Showing posts from November 9, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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

The Plot Against America’s 99%, Project Syndicate
Listening to What Trump’s Accusers Have Told Us, New Yorker ["twenty women had gone on the record to describe Trump’s sexual misconduct. Twelve of them recounted being physically violated"]
Trump’s chief economic adviser now admits rich will get a big tax cut — but claims it’s by accident, Think Progress
A company Trump claims to have saved is issuing layoffs, Think Progress [The Great Deal-Maker]
Trump's Medicaid Chief Endorses Work Requirement Schemes, Truth-out
Fox News overlooks alleged Nazi ties, hires former White House staffer Seb Gorka, Think Progress

Montreal election: Valérie Plante's giant leap forward

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[Nice to see some sign of hope once in a blue moon! *RON*]

Taylor C. Noakes,, 8 November 2017

Every so often the people of Montreal do something remarkable: the November 5, 2017 will stand among the more important days in its modern history, as this is the date the city’s electors voted in their first “Mairesse”.

A club of exclusively white Christian men has been elected (for a while solely by other white Christian men) to run the city of Montreal in an unbroken chain since 1833. While the difference of gender may seem like only a small step on the path towards greater diversity at Montreal City Hall, in the context of the oddly conservative world of Montreal politics, the election of Valérie Plante is something of a giant leap forward.

Along with the importance of her gender, and possibly of more importance, Plante has quite potentially closed the door on a history of highly paternalistic, if not autocratic, municipal governance and the …

How it became a crime to be poor in America

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[In the United States, a system of modern peonage – essentially, a government-run loan shark operation – has been going on for years. This excerpt originally appeared in Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America by Peter Edelman, published by The New Press. *RON*]

Peter Edelman, The Guardian, 6 November 2017

In the United States, a system of modern peonage – essentially, a government-run loan shark operation – has been going on for years. Beginning in the 1990s, the country adopted a set of criminal justice strategies that punish poor people for their poverty. Right now in America, 10 million people, representing two-thirds of all current and former offenders in the country, owe governments a total of $50bn in accumulated fines, fees and other impositions.

The problem of “high fines and misdemeanors” exists across many parts of the country: throughout much of the south; in states ranging from Washington to Oklahoma to Colora…

The inside story of the Saudi night of long knives

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[I didn't have space for this one the other day. A jolly good read on the background tensions among Saudi royals. "Princes, ministers and a billionaire are 'imprisoned' in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton while the Saudi Arabian Army is said to be in an uproar... Meanwhile, a pile-up of purges, coups and countercoups shall be the norm." *RON*]
Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, 6 November 2017

The House of Saud’s King Salman devises an high-powered “anti-corruption” commission and appoints his son, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, a.k.a. MBS, as chairman.

Right on cue, the commission detains 11 House of Saud princes, four current ministers and dozens of former princes/cabinet secretaries – all charged with corruption. Hefty bank accounts are frozen, private jets are grounded. The high-profile accused lot is “jailed” at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton.

War breaks out within the House of Saud, as Asia Times had anticipated back in July. Rumors have bee…

23andMe and the problem with genetic testing

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[Recreational genomics and the corporatocracy. Aside from the unreliable and potentially harmful 'science', this author doesn't point out the problems that have arisen concerning the fact that such companies have tried to sell genetic information collected from their customers to the police. *RON*]

Richard MacManus, Stuff, 6 November 2017

23andMe, the direct-to-consumer genetic testing company, launched 10 years ago this month, but despite the hype around genetics, then and now, 23andMe has so far failed to deliver on its promise.

That's largely due to a crackdown four years ago by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA deemed that 23andMe did not have enough scientific evidence to back up the disease risk probabilities in its health reports. The FDA's main concern was that customers might take unnecessary or harmful medical action based on the results.

That caused 23andMe to pull the health reports from its offering, …

Will Theresa May resign as Prime Minister? Latest odds amid cabinet chaos and sex scandal

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[The odds of Theresa May resigning have shortened over the past week amid cabinet chaos and the fallout from the sexual harassment scandal in Westminster. "the odds of her resignation shortened from 25/1 last week to 5/2 yesterday." *RON*]
Alice Foster, The Express, 9 November 2017

The Prime Minister has found herself in an increasingly precarious position after losing two cabinet ministers in just a week.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel resigned yesterday after revelations that she had secret meetings with Israeli officials.

The scandal came the week after Defence Secretary Michael Fallon resigned amid an allegation of sexual harassment which he has denied.

Theresa May came under fire for her decision to replace Mr Fallon with her close ally and the former Chief Whip Gavin Williamson.

After the tumultuous week in Westminster, the odds of the Prime Minister herself resigning this year have been shortened.

Online bookmaker…