to “keep them safe”. Trump is just now pushing at the organs of government so see if any will resist him and if so by how much. The Republicans certainly won’t resist him. They’ve all fallen into line like good little toy soldiers. They still think Trump is one of them and anything he does is still better than letting the Dems win anything. They don’t realise he isn’t one of them, or one of anything. Trump only cares about Trump and the power and wealth he can personally accumulate.

    No one thought Trump could win the election. It was unthinkable – until it happened. I’m sure no one thinks they’ll ever see battle tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue and taking up positions around the White House. It’s unthinkable – until it happens.

    Nixon resigned but Trump never will. He’ll see the country burn before he goes willingly. The main thing that’s been protecting NK from a nuclear attack until now has been the prospect of collateral damage to SK but if Trump starts to see Moon as stealing his Nobel thunder and becoming an enemy alongside Kim then we might well see the entire Korean peninsular under attack. That will drag China in and then it’s WWIII.

    Trump’s next logical move will be to follow Bush’s example and start claiming he has evidence that SK is wanting to acquire WMDs of its own. It won’t matter if it’s not true. It didn’t with Iraq. The military will go blindly where they’re told to go and every Republican will vote for what Trump wants because that’s what they always do. And a war president almost always gets re-elected so Trump will have two terms and may well not leave at the end of those anyway once he’s really entrenched his position of power. That’s if any elections even get held under martial law.

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  101. A while back I commented that American Evangelicals had ditched the original [idea of the] Christian god and put Republican America (and its loathsome ‘values’) in its place.

    This morning I came across this fascinating 8-minute talk by Reza Aslan: http://bigthink.com/videos/reza-aslan-how-religion-changed-the-presidency-and-vice-versa

    He makes a number of points, the first 3 of which don’t come as any surprise:

    1) The racial aspect of the vote (81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump; 67% of evangelicals of colour voted for Hillary Clinton)

    2) White evangelicals have largely bought into the “Prosperity Gospel”, which pronounces that a) God wants you to be rich and therefore b) If you are rich, it’s because God approves of you.

    Aslan points out that, unlike previous candidates for the Presidency (even white evangelical ones like GWB), Trump was never required to make endless pronouncements about his faith or his virtue or his morals (much less live up to them) during the campaign: all he had to do was brag about his enormous wealth, and this did the job for him.

    3) Consequently, in the course of a single election cycle white evangelicals have gone from being the demographic MOST vociferous about the importance of a politician’s morality … to being the demographic that cares about it the least. “Atheists in America care about a politician’s morality more than white Evangelicals in America do,” he comments [Gasp!].

    But then Aslan goes on to try to find an explanation for this.

    He suggests that it can only be explained one way: Donald Trump has largely turned white Evangelical Christianity into a religious cult. Ok, ok, so it was already: but Aslan is talking about a cult that sees Trump himself as a “prophetic divine character”.

    Apparently Pat Robertson has claimed that God took him to heaven in a dream and showed him Donald Trump sitting at the right hand of God. A claim that Christianity reserves for Jesus alone. (I hadn’t heard about this – the DT version, I mean; had any of you?)

    Aslan also says that Trump’s own evangelical adviser has said he would prefer Trump as a candidate over someone who expressed the values of Jesus. (And I really don’t doubt that: the values attributed to Jesus are anathema to most Republicans. Besides, he didn’t get to be Trump’s evangelical adviser for nothing. I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to find there are plenty more preachers out there saying the same thing though.)

    Aslan claims that white evangelicals have imbued Trump with what he calls “salvific character”, and that they go far beyond simply agreeing with him, or following him: they actually worship him. He has become their cult leader.

    And the reason he sees that as being so very dangerous is that Trump’s under a huge amount of pressure. Talk of impeachment, the 25th amendment, the Russia investigation, etc … And experience shows that, if there’s one thing more dangerous than a religious cult leader, it’s a martyred religious cult leader.

    It’s a good talk and he’s a good speaker – worth listening to if you have a few minutes to spare.

    By the way, Aslan also mentions the huge amounts of secular power Trump promised the evangelicals during his campaign, even when he didn’t agree with what they were planning to do with it. I see this as further support for my view that Trump simply does not care about anything beyond his own very narrow agenda: enriching himself and his cronies at the expense of the American public. Sure – let the evangelicals do stuff with stuff. Trump & co just. don’t. care.

  102. Hi Marco! That ideological disconnect in the evangelicals can actually be taken one step further, and include the neocons in relation to the enlightened ideology of the Constitution, and the juxtaposition in their mindless nationalism.

    A good and apt meme for this Memorial Day would be football players kneeling during the national anthem. That type of protest is precisely what the flag represents, yet is also the spark that sets off the neocon powder keg of outrage.

  103. Yes, good point, Vicki.

    The fact is, such people want what they want and intend to get it, so they’ll reinvent absolutely anything – including what they claim to be their most cherished beliefs and values – in order to do so.

    Ultimately it can all be traced back to hideous selfishness; lack of empathy on a monumental scale; and an utter refusal to share anything – be it wealth, power, influence, a platform for their views, safety, rights, ANYTHING – with anyone else at all. They are the only people who count. Everyone else is expendable. Full stop.

  104. Marco #128
    May 27, 2018 at 9:03 am

    A while back I commented that American Evangelicals had ditched the original [idea of the] Christian god and put Republican America (and its loathsome ‘values’) in its place.

    I’ve been saying the Republican party is a religious cult for 2 years now. I’ve gone into great detail about how this happened in the 70s with Jerry Falwell and Reagan and how it’s made politics so divisive that these people don’t care about anything other than getting power and keeping it away from Democrats, the evil enemy.

    However I think with white evangelicals there’s another factor at play. These people are no longer Christians. Christian literally means “person of Christ” i.e. the New Testament guy with the turn the other cheek, meek inheriting the earth bullshit. These people want no truck with that. Just like ISIS is trying to restore the original caliphate of the 7th century these white evangelicals want to go back to the Old Testament where you didn’t turn the other cheek, you got your sword out and stabbed the fucker if he was gay, working on a Sabbath or didn’t worship your god. If he was black you made him a slave and you did what you liked with the enemy’s women, or at least the young pretty ones. You stabbed the old crones and the girl children with your sword and the young women with your cock. These people don’t want to be charitable or take in refugees. They want to take over everything for themselves and keep outsiders as far away as possible. The old testament says nothing about rich people not going to heaven, that’s the new age bullshit slipped into the gospels to get dying rich people to give their money to the church which is how the monasteries became the biggest landowners in medieval europe by tithing the rich at 10% of everything they owned to get absolution for an entry pass into heaven. In the OT it was no problem being rich, being a king as long as you made the occasional offering to god to show respect.

    These people have no problem worshipping Trump because he’s exactly like their biblical OT god anyway. He’s evil, racist, homophobic, mysoginistic, cruel, cowardly, he constantly fucks up but never admits to being wrong and he’s rich. They know he’s bad but they don’t care. They’ve been praying to someone just like him all their lives. They don’t want someone who feeds starving multitudes with loaves and fishes and heals the sick. Fuck the poor and the sick. That’s for pussies. What they want is a pussy grabber because that’s what they’d like to be able to do themselves if women knew their place properly like in the good old days.

    These people aren’t Christian, they’re tribal. Full on Old Testament Israelite tribal and Trump is the incarnation of their god on earth.

  105. Yes Arkrid. It’s all one big regression to the bad ole tribal days. Young men don’t fare well in that system and neither do women. Looks good to some from the outside but it’s a cold cruel system on the inside. They should be more careful what they wish for.

  106. If you want to understand how these people stick with Trump look no further than Mike and Karen Pence. However I’ll go back a bit from that to just after Pussygate during the campaign when Sam Bee’s show went to a Trump rally to ask Trump supporters what they thought. A fat old white woman in a MAGA hat laid it out. “God can use bad people to do good things” she said. As soon as you’ve decided it’s all “your” god’s will then everything becomes ok again. God works in mysterious ways so don’t question anything.

    It was widely reported after Pussygate that Karen Pence thought Trump was “vile” and Mike Pence thought about dropping off the ticket. But they reconciled themselves to it incredibly easily. So how do they do this? It’s easy. They pray to their god for advice which just means one part of their brain talking to another part of it. Of course Mike Pence didn’t want to drop off the ticket, it was his big chance for fame and glory. So he hoped his god would find a solution and amazingly the part of his brain which thinks it’s god talking to him knew somehow just what the rest of his brain wanted to hear. So the god part of his brain said “Hey, Mike, my beloved son. Be of good cheer. I have a master plan and you’re an important part of it. I need a good Christian like you to stick close to Trump and hopefully your shining light will make him a better person. Yes it’ll be hard because he’s a cnut but I never give anyone a burden that’s too much for them to bear so I know you’ll be ok.”

    So little bobblehead Mike was delighted that his god had given him an excuse to swallow his disgust and now he praises Trump every chance he gets. Karen did the same and the god part of her brain told her to stick it out and support her brave husband in god’s work to make Trump a great leader.

    You see you can do anything and rationalise anything when it’s your imaginary gawd’s will. You can invade Iraq, kill thousands of innocent women and children, even support Trump.

    The single, most important thing for America to become an actual civilised country is for religion to die out. Nothing else poisons everything in the same way or as completely.

  107. Laurie #134

    IDW members?

    No. Free thinkers can be wrong as well as right. Establishing the truth is to deny it to a darkside.

    In fact Murray is wrong in this instance. The social experiment of Nigerian kids in the UK going from bottom of the class (where Murray would predict with his results) to top in a little over a generation knocks Murray’s genetic hypothesis out of the ballpark and shows the power of culture and a functioning brain mostly formed and entirely sculpted in a direct cultural flux. Harris and Petersen are wrong also. We are indeed much more nurtured than we suspected.

    Petersen is increasingly descending into a dark place, though, with his bio-determinism. His ideas on the source of morality is ludicrous. His incel comments a joke and much of his other stuff increasingly trite. His rhetoric is biblical and his intellectual focus impressive. He needs to talk less and learn a whole lot more of the new stuff. Dunning Kruger effects can happen just below each new level of informed insight.

    He was partnered by Steven Fry against a pair proposing PC was good.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxYimeaoea0

    Fry won it almost taking the opposition Michelle Goldberg with him. Its notable that he didn’t want to be too coupled to Petersen.

  108. Well it’s nice to have something good to report on for a change after Malian immigrant Mamoudou Gassama climbed 4 storeys up the outside of a Paris building to grab a 4 year old who was dangling from a balcony. He’s been rewarded by Macron with French citizenship and a job in the fire brigade. The video was a bit puzzling as there was already an adult male on the balcony with the child but making no apparent attempt to pull him up. I wonder how Trump would have rewarded him. Seeing as he’s young, fit, black and an immigrant which is everything Trump hates he’d probably have been charged with trespass on the building or grabbed up by ICE. Trump would then have boasted how he’d have climbed up too but even quicker.

  109. Seeing as he’s young, fit, black and an immigrant which is everything
    Trump hates he’d probably have been charged with trespass on the
    building or grabbed up by ICE.

    I don’t doubt that in Britain, too, he’d now be experiencing the “hostile environment” first hand.

    Wonderful to see France responding so swiftly and so positively. And wow. What a hero that young man was. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, there’s a video via the link: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/28/spider-man-of-paris-climbs-four-storeys-to-rescue-dangling-boy

  110. Marco.

    Moving the brexit and devolution discussion here, if you’d indulge me?

    a) Was brexit for the Conservatives (whatever was sold to the masses), at least in part, a power-grab right from the start?

    b) Would a Labour win in 2022 change anything?

  111. The world has been puzzling over why Trump suddenly announced that he wanted to help failing Chinese telecomms company ZTE which has been selling banned tech to Iran. It was even more puzzling after Trump’s “trade wars are so easy to win” claim and levying tariffs on China. Well it’s maybe not so puzzling after all. China gave Ivanka Trump a whole bunch of trademarks on her products just before Spanky changed his mind. Coinkidink? Methinks not.

  112. Phil #141

    Moving the brexit and devolution discussion here, if you’d indulge me?

    Good idea.

    But since there’s no reason why anyone reading this outside the UK should be familiar with the ins and outs of the current set-up and why this is even an issue right now, I’d just like to set out a bit of the background. Bear with me, as I realise that much if not all of this will be familiar to you personally, Phil.

    First of all, it’s important to differentiate between devolution and independence. Whereas independence is still controversial (in the 2014 referendum, Scots voted 55:45 to remain in the UK, and those numbers don’t seem to have budged a great deal since then), devolution is entirely uncontroversial in Scotland. The devolution referendum of 1997 was won with a 74% vote share for Yes, and there is still huge support for it, even among Unionists who do not wish to see Scotland leave the UK.

    The fundamental principle of our devolution settlement is that a range of named policy areas (e.g. defence, benefits and social security, immigration, foreign policy, employment, constitutional issues etc) should be reserved to Westminster, and everything else should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood.

    It is this devolution arrangement that is currently under threat by the UK government, which seeks to repatriate EU powers to Westminster post-Brexit for a period of up to 7 years, EVEN if, under the terms of our devolution settlement, they should actually fall under the jurisdiction of Holyrood. And this is what we are referring to when we talk of a “power grab”.

    The Scottish Parliament has repeatedly and resoundingly rejected the UK government’s plans to usurp Scotland’s devolved powers – and not just the pro-independence parties, either: the unionist Scottish Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrat Parties also voted to reject it; only the Tories supported it.

    The UK government’s declared reason for imposing the power grab is to ensure that we retain a single market within the UK in terms of standards and regulations etc, while the UK govt is trying to negotiate post-Brexit trade deals. However, it is already clear that a trade deal with the US, in particular, will involve huge compromises in terms of food standards, for example, that simply will not be acceptable to the Scottish public and would never be agreed to by a Scottish Parliament. Although we are being told that the powers would revert to Holyrood after 7 years, by then the deals will have been struck and will be legally binding, and there’ll be little or nothing we can do about aspects of them that we reject.

    Just a reminder, for context: Scotland voted by a large majority (62:38) to Remain in the EU. The Scottish Parliament is also overwhelmingly pro-EU, and has repeatedly sought to find ways to allow Scotland to at least remain a member of the European Single Market and Customs Union – only to have these rejected out of hand by the UK government.

    Despite voting to remain in the UK in 2014, Scotland has since twice elected pro-independence Scottish governments. The manifesto of the SNP (the governing, pro-independence, Scottish National Party) explicitly stated that the Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another independence referendum if there is “clear and sustained evidence” that independence has become the preferred option of a majority of the Scottish people OR if there is a “significant and material change in circumstances, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against its will”.

    Forgive the long essay, but I hope it’s been helpful to anyone else following our discussion.

    So now to your specific questions:

    Was brexit for the Conservatives (whatever was sold to the masses), at
    least in part, a power-grab right from the start?

    I have always maintained that Brexit has primarily been the project of the hard Right, and that their ultimate goal was never just for the UK to leave the EU but for it to become a libertarian, small-state, low-regulation, low-protection, low corporate-taxation economy, very much along US Republican lines; and that they have been, and will continue to be, utterly ruthless in pursuit of that goal.

    Where does Scotland fit in to that? Well, clearly, they won’t want the UK to be diminished by Scottish independence, and they’re not the kind of politicians who’ll seek to reduce the risk of that by meeting us half-way. These are people who have been known to talk of sending gunboats to Gibraltar, after all. In any case, Scottish voters will never accept the kind of libertarian state the Ultra Brexiteers have their hearts set on – on the whole, not even Tories in Scotland are as rabid as their counterparts south of the border. So the obvious alternative is to try to force us into acquiescence by removing our ability to resist.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that bit of it has been the plan from the start. To be perfectly honest, I doubt they gave Scotland or Scottish voters a second thought.

    I don’t include Theresa May among the Ultra Brexiteers/libertarians, by the way. She is your ultra-traditional, ultra-English, ultra-conservative (small c in this case), and ultra-unionist politician. She just instinctively feels England has rights over Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and that that’s the way God ordained it. (And yes, I do definitely think she feels England has rights over the rest of us, rather than that we are somehow all intrinsically partners and all in this together. The lack of respect shown by her and her government to the Scottish government since the Brexit vote has been truly shocking to behold. Scots should evidently be seen and not heard.)

    I don’t necessarily suspect her of having actively planned all along to weaken our devolution settlement, but she will certainly opportunistically exploit Brexit to do so.

    Would a Labour win in 2022 change anything?

    If the EU Withdrawal Bill goes through Parliament, the power grab will be law. It will have happened. Why should a Labour win in 2022 change anything? Corbyn has consistently whipped his MPs to support Tory Brexit legislation. Why vote for it now, only to overturn it later? Even if he did, what damage will have been done by 2022?

    Would I think it more acceptable for our powers to have been snatched away from us, if they were later to land in the hands of a different UK government from the one we have now? No. Of course not. We already have devolution. We have not consented to have it diminished. Our Parliament has voted resoundingly to reject any such diminution. The only reason the diminution is happening is to implement a Brexit we also voted resoundingly to reject. No. No, no, no.

    Corbyn is more eurosceptic than Theresa May is, and he’s every bit as much in fantasy land about how the EU works and the kind of relationship the UK can have with the EU as a non-member, as Jacob Rees-Mogg is.

    In any case, a Labour Party that is trailing 4% in the polls, despite the fact we currently have the worst, the most inept, the meanest, the most dishonest, the most disastrous and the most disorganised shambles of a Tory government we’ve ever had, is not a party I’m prepared to gamble Scotland’s future on.

  113. Thanks, Marco. That was excellent.

    Do you have much hope for the Supreme Court decision in July, on the legal standing of the devolved assemblies’ legislations to secure fully their devolved rights?

  114. Good question, Phil.

    I’m no lawyer, so I don’t have any expert insight on this, but my hunch is that the Supreme Court will find for the UK government. Constitutional matters are reserved to Westminster, after all.

    I’ve suspected all along that the actions of the Scottish Parliament have been primarily intended to put the maximum political pressure on Westminster in the hope that the UK government would finally start listening. But as we must surely all know, the UK government is in bullyboy mode just now.

    If I’m right, then it will shine a spotlight on the shortcomings of our current devolution settlement, and – for me, at least – lend further force to the argument that we need definitive autonomy.

    If I’m wrong … well, then everything would become very interesting indeed.

  115. lend further force to the argument that we need definitive autonomy.

    So Sturgeon should conduct a poll in June on voting intentions for a second independence referendum if autonomy is eroded by a negative result in the courts in July.

    Surely this could be just what she needs if the outrage is wide enough?

  116. Surely this could be just what she needs if the outrage is wide
    enough?

    I’m not sure it will be, though. You know what it’s like: we have a desperately under-politicised electorate in the UK. Look at Brexit: a few weeks ago, there were virtually riots across France because stocks of Nutella were running low. Meanwhile, here in the UK, we have a government that is deliberately, knowingly, curtailing our rights and freedoms, and dismantling the bedrock of our economy, with all the catastrophic consequences that will bring with it … and the majority of people either don’t care, or find the whole subject boring, or don’t think there’s anything they can do about it anyway. Yes, there are some passionate anti-Brexit campaigners, and I like to think I’m one of them; but I don’t kid myself the majority share my passion about it, even if they think Brexit is a mistake.

    So yes, I do think losing at the Supreme Court would lend support to the argument for definitive autonomy – but we’ll still have to work very hard to make that argument. There aren’t going to be any silver bullets.

  117. The electorate appear to have moved ten whole percentage points and now favour remain. In London, in business everyone remains remainers, while the rest of the country catches up.

  118. That’s true, Phil. It’s not that people don’t ever change their minds. It’s more a question of whether they will do so soon enough to prevent the impending catastrophe.

    It has taken very nearly 2 years for that swing to Remain to take place, and it’s happened as a result of people being able to see for themselves, day after day after day after day, that Brexit is not going to plan, that the simplicity of the transition that they were promised is patently not happening, and that the glorious sunlit uplands that supposedly await us on the other side are looking distinctly chlorine-washed.

    All these things are become ever-clearer right now.

    It’s slightly different with the power grab issue, though. For one thing, it hinges on legalities, which is of itself enough to switch an awful lot of people off before we even start. It just feels too far removed, too theoretical, too complicated. And what’s worse, the consequences of the power grab won’t be felt until after Brexit. They won’t even be identified, in detail, until some time after that – not until the UK starts negotiating trade deals and signing us up to all sorts of things we strongly object to.

    At that point, yes, some people who weren’t previously cross will become very cross. Others will shrug their shoulders and say, What can you expect, politicians are all the same. (One thing that hit me very forcefully when campaigning for Remain before the EU referendum is that, even when people are angry about things, and feel very strongly about them, they often lay the blame at the wrong door. I still think often about the man who angrily declared he was going to vote Leave because he was sick and tired of the potholes in his residential street.)

    In any case, by the time the effects of the power grab start to be felt or even just clearly seen, it will be too late to do anything about it.

    Yes, in theory, Scots could demand independence at any time. But in reality there are a number of constraints:

    Firstly: There is absolutely no question that the SNP currently has a mandate to call for a 2nd indyref – their manifesto could not have been more explicit. But that mandate will expire in May 2021, at the next election for the Scottish Parliament.

    Secondly: The SNP has had control of the Scottish Parliament since 2007. By 2021, the SNP will have been running Scotland for 14 years, and it’s perfectly possible – likely, even – that the political pendulum will begin to swing back. And Scottish Labour, Scottish Conservatives and the Scottish Lib Dems are all pro-Union, and none of them will seek or permit an indyref if they are in power.

    Thirdly: The next Scottish election after that will be in 2025. By then the effects of both Brexit and the power grab will be being felt, and perhaps Scots will be itching to break free BUT … by then we’ll be 
in a much worse state economically. Building a new country is no mean feat, and it makes sense to try to do it from a position of relative economic strength rather than weakness.

    Fourthly: The success of an independent Scotland will largely depend on our getting back into the EU. I follow European politics closely enough to know that there’s no significant question mark over our ability to do so – but that the negotiations will proceed very much faster if they take place before too many post-Brexit legal changes have taken place here. The most difficult, time-consuming part of any accession process is the harmonisation of the applicant country’s legal system. Right now, that wouldn’t be an issue. With every year that passes post-Brexit, it is likely to become a much bigger one, not because of laws emanating from Holyrood (Holyrood, I am sure, will continue to align itself with the EU wherever possible), but because of laws emanating from Westminster.

    In short, real autonomy needs to come sooner rather than later. We really don’t have the luxury of people gradually waking up to the disaster 2 or 3 or 5 years down the line. Mandate, political power and economic and legal realities all mean that, ideally, we should be going for this very soon. And I think we probably will. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a new indyref were announced next year. That said, no one should underestimate just how referendum-weary Scots are after two really draining referendums in two years. In my conversations with people, I frequently get the sense that people are more open to the idea of independence itself than they are to the idea of another independence referendum, and actually, that’s borne out in polling as well.

  119. When the Roseanne show was on tv in the 90s I didn’t watch much of it. I liked most of the cast well enough. Laurie Metcalf, Sarah Chalke was hot but the main problem was the eponymous host. The high pitched, screechy, loud mouthed Roseanne Barr set my nerves on edge. A few minutes of her onscreen and I was consumed with the desire to do violence. Probably my biggest takeaway from the show was the enormously long cord on the phone in their kitchen which meant people could take calls and then wander off to almost anywhere in the house. I still don’t know if this was a real American thing or a tv thing as we didn’t have those in the UK.

    So when the reboot happened I had little desire to watch it and then none at all when it became clear that in the intervening years Roseanne had morphed from a left leaning Dem to a rabid Trumpist. I don’t believe that anyone sane can be a Trumpist and Roseanne is clearly not sane. She also espouses a bunch of conspiracy theories like millions of illegal voters gave Hillary the popular win, that a secret deep state of jews is running the world, that George Soros is funding the actors who portray school shooting victims and that Chelsea Clinton is related to him. So now she’s tweeted that black female Valerie Jarrett, former advisor to Kenyan president B. Hussein Obama is the result of a sexual union between the Muslim Botherhood and something from Planet of the Apes. That insults blacks, females, Muslims and apes in one tidy package. I have no idea why someone who’s been out of politics for 18 months became the target of her odium.

    A shitstorm of recriminations followed. Wanda Sykes resigned as producer of the show, cast members criticized her and then the bomb dropped. ABC cancelled the show despite a second season having been greenlighted and the high ratings meaning it was making a load of money for them.

    Roseanne must have missed the memo which says that only Spanky himself can tweet filth and get away with it. The sad thing about all this is that actors are held to a certain standard of behaviour but the President of the USA is not. Teflon Don just slides along regardless. He should be held to a higher standard than ordinary people but he gets a mulligan on everything he tweets and says. I wish someone could just cancel his show.

  120. Spanky turns Memorial Day into Me-me-me-me Memorial Day. He can’r even tweet about fallen soldiers without making it all about himself.

    “Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!”

    No, not nice Spanky. Those who died would be mortified that a pathologically lying narcissist had taken over the country they gave their lives for and had achieved 3 fifths of fuck all in his first 18 months in office.

  121. Sarah Huckabitch Sanders says being called a liar upsets her. No kidding shit for brains. If millions of people called me a liar I’d stop lying. Ever considered that as an option?

  122. Arkrid Sandwich #152
    May 30, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Sarah Huckabitch Sanders says being called a liar upsets her.

    It obviously does not upset her enough to make her reform her behaviour! – but then any sign of honesty or integrity, would probably get her sacked from the Trump administration!

  123. Roseanne Barr promises to forego twitter after getting canned for racist tweets and then immediately starts retweeting other people’s racist and conspiratorial tweets. Yes dear, like the alcoholic heading for the pub after promising to forego booze or the druggy looking for his next fix we really believe you. NOT. You’re a sick addict.

  124. WTF is wrong with Dems? Every time Trump cries fake news they should cry fake president. Every time he screams about a witchhunt they should scream it’s charged and convicted several people already. Stop bringing a knife to a gunfight.

  125. The Dems are still broken and we are running out of time.

    Yesterday I wrote

    But American voters need to understand all the weaknesses they have built into their democracy and the apparatus of state in the mistaken belief that they are enhancing its democratic efficacy.

    Political influence is insanely purchasable, barely distinct from a banana republic. Public servants, instead of being nodes of expertise placed there on merit are political appointments or directly elected allowing a piece by piece tyranny of the masses to prevail. Corporations allowed as political actors though their own constitutions demand a libertarian psychopathy of them. A toothless FCC allowing opinion to be paraded as news, and using a first amendment right to sell news not of merchantable quality. (Fox Views or close it down.)

    Not only do the current scum need to be voted out of office, hard lessons must be learned and never-again-fixes put in place.

    Every outrages helps. And it is Democrats we most need to complain about. They need to grow some gonads.

    I write this stuff on mostly American facing channels. I get very little challenge, factual push back etc. But it is greeted with an awkward silence from a mostly Dem audience. One to one they grant it true then….nothing.

    There seems a passivating trust in the state and its democratic processes. The Dems just needs to stick to its old ways to steer us through.

  126. I was hooked on Roseanne. Perhaps single handedly it brought working class and gay folks right into the mainstream and dignified them. All the doing of Roseanne Barr. John Goodman is possibly the best actor a sitcom has ever had. Laurie Metcalfe was genius at playing “for real” too (see Lady Bird a kind movie of great subtlety and wit), ditto Sara Gilbert, one of the great child actors.

    Her fall from her humanistic pedestal suggests something bad in the water there….

  127. I don’t agree with you Phil. I think your view of American politics is a poor caricature of the real thing. I’m usually quiet about this because I don’t enjoy arguing with people from the UK about US politics.

    But I don’t want you to think we all agree with your assessment and feel hopeless. I don’t, and I don’t.

  128. I’m glad to hear something back for once, Sean. Thank you.

    Any particular part of what I’ve said, or pretty much the lot?

    Most of all I’m glad you don’t feel hopeless. I sure enough think that disgust will energise a sufficient flip to get us out of the current predicament, but what’s to help prevent a repeat?

  129. @ Marco #149

    The success of an independent Scotland….

    Sorry, Marco, that’s just oxymoronic.

    ( I used to live there, so I know the territory well. )

  130. We don’t “do” anything like as many prescription drugs here in the UK as you do in America so I could not speak to Roseane Barr’s excuse that it was Ambien that made her tweet what she did. So I went to the chemist to get some and read the side effects it lists. Sure enough it says “side effects can include, drowsiness, loss of appetite, heightened libido, malignant racism and behaving like a complete cnut.”

    I shall stick with my wee dram of a night time to help me sleep rather than resort to pills.

  131. So I was googling about prescription drugs today because there’s a big difference in how we approach those in the UK versus the USA. It’s noticeable to Brits that American culture like sitcoms and comedians includes many references to trademarked drug names that we simply don’t get. If you ask the average Brit to name a drug they’ll say aspirin and then get stumped. Americans will reel off a big list of stuff that they or their friends take. Google says that the “average” American fills 12 prescriptions a year and takes 10 pills a day. The last time I went to a doctor was 15 years ago and I take zero pills a day. My entire medicine cabinet consists of a small pack of sticking plasters and some paracetamol. I have more medications for the dog than me. I had to get him gloop for his ear infections and worm tablets of which I only ever gave him one as he never actually got worms.

    The British attitude to illness is shit happens, deal with it. It’ll sort itself out in a few days. The American attitude is there must be a pill that can give me a quick fix for this. Can’t sleep, pop a pill. Sleep too much, pop a different pill. Restless leg syndrome, pop a pill for your imaginary ailment. Feeling down, pop an upper. Feeling too up, pop a downer. Maybe a different approach would be eat properly, take some exercise and stop whining.

  132. The American attitude…

    Arkrid, I agree with 99% of what you say and look forward to your almost daily infusion of anti-Drumpf rhetoric. Great, often witty and always amusingly caustic stuff. But much like Sean_W’s rejoinder to phil, I have to take issue with this caricature of the “American attitude” towards illness. Of course you’re stereotyping here to make a point (I hope). And need I remind you that “America” is a large place that dwarf’s the UK in size by quite a bit. Does what you mention take place? Of course. Here as well as in the UK. In larger numbers here no doubt since we’re much bigger. Also I hear there’s a bit of a recreational drug problem in the UK (opiates) as well, just like in much of the US so I think it’s a bit myopic to consider that your attitude is an accurate stand-in for “the British attitude” as a whole. We’ve got plenty enough issues here these days without having relative non issues (not speaking of the drug crisis per se, which is ubiquitous) thrust upon us as well, even if only in a blog amongst friends.

    I just felt the need to make a distinction before I spouted off with some of my own British sterotypes… 😉

  133. I do wonder if Americans are over medicated. How can we know? This is a separate issue from something we can definitely know: our medications are advertised constantly on TV every day. Apparently this doesn’t happen in other places. It’s one thing to advertise nostrums, mild pain relief, stomach acid neutralizers and remedies for the dreaded constipation, but why on earth am I being prompted to obtain drugs that are involved in cancer treatment and heart attacks? Many of the medications pushed at me every night during the news are only available by prescription by a medical doctor. Do people watch these advertisements and then go running off to their doctors demanding that they write a prescription on the spot? My doctor would tell me to get the hell out of her office if I tried that. I figure it must be happening though, as advertisement time is very expensive and it must be paying off for the pharm companies somehow.

    We may have some overmedicated hypochondriacs here but we have some pill phobics here too. Two are related to me closely. My brother proudly boasts of not even taking aspirin or any other pill but while he’s saying that he’s puffing on his cigarette. My mom ended up in the hospital because she stopped taking her high BP meds. Why? she tested her BP and it was normal. So she decided she didn’t need meds anymore. Great.

    o_O

    Arkrid – I don’t believe that the average American is on 10 Pills/day. My mom is 80 and she’s on five.

  134. Do people watch these advertisements and then go running off to their
    doctors demanding that they write a prescription on the spot?

    I’ve always wondered this too. apparently, incredible as it seems some do. Is it a problem? Yes. Is it a uniquely American problem? I don’t think so.

  135. I hope I’m not a totally ignorant Brit when it comes to the US. I have worked in the US for over two decades, nearly moved there, and had a permanent immigrant right to work visa or whatever it was called in the late eighties. Even today I work with American companies and many American folk. Many of my views are are got from them. One used to pop up here now and again.

    Nor do I think anything other than that the British are at risk of many of these same problems in several decades time or sooner if, as Marco rightly points out, we English don’t get our political shit together and fix the right wing attacks on our hard fought for rights and freedoms, and the left wing incompetence.

    My concern here is as much to help trigger debate.

    Even if these caricatures are a little unfair it seems that many do not notice the qualities of their own culture like a fish unaware of the water it swims in.

    So, please,

    just felt the need to make a distinction before I spouted off with some of my own British sterotypes…

    bring it on.

  136. Part of the problem is the lack of health care. People go without operations, therapy because of the high cost .
    The government is to blame. If you can’t get your pain taken care of the cheapest way to “treat” it is with pain killers. If the same level of care was given to all, like our professional athletes, we wouldn’t have half the problem.
    I have pain 24 hours a day. If I took any pain killers, I would be a addict.
    And there is the catch 22. If you are in pain for the rest of your life, you take meds, you are an addict.
    If you only have temporary pain, you don’t need them.
    The VA will not give out pain killers to patients who have depression because of constant pain.
    Figure that out.

  137. I hope I’m not a totally ignorant Brit when it comes to the US.

    That’s a good one Phil. But you know more about America than ninety percent of Americans.
    I tell my friends to put themselves on the moon looking down at the Earth before they make a decision.

  138. Laurie, I am sixty three and I take ten a day.
    Blood thinners are always a good idea at a certain age, high blood pressure could be related to
    our crappy lifestyle and stress is a certainty.
    And I take two aspirin a day.

  139. Laurie

    Do people watch these advertisements and then go running off to their
    doctors demanding that they write a prescription on the spot? My
    doctor would tell me to get the hell out of her office if I tried
    that. I figure it must be happening though, as advertisement time is
    very expensive and it must be paying off for the pharm companies
    somehow.

    I think it is two-pronged. The pharmaceutical industry advertises certain products, then supplies samples to doctor offices. And yes, it is a highly profitable marketing strategy. Consumers are quizzed on symptoms they didn’t even know they had. Twenty years ago did anyone know about ‘restless leg syndrome’?

  140. Samantha Bee didn’t hold back in her show last night. She ran a segment on immigrant’s kids being separated from their parents and then launched into Ivanka Trump who’d posted a photo of herself with her 2 year old on twitter.

    “Ivanka Trump, who works at the White House, chose to post the second most oblivious tweet we’ve seen this week,” Bee said. “You know, Ivanka, that’s a beautiful photo of you and your child, but let me just say, one mother to another, do something about your dad’s immigration practices you feckless cnut!”

    “He listens to you,” she continued. “Put on something tight and low-cut and tell your father to fucking stop it. Tell him it was an Obama thing and see how it goes, OK?”

    Wow. Love it. What I wouldn’t give to see Rachel Maddow call Ivanka Trump a feckless cnut. Or her dad for that matter.

  141. LaurieB #164
    May 30, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    Arkrid – I don’t believe that the average American is on 10 Pills/day. My mom is 80 and she’s on five.

    I believe the 10 a day number includes non prescription drugs, and vitamins/supplements which have no measurable benefit for most people.

    https://consumer.healthday.com/general-health-information-16/prescription-drug-news-551/americans-taking-more-prescription-drugs-than-ever-survey-725208.html

    4.5 billion prescriptions a year which is 14 for every adult and child in the country. That’s just fucking crazy. No wonder healthcare costs you guys twice what it costs every other western country.

    I stand by what I said. Attitudes the USA are radically different to those in the UK at least. We don’t think every tiny ailment, real or imaginary, needs a pill to cure it.

    and remedies for the dreaded constipation,

    Never had it, never known anyone who has. Other than eating a diet of entirely Big Macs with no roughage and not enough fluid intake I can’t even imagine how you’d get it. If shitting was an olympic sport I could be on the British team. I go 4 times a day at least. OK TMI I know but anyone who eats even reasonably healthily should never have this. You don’t need pills for it either. Eat some broccoli or a few prunes. I’m guilty of living on far too many microwave meals but I bulk them out with beetroot, broccoli, jacket potatoes with the skins on, olives and other veggies.

  142. Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community, Statistics for England – 2006-2016

    The total number of items dispensed in 2016 was 1,104.1 million, an increase of 1.9 percent, (20.5 million) on the number of items dispensed in 2015. This is an increase of 46.8 percent (352.2 million) on the 752.0 million items dispensed in 2006.

    The average number of prescription items per head of the population in 2016 is 20.0, compared to 19.8 items in the previous year and 14.8 in 2006.

    The total number of items dispensed in 2016 for antidepressants showed the greatest numeric rise since 2015. They increased by 3.7 million items (6.0 percent)

    That last bit is just more evidence, as if any more were needed, that the great American creep continues to be a major threat to our way of life. Were we even depressed before America?

  143. My parents’ generation was famous for obsessing over bowel function. They lived on the most revolting diet in human history. Staying “regular” was a great concern. I was raised on the worst food ever. All canned vegetables cooked until gray then slathered with butter and salt. Meat burned to a crisp and tons of potatoes. Goopy gravy. Never knew the meaning of fresh veg and actual fruit until I met hubby and other Mediterranean types. American immigrants have changed our menu for the better. Young people want nothing to do with stodgy old mucky “comfort food”.

    Food is not the only problem here. A sedentary couch potato lifestyle slows down the entire system. The very people tucked into the couch watching TV for hours at a time night after night watching those ads would be better off out taking a stroll instead of stretched out inert munching on ex-lax.

    And since I’m in the mood to be a pedantic pain in the ass, you need to know that that Big Macs actually DO have lettuce in them!!!

    😉

    I DO love MacDonalds. I don’t want to! But with the food I was brought up with for 18 years as described above, when my parents took us to MacDonalds a couple times a month, you can see how heavenly that food was! It’s now impossible to excise that from my memory. Now, for those of us who come from this unfortunate food model, driving along and seeing a McDonalds drive through window represents what was a delicious treat from our childhood diet of bland mush. It’s irresistible for taste and sentimental reasons. It’s delicious! It’s cheap! It’s on every Main St. in every town!

    McDonalds exists as the perfect super capitalism model in America and has contributed to our dire obesity problem but ahhh…those golden arches….

  144. @phil re: bring it on

    Hi Phil. I was mostly being rhetorical. I don’t think any of us wants to or needs to engage in a pissing contest regarding the problems in our particular countries. Plenty enough to go around, no? I was aiming that at Arkrid based on his superficial and sweeping commentary on the American situation regarding US attitude on prescription drug use. I am absolutely no shil for Big Pharma (quite the opposite) and there is room for sweeping reform. I just don’t like dogma and Arkrid’s commentary sounded way too dogmatic for my taste. In addition, along different lines as we both know the Brexit situation in the UK is certainly analogous to the Trump situation in the US as I’m sure you’ll agree. Just on a smaller scale. And you can keep your monarchy. If I never see or hear about that fecking wedding again it will be too soon…

  145. Hi Steven!

    If I never see or hear about that fecking wedding again it will be too
    soon…

    I have to take issue with one point: the 19-year-old cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason. It was one of the finest cello performances I’ve ever heard, and (for me) the highlight of the entire ceremony. His whole family is pretty phenomenal!

  146. My expectation, 007, was that I would most likely agree with the stereotypes. Used in humour they are funny because mostly true.

    What I’m disappointed about over here is the lack of voices from our representatives saying “Never again”. We must enshrine a proper process when attempting such direct democracy again, that may remove indefinitely the cherished rights of others.

    Cock up and deception brought this about, which makes it all the more galling.

  147. @Vicki –

    Hi Vicki. Thanks for the heads up. I will have to check that out. I admittedly did not watch one second of any of those festivities (on purpose) but I’m happy to indulge in any resultant cultural overflow.

    @phil –

    I found this piece on wiki and thought it was amusing, if not accurate:

    …the Europe stereotype towards Britain is as “drunken, semi-clad hooligans or else snobbish, stiff free marketers”, their view towards France is “cowardly, arrogant, chauvinistic, erotomaniacs”, and they see Germany as “uber-efficient, diligent [and] disciplined”. To Europe, Italy is “tax-dodging, Berlusconi-style and mama’s boys, incapable of bravery”, Poland is “heavy-drinking ultracatholics with a whiff of antisemitism”, and Spain is “macho men and fiery woman prone to regular siestas and fiestas”.

    I quite like “erotomaniacs”. I wasn’t even aware it was a word, ha.

  148. Steven007 #177
    May 31, 2018 at 10:24 am

    I was aiming that at Arkrid based on his superficial and sweeping commentary on the American situation regarding US attitude on prescription drug use I just don’t like dogma and Arkrid’s commentary sounded way too dogmatic for my taste.

    And I find your sweeping and superficial response insulting and offensive. I have posted the source of some statistics. A country where on average every man, woman and child fills a prescription every 4 weeks has something drastically wrong with it. Americans are addicted to being prescribed drugs.

  149. Arkrid, sorry to offend but here’s what I know. I am an American. And I am not addicted to prescribed drugs (or being prescribed them, whatever that means). This I KNOW. This does not fit your narrative. Neither me nor anyone in my wide circle of friends fit your description (save for a few old folks and ill folks my own age). That’s why I described it as a sweeping generalization. So you can cite statistics, which are exactly what they are and as we both know – inherently subject to the way they’re collected, analysed, interpreted, presented, and organized – and subject to many well know biases (and stereotypes, obviously), and I can give you my unscientific anecdotal evidence and never the twain shall meet I suppose. What you state is dogma and absolute, which is actually unscientific. You stating it’s not does not make it so.

  150. Steve #181

    Yep. Those pretty much nail it.

    Wrapped up in all of those views is a grudging admiration. We are like squabbling siblings. The French seeming capacity for pleasure is…well, galling. We wish we had German competence or the Italian machismo to cheat on our taxes etc., etc..

  151. Taken from: Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community, Statistics for England – 2006-2016, if you google it you’ll find it at the NHS site. I posted the link earlier this morning, but it never appeared.

    The total number of items dispensed in 2016 was 1,104.1 million, an increase of 1.9 percent, (20.5 million) on the number of items dispensed in 2015. This is an increase of 46.8 percent (352.2 million) on the 752.0 million items dispensed in 2006. The average number of prescription items per head of the population in 2016 is 20.0, compared to 19.8 items in the previous year and 14.8 in 2006.

    The total number of items dispensed in 2016 for antidepressants showed the greatest numeric rise since 2015. They increased by 3.7 million items (6.0 percent)

    That last bit is just more evidence, as if any more were needed that the great American creep continues to be a major threat to our way of life. Were we even depressed before America?

    –//–

    I’m definitely envious of their healthcare costs, let’s not get that twisted. It’s awesome. –big grin–

  152. The most the White House could bring itself to say via the Huckabitch about Roseanne’s Barr’s muslim ape slur was that it was “inappropriate” but then it was about a black Obama aide so why would they care? Trump refused to condemn it at all instead making it about himself and why had he never received an apology from ABC for things they’d allegedly said about him in the past.

    However Samantha Bee’s “feckless cnut” comment about Ivanka is totally different. That’s “vile and vicious” apparently because it’s about a white woman not a black one and a Trump to boot. If course the other difference is it’s true. Valerie Jarrett is neither a muslim nor an ape but Ivanka hasn’t done a damn thing with her access to power other than enrich and promote herself. She gets trademarks for her products in China in return for daddy supporting telecoms company ZTE which has been on a sanctions list for selling banned tech to Iran and North Korea. She’s every bit as corrupt as her father.

    Sadly IMO Sam Bee has now apologised. I fail to see why. Surely she and the show’s lawyers discussed all the options and what they’d do about the inevitable backlash before deciding to call Ivanka a cnut.

  153. I think Bee did the right thing by apologizing. There is plenty of room to be outraged at this administration, but we don’t need to lower ourselves to Trump’s level by name-calling. Just the facts are disturbing enough to people with a moral foundation.

  154. Trump never apologises. He says vile things about people all the time but never backs down. Assuming Sam Bee isn’t going to blame what she said on alcohol or Ambien then either she meant it and should stick by it or she should think a lot more carefully about her scriptwriting in future. She’s not new to this. She knew there’d be a huge backlash. Now she just looks stupid by trying to walk it back.

  155. Bee didn’t really do anything different than she’s always done: pulling no punches in her delivery.

    The situation is a little different now, though, because of the fallout over Roseanne. I do not pretend the two come from the same well of values, they didn’t. And the venues are markedly different: Bee is on a cable network that is know for being edgier, and Roseanne was on a Disney-owned channel. Still, I stand by my post that Bee doesn’t need to resort to name-calling to get her point across.

  156. Wow. I’m confused. And I don’t agree with anyone. (sorry)I don’t agree with myself either? And I don’t even know what “feckless” means. (no, I’m not gonna google it)
    These are different times. We should not stoop to their level. And then again, what is proper when
    dealing with people who would commit atrocities if ordered? And who will be their victims?
    Everyone is frustrated. On edge. Especially here in the US.
    I seem to be buying a lot of camping equipment lately. MRE’s, tent, sleeping bag, anti-trump supporter spray.

  157. Is Trump deliberately trying to destroy his own presidency? I have to concede this as a possibility. He’s just imposed import tariffs for steel and aluminium on his allies, Canada, Mexico and the EU. It was stupid enough trying to pick a fight with China who could perhaps legitimately be described as an opponent if not a full blown enemy but why is he now lashing out at friends?

    Perhaps of more note to voters in November he’s just pardoned Dinesh D’Souza who was convicted of making illegal campaign contributions to a friend. D’Souza is a vile right wing racist, homophobe and conspiracy theorist who makes Roseanne Barr look like a babe in arms. Trump is doing this to troll Dems and it’s going to energize them in November more than trade tariffs I suspect. The power of presidential pardon has no limits other than it can only be used for federal crimes not state ones. I think it’s how Trump views his entire presidency or at least wishes it could be. He wants to be emperor with unlimited power over Congress, the courts and the Justice department. We can see from how he abuses the power of both the bully pulpit and the power of presidential pardon how he would behave if there were no checks and balances at all on him. He’d be a dictator like Mugabe or Idi Amin or Putin and I have little doubt that both his perceived enemies and real political ones would find themselves in jail or on a mortuary slab if he had the ability to achieve that.

    I still don’t think most people get how truly evil and corrupt Trump is. I don’t think there is any conscience, remorse or empathy at work inside there at all and that only the prospect of the law catching up with him limits his behaviour. However he appears to be making not even the slightest attempt to help his own party win the midterms. Everything he’s doing just now seems to be designed to make Republicans pull their hair out and energise Dems to vote more. Maybe the Mueller probe and the constant media spotlight on him is wearing him down. Even through his narcissism there must be some part of him that realises he’s incompetent and an awful president. Perhaps he’s sick of it and wants out. His behaviour is certainly getting more unhinged. He’s now trying to claim again he didn’t fire Comey because of Russia despite having said exactly that to Lester Holt on camera as everyone knows. Then the tantrum last week about the supposedly non existent White House spokesman who’d just given a briefing to dozens of reporters about NK and is in photos standing next to him. Even for someone with such a tenuous connection to the truth as Trump enjoys this is bizarre behaviour.

    If the Dems crush the mid terms then Trump has the perfect excuse for doing nothing other than play golf for the next two years. Maybe that’s his plan for the remainder of his pathetic presidency.

  158. Thinking Americans should request other countries to boycott American businesses until Trump is gone.
    If we don’t get this disaster out of the WH, it may be the only way.
    Attacking Canada and Mexico is not acceptable.
    Is this a bad idea?

  159. If the Dems crush the mid terms then Trump has the perfect excuse for doing nothing other than play golf for the next two years. Maybe that’s his plan for the remainder of his pathetic presidency.

    What happens if the midterms don’t add up? And the Dem don’t win the Senate?
    Two more years of Trump? What happens if the Dems do take the Senate and start impeachment?
    (Senate can start own impeachment without going through the House.)
    What kind of reaction will we get from the alt-right?
    This is looking ugly either way.

  160. Finally. Bernie Sanders appears on Real Time with Bill Maher and says Trump is a pathological liar. I don’t know why everyone hasn’t been saying this for 2 years already.

  161. alf1200 #192
    May 31, 2018 at 8:52 pm
    And I don’t even know what “feckless” means. (no, I’m not gonna google it)

    Why on earth not? What advantage is there in wilfully deciding not to learn something new? This really bugs me. One of the main reasons America is in such a state now is because of how woefully low information so many of the electorate are and how they vote against their own self interests by just not bothering to find stuff out.

    It was absolutely incontrovertible fact that Osama Bin Laden was from Saudi Arabia and that he organised and funded 9/11. But Bush needed an excuse to invade Iraq having already decided to do so so as well as lying about WMDs he tried to convince people that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. He couldn’t just say this as back then there was still some small convention about lying blatantly about things that were easily checkable so he and his administration just tried to imply it by mentioning Iraq, Al Qaeda and 9/11 together every chance they got like a mantra. In a poll taken just before the Iraq invasion 70% of the American people now thought Iraq had been somehow involved with 9/11. Mere suggestion had been enough to outweigh the actual facts reported in every paper and all over the internet because people are just too fucking dumb to check anything out.

    In a recent poll 83% of Republicans either think up to 5 million people illegally voted for Hillary to give her the popular vote win or are unsure if it’s true just because Trump has been saying it like Bush said Iraq was behind 9/11.

    http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/389569-half-of-republicans-in-new-poll-say-millions-of-ballots-were-cast-illegally

    No one has learned anything since 2003. The electorate is still too fucking feckless to find stuff out or reason out the difference between truth and lies. The easiest people to con are stupid and uninformed ones and that’s why Trump is president now. Wise up for fuck’s sake you bunch of feckless cnuts before you screw yourselves all over again.

  162. alf

    boycott American businesses until Trump is gone.

    I’m already worried about the damage that Trump and his entourage are doing to us and I’m not sure how much of that damage can be corrected in the future. Let’s not invite more damage. The economy is holding steady for now but when the chickens come home to roost after the tax cuts for the rich and now consequences from the tariffs become apparent, I fear that our decent economy will be gone too. However, a boycott of Trump & Co would be welcome.

    What kind of reaction will we get from the alt-right?
    This is looking ugly either way.

    This is what I’m afraid of. Trump supporters are being primed by FUX news to expect a full on persecution of their tribe by the (sneer) liberals even though the leading characters in the investigation are respectable Republicans.
    I’m bracing for a mega backlash from Trumpists when Mueller presents his findings. This will not go well. I hope the Dems for once will stand their ground and fight back. It’s not just alt-right who will freak out. It’s many more people than that. It’s a significant chunk of our population. This is a depressing thought.

    I have to admit an ugly thought. I’m so sick of watching Trump blundering through this “diplomacy” with N. Korea. It’s excruciating to see his pathetic macho posturing when his incompetence is obvious. So I now have fantasies of Kim Jong-un making a complete fool of Trump in a very public way. Lucy pulling the football just out of Charlie Brown’s reach. Then I feel bad about wishing for bad things to happen. Conflicted.

  163. LaurieB #198
    Jun 2, 2018 at 7:17 am

    I have to admit an ugly thought. I’m so sick of watching
    Trump blundering through this “diplomacy” with N. Korea.
    It’s excruciating to see his pathetic macho posturing when his incompetence is obvious.

    As we don’t have a JUNE OPEN DISCUSSION yet, I have put a comment on that topic here: –

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2018/05/trumps-foreign-policy-looks-a-lot-like-rapture-christians-plan-to-welcome-the-apocalypse/#li-comment-232169

  164. Feckless.

    An Irish virgin.

    We must not mistake a mark on the flip down tray as a sign that the engines have not been serviced.

    I think the specific gesture of not caring about the the specific word is a most likely a gesture of not liking the nature of the discussion.

    Perhaps mods could move these comments into June Open Thread, when created?

  165. Laurie,

    I think sanctions of some sort against the US are indeed appropriate, especially if tied to eco concerns, the issuing of traveller advice for some states to minority groups, etc..

    No real harm will accrue, but a message from the first world to signal the toxicity and downright selfishness of some of US policy decisions needs to make it on to Fux Views. A lot of the world’s population fear the example the US pose to all would-be theo-tyrants that subjection, by appealing to base instincts, is a piece of piss (UK “easy”).

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