Posts

Today's Trumpery

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[Welcome to the monkey house. A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. *RON*]


Trump's Panama tower used for money-laundering by condo owners, reports say, The Guardian [Includes Columbian cartel members]

Trump halts decision to allow elephant trophy imports after uproar, Reuters

Is ‘Loyalty’ a Virtue? In the Trump Era, It’s Complicated. New York Times ["If this is a version of loyalty, it’s loyalty of a low order — fragile, transactional and much closer to simple fealty. It fails Royce’s expectation that real loyalty be based in 'willingness,' rather than in fear."]

Donald Trump's Strange Bromances with Duterte and Putin, AlterNet [He's desperate to be liked by dictators.]

As Trump Disregards LGBTQ Rights, 2017 Already Deadliest Year on Record for Transgender Americans, Common Dreams

White House: Only men who admit to sexual assault should be investigated for it, Think Progress

Prisoner to Violence

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[Notes from a world I am never going to understand. After a bloody fight in the yard, an inmate reflects on his behavior. *RON*]

Demetrius Buckley, The Marshall Project, 16 November 2017


Perspectives from those who work and live in the criminal justice system.

This article was published in collaboration with Vice.

Slant whispers and looming stares pass through the prison yard around 3:30 p.m. It’s July, and hotter than usual on Michigan’s upper peninsula.

Gatherings of inmates begin to form: eight by the pull-up bars, four on the basketball court, nine behind the phones. The air is barely breathable with all the tension, which has built up ever since an act of disrespect—the breaking of a gang sign—earlier at chow.

Everyone here has their war story. We’re all long-conditioned by a street life, the hustling, the fistfights. Seasoned from past penitentiary wars, time in the hole, lifting law books in laundry bags for exercise, one thousand push-ups a da…

Notes on $450,312,500

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[Guillotine Watch. Notes on the sale of the supposed and much-restored Leonardo, Salvator Mundi, for $450 million. “It’s fair to say that Christie’s has a personal relationship with every human being on the planet who’s willing and able to pay $400 million for a painting. You can be sure that all of them were contacted by the auction house at some point over the past month. And you don’t need to know anything about art to spend $450 million on a painting; all you need is $450 million” *RON*]

Felix Salmon, Nota bene #10, 16 November 2017



Notes on $450,312,500
The hammer price was a round $400,000,000, which means that the buyer's premium alone was more than $50 million. By convention, the buyer's premium goes to the auction house for its troubles, but you can be sure that Christie's grossed much less than $50,312,500 last night. The seller will have negotiated "enhanced hammer," which means that the Rybolovlev family will be …

The Nightmare – An Excerpt of Lawyer Wang Yu’s Account of 709 Detention and Torture

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[Democracy, China-style. See also China: On “709” Anniversary, Legal Crackdown Continues, "In July 2015, Chinese police rounded up and interrogated about 300 rights lawyers, legal assistants, and activists across the country. This repression of rule of law advocates is known as the '709' crackdown for the July 9 date of the 2015 roundup. While most have been released, at least three are held while pending trial and another two are serving prison sentences." *RON*]

Wang Yu, China Change, 13 November 2017

Wang Yu (王宇), born 1971 in Inner Mongolia, was a lawyer with Beijing Fengrui Law Firm when she was abducted in the early morning of July 9, 2015. The date of her detention marks the beginning of, and gives name to, the most notorious human rights event over the last two years – the 709 Crackdown. She was released on bail on August 2016, but until recently Wang Yu, her husband and son have been sequestered in an apartment in Ula…

Now it’s official: the less you have, the more austerity will take from you

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[Not unexpected, but important to document all the same: the government’s own figures prove what has been obvious since 2010: minorities, women and disabled people are the ones being hit the hardest. See also: Effects of health and social care spending constraints on mortality in England: a time trend analysis. *RON*]
Frances Ryan, The Guardian, 17 November 2017

If the point of government is to make the already disadvantaged worse off, then the Conservatives have used the last seven years in power exceptionally well. Today the Equality and Human Rights Commission released a major report calculating the impact austerity is having on Britain – painstakingly calculating the impact that changes to all tax, social security and public spending since 2010 will have on each of us by 2022.

Black households (as the report puts it) will lose 5% of income – more than double the loss for white households

The forecast is gross inequality. While the poorest are s…

Child abuse on YouTube

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[A friend asked the other day whether censorship should ever be allowed. I would say that this qualifies. Google makes millions from these disturbing videos. At least they are be affected in ways they understand: appalled advertisers drop web the giant’s services. *RON*]
Mark Bridge, The Times, 18 November 2017


Google has made millions of pounds in advertising revenue from videos that exploit young children and appeal to paedophiles, experts say.

Iceland, O2 and Which? are among companies to have suspended advertising on the YouTube video platform after an investigation by The Times showed that their brands were appearing on clips in which youngsters were distressed and in “inappropriate” and “disturbing” scenarios.

One channel called Toy Freaks has attracted seven billion views since its launch in 2011. Its videos included one of a seven-year-old girl bleeding from the mouthand crying after losing a milk tooth. Others showed the girl and her nine-y…