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Open Thread 4 - 11 June

by Bjinse Mon May 29th, 2017 at 01:41:19 PM EST

A man who lives fully is prepared to thread at any time


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Timothy Snyder  "On Tyranny"

Start at 29:40

Trump and how to deal with IT, essentially.

My allegiance to the human species ends at the California border.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue May 30th, 2017 at 04:01:22 PM EST
Lit Hub - Rebecca Solnit - The loneliness of Donald trump

Once upon a time, a child was born into wealth and wanted for nothing, but he was possessed by bottomless, endless, grating, grasping wanting, and wanted more, and got it, and more after that, and always more. He was a pair of ragged orange claws upon the ocean floor, forever scuttling, pinching, reaching for more, a carrion crab, a lobster and a boiling lobster pot in one, a termite, a tyrant over his own little empires. He got a boost at the beginning from the wealth handed him and then moved among grifters and mobsters who cut him slack as long as he was useful, or maybe there's slack in arenas where people live by personal loyalty until they betray, and not by rules, and certainly not by the law or the book. So for seven decades, he fed his appetites and exercised his license to lie, cheat, steal, and stiff working people of their wages, made messes, left them behind, grabbed more baubles, and left them in ruin.

He was supposed to be a great maker of things, but he was mostly a breaker. He acquired buildings and women and enterprises and treated them all alike, promoting and deserting them, running into bankruptcies and divorces, treading on lawsuits the way a lumberjack of old walked across the logs floating on their way to the mill, but as long as he moved in his underworld of dealmakers the rules were wobbly and the enforcement was wobblier and he could stay afloat. But his appetite was endless, and he wanted more, and he gambled to become the most powerful man in the world, and won, careless of what he wished for.
[....]
A man who wished to become the most powerful man in the world, and by happenstance and intervention and a series of disasters was granted his wish. Surely he must have imagined that more power meant more flattery, a grander image, a greater hall of mirrors reflecting back his magnificence. But he misunderstood power and prominence. This man had bullied friends and acquaintances, wives and servants, and he bullied facts and truths, insistent that he was more than they were, than it is, that it too must yield to his will. It did not, but the people he bullied pretended that it did. Or perhaps it was that he was a salesman, throwing out one pitch after another, abandoning each one as soon as it left his mouth. A hungry ghost always wants the next thing, not the last thing.



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 31st, 2017 at 11:54:12 AM EST
Reuters - Engem Tham - `Ghost collateral' haunts loans across China's debt-laden banking system

The banker at the other end of the phone line was furious, recalled Shanghai lawyer Wang Chaoyu. A pile of steel pledged as collateral for a loan of almost $3 million from his bank, China CITIC, had vanished from a warehouse on the outskirts of the city.

Just several months earlier, in mid-2013, Wang and the banker had visited the warehouse and verified that the steel was there. "The first time I went, I saw the steel," recalled Wang, an attorney at Beijing DHH Law Firm, which represents the Shanghai branch of CITIC. "Afterwards, the banker got in contact with me and said, `The pledged assets are no longer there.'"

The trouble had begun in 2012, after CITIC loaned the money to Shanghai Hanning Iron and Steel Co Ltd, a privately held steel trader. Hanning failed to meet payments, according to a mediation agreement reviewed by Reuters, and CITIC took ownership of the steel. It was when CITIC moved to retrieve the collateral that the banker visited the warehouse and discovered that the 291-tonne pile of steel was no longer there, Wang said. The bank is still in court trying to recoup its losses.

The missing collateral is a setback for CITIC. But it is indicative of a much wider problem that could endanger the health of China's financial system - fraudulent or "ghost" collateral. When bank auditors in China go looking, they too often find that collateral recorded on the books simply isn't there.

Does Michael Lewis speak Chinese?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed May 31st, 2017 at 03:05:21 PM EST
by generic on Fri Jun 2nd, 2017 at 06:16:23 AM EST

I'm pretty sure someone posted this here already but it's still incredible funny to me.

by generic on Fri Jun 2nd, 2017 at 06:48:02 AM EST
by generic on Tue Jun 6th, 2017 at 10:24:29 AM EST
by generic on Wed Jun 7th, 2017 at 05:17:25 AM EST
U.K. Election prediction: somewhat increased Tory majority.
Not small enough for them to take May out immediately, but too small to secure her position, ensuring she'll be gone by Christmas and spend the negotiations trying to shore up her position while rivals exploit them in  manoeuvring. She'll still be beholden to the worst extremists in her party of course.

I can't think of a worse case.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 8th, 2017 at 06:29:04 AM EST
Dunno. the polls are all over the place due to massive uncertainty about the youth vote. Fortunately we'll know for certain in 12 hours, so I'm waiting for reality

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 8th, 2017 at 04:59:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
High turnout reported. Panicked emails from Tory HQ trying to GOTV.

I'm expecting 70-75% turnout, and maybe 25-50 Tory majority.

I think that will be enough for May to claim she has a mandate and to get us out of the EU within six months to a year.

The election will have been won entirely by lies and smears from the Tory press and the BBC, and by the conveniently timed terror attacks which will - inexplicably and mysteriously - stop happening now.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 8th, 2017 at 05:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Sat Jun 10th, 2017 at 09:07:54 AM EST
by generic on Sun Jun 11th, 2017 at 01:45:48 PM EST
Taking a flamethrower to Frum and Perle would be a start.
by rifek on Thu Jun 15th, 2017 at 01:17:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, the first round of French parliamentary elections were held today.

Macron's party is well on its way to a landslide majority  of seat in the National Assembly, thanks to the two-round FPTP system: possibly above 400 out of a total of 577. His "Tory-lite" party will have free reign to implement neo-lib "reform", starting with the announced dismantlement of worker's protection laws. The Grauniad says as much:

Emmanuel Macron's party leads exit poll for parliamentary elections

The French president Emmanuel Macron's new centrist party is within reach of an overwhelming majority in parliament after exit polls showed it topping the poll with 32% in the first round on Sunday, but with a low voter turnout.

Macron's fledgling centrist movement La République En Marche (Republic on the Move) - set up just more than a year ago as a vehicle for him to win the presidency - could, with its centrist allies, go from zero to as many as 430 seats in the 577-seat French national assembly. This would be one of the biggest majorities in post-war France.

Macron needs a solid parliamentary majority if he is to put in place his plans to loosen France's extensive labour laws and change the French welfare system on pensions and unemployment benefits. His parliamentary candidates include a historic number of total newcomers to parliamentary politics, from an ex-bullfighter to a former fighter pilot, a mathematician and an anti-corruption magistrate as well as former local politicians - whose key campaign argument was "give the new president a chance".

by Bernard on Sun Jun 11th, 2017 at 08:18:22 PM EST
by generic on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 10:43:45 AM EST
Off-Guardian - Kit - Jonathan Freedland's Corbyn Apology

Jonathan Freedland's damp article tries to both rewrite the author's history, morally justifying his outrageous bias, claim he was right all along and undermine the electoral result. In trying do all this it not only falls between two stools, but face-plants straight into a third.

Freedland on pre-election predictions:

...barring a couple of polls dismissed as rogue outliers, nothing suggested that Theresa May was about to throw away her parliamentary majority."

This demonstrates the dangerous insulation of the Westminster "bubble". It was palpable, given the progress of the campaigns, that any fair vote was going to be much, much closer than headlines declared. It was obvious to anyone watching Theresa May scream her "policies" out into the world from a motorway lay by, in front of pre-approved reporters and paid supporters waving signs, that she would struggle. Comparing that to the spectacle of Corbyn speaking to thousands of people in packed town centres all across the country was startling.

The distance between reality and the world of the media is becoming frighteningly wide. They seem genuinely surprised when the real world doesn't correspond with the lies they tweet at each other, the myths the publish and the dreams they print. It's moving from dishonesty into schizophrenia at this point.

I think this is pretty on-point. Freedland's writing has been disgraceful and his apology barely half-hearted. the article goes on to point out that he's still lying about Corbyn.

That said, a lot of Guardian writers have some explaining to do. Polly Toynbee has, to her credit, grovelled ostentationsly on telly and in print. I look forward to see what Nick Cohen writes, although I imagine he's probably in a room with a bottle of scotch at the moment considering his future.

But Freedland has been a git for some time and this is no surprise.

Which reminds me, I should check out the Independent and see what John Rentoul, Blair's biggest fanboi, is writing

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 03:40:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's moving from dishonesty into schizophrenia at this point,

Yup that's how it looks to me too.
Trump leading the way, Britain trailing but accelerating behind.

It appears the good liars are all used up and now they have to scrape the bottom of the barrel, not just terrible liars and epically incompetent at governing, but the dregs whose lust for power so far exceeds their emotional maturity -and IQ, as they parade and preen their New Clothes, the tame media cooing about the style and cut.
It's a nightmare mix of Kafka and Dada...

I guess the moment we slipped through the looking glass was Reagan and Thatcher, downhill ever since!

Even though I always sussed Corbyn's potential once he declared his campaign, I still can't quite get my head around this shift in BritPol. The implications are staggering.
The irony in his loss being a win, and May's win being so Phyrric is beyond rich.
The funniest reaction was from Janet Daly, a hard-core Tory journo on Dateline London, who sputteringly indicted Corbyn's followers as the bourgeoisie and Uni students, telling us yokels she recognised the type as she used to be one.

Priceless.

The Anglo Disease (TM) in its self-parodying terminal stage.

'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 Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 05:58:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Freedland would be right at home at DKos or the NYT.
by rifek on Thu Jun 15th, 2017 at 01:19:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by generic on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 11:00:56 AM EST
I hope we do sare him, I hope he's terrified right now.

Being "friends" with Hamas is one thing, being in Government with the DUP is entirely another

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jun 12th, 2017 at 03:42:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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