World watch – Wednesday

Tuesday GMT

WorldWatch2

For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

28 Comments

    • sorethumb

       /  January 10, 2018

      Yellow shirts are Blue bananas

    • NOEL

       /  January 10, 2018

      Aw I don’t know less time wasting than watching Question Time in the Canadian Parliament.

  1. Missy

     /  January 10, 2018

    Day two of the reshuffle and it has been very anticlimactic, or in the words of one media outlet – a bit of a damp squib!

    A lot of non name backbenchers promoted into junior roles no-one knew existed, the big three remain in place and nothing really surprising from it all.

    • Blazer

       /  January 10, 2018

      severe lack of talent is the problem…National have the same problem…here.

      • Missy

         /  January 10, 2018

        Really, Blazer you probably don’t know about 1/4 of the Conservative MPs, stop trying to sound like you know about UK politics.

        Nothing to do with lack of talent and everything to do with lack of courage.

  2. Joe Bloggs

     /  January 10, 2018

    Diane Feinstein just pulled a thread that threatens the entire fabric of the Republican party, by releasing the transcript of the Fusion GPS testimony to the House Judicial Committee.

    https://www.scribd.com/document/368772227/Fusion-GPS-transcript

    Chuck grassley has been trying desperately to block this and there are plenty of clues why…

    My understanding was that they believed Chris at this point — that they believed Chris might be credible because they had other intelligence that indicated the same thing and one of those pieces of intelligence was a human source from inside the Trump organization.

    In other words, the FBI had a walk-in whistleblower from someone in trump’s organisation.

    Problematic enough for Fusion to feel compelled to alert the FBI and DOJ

    • sorethumb

       /  January 10, 2018

      Whatever, but Trump’s win is still a reaction to immigration and political correctness.

      • Joe Bloggs

         /  January 10, 2018

        a reaction to immigration and political correctness

        and therein lies a great example of the crypto-political weaponising of language that the conservative movement excels in.

        I suggest you read and digest this excellent article in the Grauniad from a year ago:

        PC was a useful invention for the Republican right because it helped the movement to drive a wedge between working-class people and the Democrats who claimed to speak for them. “Political correctness” became a term used to drum into the public imagination the idea that there was a deep divide between the “ordinary people” and the “liberal elite”, who sought to control the speech and thoughts of regular folk. Opposition to political correctness also became a way to rebrand racism in ways that were politically acceptable in the post-civil-rights era.

        [snip]

        The opponents of political correctness always said they were crusaders against authoritarianism. In fact, anti-PC has paved the way for the populist authoritarianism now spreading everywhere.

        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/30/political-correctness-how-the-right-invented-phantom-enemy-donald-trump

        Conservatives use the term to disguise their racism, xenophobia, and misogyny and to close down debate and dissent over their behaviour, just like you have.

        • Missy

           /  January 10, 2018

          “Conservatives use the term to disguise their racism, xenophobia, and misogyny and to close down debate and dissent over their behaviour, just like you have.”

          A bit like Liberals use labels like racist, xenophobic, nazi, misogynist to close down debate and be able to dismiss the views of those they disagree with?

          It goes both ways, the extremes on both sides aren’t interested in listening or debating and weaponise language to try and close down views they disagree with, and in the long run all that happens is the views are entrenched, and those that feel disengaged are pushed further to the extremes. Strangely enough it is the liberals that are looking very authoritarian with their no-platforming, safe spaces, and demands that those they disagree with – or say something they find offensive – get sacked.

          And I note this comment is a bit of a crossover with another of Pete’s posts.

          • Joe Bloggs

             /  January 10, 2018

            So what you’re saying Missy is that you should be allowed to make racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic statements without people taking issue with them – riiight, and good luck with that.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  January 10, 2018

      Back in August I seem to recall Grassley at a town hall in his state, said that he could see no reason not release the transcripts.

      Since then the GOP leadership has decided the best course is to muddy the waters by denigrating the “dosier” and anyone connected with it rather than concentrating on whether it is true or not.

      Grassley reneged on his promise and the Republicans have been white-anting the Fusion GPS/Steele dossier ever since. And Grassley and Nunes in particular have been undermining and jeopardizing the investigation from the get-go, even threattening the Fusion GPS Co-founder with criminal charges.

      Seth Abramson provides an easy to follow summary of the deceitful behaviours of the republican members in the House Judicial Committee hearing in the following series of tweets – it seems Obama’s “swamp” has been replaced by a stinking republican cesspit:

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  January 10, 2018

      Update: Fusion GPS sources are saying the walk-in whistleblower is a reference to Alexander Downer, who came forward to the FBI after trump’s foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos spilled the beans to Downer about contacts with Russians.

  3. sorethumb

     /  January 10, 2018

    A small town in Japan doubles its fertility rate
    Subsidising parenthood appears to work wonders
    https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21734319-subsidising-parenthood-appears-work-wonders-small-town-japan-doubles-its-fertility-rate?

  4. sorethumb

     /  January 10, 2018

    I thought Trump’s impeachment was in the bag. RNZ said…..?

    • Gezza

       /  January 10, 2018

      No, she’s been very quiet since she lost the election. She won’t dare call for his impeachment for fear of the spotlight turning on her with her protectors now gone or powerless.

    • Joe Bloggs

       /  January 10, 2018

      we’re only a week into 2018 – plenty to come yet, particularly if trump is interviewed by Mueller, ‘cos we all know (even you by now, thumbkin) that trump can’t tell the truth to save himself.

      #releasethegenius

  5. High Flying Duck

     /  January 10, 2018

    An article that shouldn’t have needed to be written, and yet it seems was necessary…

    “Michael Wolff’s book on Donald Trump should be dismissed out of hand

    In any other political climate, a book like Wolff’s that is rife with inexplicably basic factual mistakes and gossip-section-quality reportage would be dismissed out of hand.

    The fact that he has clearly gotten so many things wrong would set off alarm bells and render everything else in it too suspect for public consumption.

    But Wolff was smart enough to write the book that a large segment of the American public and the political press were begging for.

    His real trick was applying his notoriously relaxed journalistic standards and self-assigned artistic license to the same topic White House reporters have been doggedly and much more carefully pursuing for months.

    He took the things those reporters have heard as rumors and were ostensibly unable to confirm and put them forward as fact.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11972406

    • Gezza

       /  January 10, 2018

      “He took the things those reporters have heard as rumors and were ostensibly unable to confirm and put them forward as fact.”

      Trump set the precedents there. Dunno why he’s complaining when others have just adopted his rulebook.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  January 10, 2018

        I think the point is that the book has been picked up on as fact by many serious publications and breathlessly reported when it is mainly heresay and contains a large number of provably inaccurate statements.

        The article writer is commenting on the dumbed down media stooping to PR level, without even cursory fact checking.

        The problem is it provides ammunition for the “fake news”trope” of Trump and plays into his “alternative truth” narrative which should be being methodically picked apart but is instead turning into a race to the bottom and giving Trump a free ride.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  January 10, 2018

          No, not at all. The mainstream media have been scathing of Wolff, but recognise that the stories Wolff recounts are consistent with our present knowledge of how incompetent and unlikable trump is.

          Personally I find Michael Wolff fits nicely in a category we might call fart-sniffers… and in Fire and Fury he comes across as being out of his depth and disingenuous in places.

          But working in his favour is the fact that, despite his authorial shortcomings, his overarching narrative — Trump is an unstable and incompetent president who has no business holding the office he didn’t really want all that much anyway — is disturbingly credible.

          And to Wolff’s credit, he seems to have some awareness of the critique of his type of “journalism”, and he addresses it in the “author’s note” that starts the book.

          Wolff is a bad “journalist”, broken even, and yet he’s managed to write a book that is pretty much spot on, calling trump’s spade a spade, and almost single-handedly reducing Steve Bannon to a lonely voice crying in the wilderness.

          It’s hard to argue with criticisms of Wolff. But it’s also hard to see how those criticisms matter in the least.

          For a piece that supposedly lacks credibility, it sure is sinking some big ships.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  January 10, 2018

            It is the fact that the book plays to preconceptions without offering factual accuracy that IS the problem Joe.

            Because so much of it can be discredited, all of it is brought into question. Because many in the media have hailed it due to it playing to their preconceptions, it then devalues what they write, whether accurate or not.

            Trump gets another chance to shout “Fake news” and be right about it, which lends him credibility which is probably not deserved.

            The book, despite the anti-Trumps championing it, plays into Trumps hands and further devalues the media as a reliable source of information.

  6. Joe Bloggs

     /  January 10, 2018

    speaking of sinking ships… and apples that don’t fall far from the tree

    trump castigates Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem, forgets the words himself rambling away under his breath… and gets complimented by donny jr.

    After a year of complaining about people disrespecting the national anthem, 45 gets a chance to show how it’s done, and completely blows it.

    I can hear the irony gods pissing themselves laughing