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Open Thread 15 - 21 May

by Bjinse Sun May 14th, 2017 at 09:39:06 AM EST

Shake your business up & thread it

Luxury Airport Terminal in Los Angeles Features Screen That Lets the Rich Watch Everyone Else Suffer at the Main Terminal
De Becker rebuffed any suggestion that his terminal symbolised inequality.

It cost taxpayers nothing and would generate $34m for LAX over the next nine years, he said. Plus it would make his clients likelier to use commercial flights rather than charter private jets. "It's all about the airport, about predictability. When you charter you can buy your way out of the line."

So Private Suite was an egalitarian advance? De Becker nodded. "It's a voluntary tax on the wealthy."

America's most famous socialist, he suggested, would approve. "I love Bernie Sanders."

by das monde on Mon May 15th, 2017 at 01:17:32 AM EST
Guardian - Nick Cohen - Brexit bullies turn on those sorting out their mess

May's speeches are filled with the fantasy that we can agree the divorce terms and set up the framework for a trade agreement within two years. It took Canada seven years to negotiate a trade deal - and that did not cover service industries, which form the bulk of the British economy. May gave the impression that the future of EU citizens in Britain and British citizens in the EU could be settled in weeks. She does not want to know wrenching them out of a common framework of law is an extraction so complicated it could go wrong in a hundred different ways. She appears to think that Britain can leave the single market but still retain full access to the single market for the car, financial services and media and tech industries without complying with EU law.

As Charles Grant of the Centre for European Reform delicately puts it, no civil servant appears to be free to tell the prime minister that what she wants cannot be delivered unless she backs down and accepts freedom of movement and a continuing role for the European court of justice.

Anyone who has worked for a propagandistic newspaper will sympathise. The prime minister is no more than an editor who sets the party line. The job of the journalist or civil servants is to toe it and not bother the boss with awkward details.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 15th, 2017 at 08:32:13 AM EST
Who's at the Controls on KLM? Sometimes, the Dutch King
King Willem-Alexander said in an interview published Wednesday that for the last 21 years, he has flown twice a month as a commercial airline co-pilot for KLM's Cityhopper subsidiary, a regional carrier that flies among European cities.

He was seldom recognized in uniform, particularly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when safety protocols were introduced to limit access to cockpits, he said.

The king would often greet passengers over the intercom, but not readily identify himself. "The advantage is that I can always say that I wish everyone a heartfelt welcome in the name of the captain and the crew," he told De Telegraaf newspaper. "So I don't have to say my own name. But most of the people don't listen anyway."

by das monde on Fri May 19th, 2017 at 03:04:57 AM EST
by generic on Fri May 19th, 2017 at 11:28:40 AM EST

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 19th, 2017 at 11:36:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What's the name of that British alleged comic who got banned at Berkeley and so on? Far-right free-hate-speech thing?

Just wondering, he's got a copycat in France, Cyril Hanouna.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri May 19th, 2017 at 06:19:35 PM EST
Milo Yiannopoulus ? Although that's not his real name apparently

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 19th, 2017 at 06:46:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Milo Hanrahan aka Milo Andreas Wagner

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 19th, 2017 at 06:47:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Google translator seems to be pretty popular in Japan. I've seen university students use it to translate technical documents. Can't imagine this works well:

by generic on Sat May 20th, 2017 at 04:29:42 AM EST
Many years ago I posted a test of Google translate and requested feedback.  The conclusion was the output was dismal to gibberish.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun May 21st, 2017 at 06:18:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It used to take about three attempts by a student to pass off Google translated work and getting caught before they really GOT the idea that Google-translated J-E was incredibly obvious, and incredibly wrong.

After all, Google says it translates, and it's written down on paper, so it must be true. Or so the student mind goes.

by Zwackus on Wed May 24th, 2017 at 02:11:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Current Affairs
Current Affairs is well-known for its signature "Death to The Economist" bumper stickers, which have greatly improved the expressive capacities of the American motorist when it comes to demonstrating a discerning taste in periodicals. But, occasionally, members of the public send us adverse feedback on our vehicular adhesive strips. "What," they ask, "is your problem with The Economist? Why be so rude? How can you wish death upon a perfectly innocuous and respectable British political magazine?" Current Affairs, it is said, is behaving badly. We are being unfair.

It's true that death is an extreme consequence to wish on another magazine, even if the magazine in question is The Economist. And sometimes I do wonder whether the sentiment goes a bit too far, whether it would be more fair to wish something like "a minor drop in circulation" or "a financially burdensome libel suit" on our London competitor.

But then I remember what The Economist actually is, and what it stands for, and what it writes. And I realize that death is the only option. A just world would not have The Economist in it, and the death of The Economist is thus an indispensable precondition for the creation of a just world

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat May 20th, 2017 at 05:25:32 AM EST
I went to get some cat food at the little supermarket, and found that they had a special on Brewdog beer. I was mildly impressed by how cosmopolitan we have become. The first one I picked up had grapefruit in it, so I put it back down. (I'm going to Berlin next week, so if I want fruit in my lager I can have it there.) I got some "American red" instead. Funny to see European brewers playing catch-up with innovative Americans. They also had Brooklyn lager, which I do like, so I got some of that.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun May 21st, 2017 at 01:05:44 PM EST
Modern US style beers (of which Punk IPA was the first British version) tended towards a heavy grapefruit flavour. So, I guess actually adding grapefruit was the only way to up the ante.

Actually, fruit in beer isn't just a german thing. After all, it stems from wanting to preserve seasonal soft fruits befroe refridgeration. One way to do this was to fill half a barrel with fruit and then pour beer over it.  For some reason red fruit beers aren't common in UK, but plum, damson and blackberry beers are popular here. I keep trying to persaude local brewers to make a sloe stout too.

But I dont mind hops that make citric flavours, I'm less enthused about adding citrus pith cos it's contrived. You can't add the fruit itself cos citric acid ferments out into emetic flavours.

Berliner weisse with wormwood is absolutely the way to go. You can get a wormwood cordial from supermarkets there and then add to your wheat beers when you're home for the Berlin vibe.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 21st, 2017 at 02:31:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can someone explain to me why May seems to be so bloody terrified of an election I thought she was meant to win handily? Is she really in some danger here? Will a failure to increase majority lead to her losing the Tory leadership? Is she in danger of losing? What am I missing here?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 22nd, 2017 at 11:02:14 AM EST
I suspect that she's not so much terrified as she lacks the ability to even pretend to be warm and empathetic. She's probably very good with people who are like her, such as her own seat of Maindenhead. She relates to the problems of hedge fund management. But ordinary people not so much as she tends to view them as specimens to dissect rather than voters to cosset.

So they've built a campaign around her being remote but competent. Every little attempt at the TV-friendly theatre of knocking on doors has back fired on them, so they've largely given up.

Also, their election strategy guru, Lynton Crosby, likes focused campaigns with simple messaging, strong and stable in this case. But that's gone a bit awry cos they overdid it. And now the Dementia Tax.

They're giving a good impression of having the wheels coming off their campaign. Given that, even now, they're 9 points ahead in the pools suggest needless panic, but I'll take whatever comfort I can get right now.

It doesn't help that Labour are having a good election and have utterly crushed the threat of the LibDem revival. Corbyn is now seen as a net plus, he's attracting rave responses around the ountry and seems to be energising people who wouldnt normally vote, which is scaring the pollsters somewhat.

And the manifesto has been a big hit too.

The press are working overtime to keep the Conservative message strong, but at times you can see they're not marching in lockstep to the Crosby beat.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 22nd, 2017 at 11:31:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - Gary Younge -  Jeremy Corbyn has defied his critics to become Labour's best hope of survival

The late Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano once expressed his deepest concern that "we are all suffering from amnesia ... [that makes us] blind to small things and small people". Who, I asked him, was responsible for this forgetfulness. "It's not a person," he explained. "It's a system of power that is always deciding in the name of humanity who deserves to be remembered, and who deserves to be forgotten."

Seeing the response to Labour's election manifesto last week was a clear illustration of just how powerful the amnesiac qualities of that system can be. For the past two decades, even as inequality grew to obscene levels, the notion that a government could tax the wealthy in order to fund public services had been all but banished from the public square. Similarly, the idea that we could take back into national ownership private companies delivering abysmal but essential public services, such as trains and utilities, was simply not discussed. These arguments were never lost; they were simply marginalised until we just stopped hearing them.

For the past two years, the incantation among mainstream pundits and the majority of the parliamentary Labour party has been that under Jeremy Corbyn Labour offers no opposition to the Tories, and he will eventually destroy the party. Increasingly, though, it seems he could be the party's best hope for survival and renewal, precisely because he has articulated what opposition to austerity might look like.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 22nd, 2017 at 11:35:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't even mean her personally - I can't bear to watch her - but the way they're running their campaign.

I do wonder if Brexit has caused enough structural changes to make  polling less dependable than it might be. I wonder if there are models showing the possibility of hilariously bad outcomes for the Tories?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon May 22nd, 2017 at 11:38:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, but they've built the campaign around her. Strong and stable doesn't mean the tories, it actually means Theresa May herself.

Their battle bus has only the tiniest mention of Conservatives (on one door  panel in 2" high writing), while YUUUUGE pictures of May being Strong and Stable adorn the length of the bus.

Even Boris has been pushed to the margin, Hammond made a couple of disastrous radio appearances where he totally messed up his figures (much worse than Diane Abott) but nbody hears about them cos it's okay if you're a tory. He has been banished tho'. Similarly with Boris who's also mostly conspicuous by his absence.

May has also apparently reversed the Dementia tax thing. Except she hasn't, she's just hoping people hear the headline, but the reality that shows it hasn't really changed is buried in technical detail they're hoping joournos won't understand or will gloss over on editor's orders

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 22nd, 2017 at 11:59:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think they were expecting the ukip vote to come over to them, which combined with their massive leads in the polling meant they could just go on a victory tour.

They made a big deal of making this the "Brexit election", working on the idea that if a majority of the 52% who voted brexit supported them to get the deal with Brussels, then the election was in the bag.

Especially if the LibDems were to get their mojo back and split the opposition vote. To beef that up, the tories have not attacked the libdems once on any subject. Even if their pro-europe stance is mentioned, tories are generous about principled opostion, but don't get into it. They want the libs as clean as possible.

But it hasn't turned out like that. Brexit is over as far as the public are concerned, that was last year's thing. this year is about living standards, the NHS and a 1001 things the tories couldn't care less about. Labour's manifesto has really hit the spot with an abandoned electorate and the tories are playing catch up for momentum.

It's getting interesting

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 22nd, 2017 at 12:07:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As we get closer to election she can't stop herself embodying the Nasty Party at its vilest, it's too deep in her DNA to be anything else.
Strong and stable is what she wants for her party rule, yet the cognitive dissonance is making her come unglued under the stress. As the day gets closer her repellent qualities become ever more obvious to all but the blindest of voters (who don't give a toss about her personal qualities as long as she keeps their gravy train rolling).
It doesn't help that her eyes are as devoid of affect as a week-old pilchard's, and the only human qualities she embodies are unprincipled craftiness and heartless mendacity, (like the rest of her ilk, without any redeeming feature such as Boris' hair to distract people from her utter awfulness and gross opportunism.)
Corbyn doesn't have to be a tactical genius to gain ground against a poor man's Maggie clone, all he has to do is show up and be a reasonable facsimile of a decent human being.
Even dim bulb Guardian writers are grumpily, glumly coming around to supporting his attempt to unseat this self-propagating national disaster that is the Tory/New Lab/LibDem legacy of the last tragic years.
Took them long enough to see which side of their bread had the butter on it.
 As I predicted months ago, Corbyn has what every other candidate conspicuously lacks- an honest bone in his body.
A feature so rare in politicians -and a distressing number of agenda-surfers- that it's the exact medicine people -the ones who have any humanity left, that is- are craving, the oasis ahead that just may not be a mirage this time.
Daniel's heading right into the den... I wish I had more confidence that, even were he to win, he'd have enough of a mandate to take on the powers behind the throne, left as he'll be with the coming trainwreck of Brexit dumped like a ticking bomb in his lap. Getting elected will be hard enough, but pales beside what awaits him afterwards.
Seeing the gap narrow between them and the (reluctant) realisation of the media that they might be about to have their mugs severely egged, a trifecta after the epic fail with their previous Trump and Brexit punts at punditry.
Brits love an underdog, and hate winners generally. An unfortituously contradictory combination that has blighted politics too long. Caffeinated politics in permanent spun froth.
Perhaps maturity is nigh... (clutches faint hope to weary breast).

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed May 24th, 2017 at 01:10:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Seems like May got high off her own supply. Maybe the 3 line whip for Brexit was actually a tactically sound decision?

by generic on Fri May 26th, 2017 at 01:57:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Spectator - Rod Liddle - This is the worst Tory election campaign ever

I am trying to remember if there was ever a worse Conservative election campaign than this current dog's breakfast -- and failing. Certainly 2001 was pretty awful, with Oliver Letwin going rogue and Thatcher sniping nastily from behind the arras. It is often said that 1987 was a little lacklustre and Ted Heath had effectively thrown in the towel in October 1974. But I don't think anything quite matches up to this combination of prize gaffes and the robotic incantation of platitudinous idiocies.

To have suggested that the hunting with dogs legislation might be subject to a free vote in the House of Commons was, whether you are pro hunting or against, a move of quite stunning stupidity. Why alienate that 84 per cent of the electorate opposed to fox-hunting (Ipsos-Mori, 2016), especially when some of them (including me) are quite passionately anti-hunting and might be tempted to change their vote? And when you already have the pro-fox-hunting votes in your grasp? It makes no electoral sense.

Still more remarkable was the decision to force demented people to sell their own houses, if they can remember where they are, to pay for their own care. Followed very shortly by an embarrassing U-turn.

And I hate Rod Liddle and disagree with almost everything he says, so I don't quote him lightly, but if he's saying this then....

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 26th, 2017 at 03:42:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Low Tory turnout, increased youth turnout and some structural changes throwing polling off a little and you could end up with either a reduced Tory majority - which would  be the end of May, surely? - or a hung parliament, which would be a right laugh.

Might come down to the weather on the day or how useful the tactical voting stuff is.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 26th, 2017 at 05:12:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the unfairness of FPTP I'm still expecting an increased Tory majority, obviously.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 26th, 2017 at 05:14:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Right now the polling suggests a Tory majority of 2 seats, which is too close to call.

tbh we could proably do with the election being on July th rather than June, but this election has got very interesting. A Lab/SNP arrangement is becoming a possibility. I doubt Tim Farron would bring the LibDems on board as he's too much of a tory, but equally, after the Clegg humiliation, he can't support the tories.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 26th, 2017 at 06:55:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]

by generic on Fri May 26th, 2017 at 02:44:29 AM EST
Guardian - Christian Christenson - Right-wing provocateurs say they are being silenced. Cry me a river

There is a delicious irony when free market zealots become victims of the very system they celebrate. When those who pontificated about the evils of the "nanny state" and the genius of consumer choice and the "invisible hand" suddenly realize that consumers don't like them any more, and that the invisible hand is about to yank them out of their position of power. When the market tells them: "You know what? You're losing us money. We couldn't care less what you did or how much you made for us yesterday. Get lost."

Of course, it is "leftists" and "liberals" who are most often accused of not being tough enough to survive in the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism. Lefty "snowflakes" need the warm embrace of the state to compensate for their inability to cut it in the real world. They need "entitlements" and welfare. They need laws to protect them.

Yet when arch-capitalists such as Bill O'Reilly, Katie Hopkins and Sean Hannity find themselves at the receiving end of corporate savagery, their reactions speak volumes. Sermons about the reign of the consumer disappear, replaced by hysterical accusations of conspiracies, political correctness gone wild and cowardly corporate censorship.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun May 28th, 2017 at 04:41:34 PM EST

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