…friends of enemies [DOT 9/7/24]

of states with or without the definite article's involvement...

…ugh…bear with me…they had tony blair out talking again this morning…about AI, among other things…& the man remains patronising AF despite the fact that a bunch of his schtick sounds like a dude in denial of the historical record of his own actions & their consequences…oh…& he’s basically down with monetizing the NHS’ trove of personal medical data…so…that’s fun…&…I’m in a bit of a mood…because for whatever reason I opted not to smash the device all that emanated from with a brick…& I’m going to skip over the hideous shit from both ukraine & gaza because if I start in on bombing childrens’ hospitals or the shit netenyahu’s pulling or orban & modi going to have a bit of me-time with their uncle vlad…I’m liable to say some shit I probably wouldn’t be advised to…so…where does that leave me?

Which Democrats are calling on Biden to step aside? A running list [NBC]

…oh, yeah…that…gotta say…I get the man is old & all…but…playing will-he-won’t-he with an incumbent for longer than whole election campaigns last in other parts of the world is a less than edifying spectacle…but…it does throw up the odd wonder

Those who have been demanding change in the way President Biden and his team are running this campaign got their wish Monday. For better or worse, after half a century as an insider, he’s positioning himself as an outsider. And he’s running not just against Donald Trump but also against Democratic Party “elites” and nervous commentators who say he’s too old.

…anyone got any spaces left on their through-the-looking-glass bingo card?

On Monday, as members of Congress returned to Washington after a recess — with both chambers gathering in person for the first time since Biden’s disastrous debate performance — the president launched an early-morning preemptive strike. He sent a tough, get-out-of-my-face letter to congressional Democrats, reminding them that more than 14 million primary voters across the country chose him as their nominee.

“It was their decision to make,” Biden wrote. “Not the press, not the pundits, not the big donors, not any selected group of individuals, no matter how well intentioned.”

…now…as it goes…I know someone who’s had money on newsome getting subbed in at the convention since last year…& I’ve heard a pretty wide variety of argument for & against joe hanging in there or whether the US is capable of voting in a candidate despite being both black & a woman…but it seems like maybe anyone but kamala or joe that gets the nod might be enjoined from accessing any of the fundraising that’s happened in the name of the biden/harris ticket…& that might be a war chest it’d seem nuts to leave on the shelf at a time like this…but…is that more or less nuts than the idea that joe-freakin’-biden can run as the not-the-establishment-pick as an incumbent president & in the parlance of our times that’s parseable…because I can’t tell anymore

Asked about the donors, editorial boards and elected officials who have called on him to withdraw, Biden was defiant. “I don’t care what the millionaires think,” he said. “They were wrong in 2020. They were wrong in 2022. … I’m not going to explain anymore about what I should or shouldn’t do. I am running.”

He has a point about the political cognoscenti having been wrong about him in the past. Many doubted his ability to defeat Trump four years ago; and many more predicted a Republican “red wave” in the midterm elections, rather than the pinkish ripple that left GOP strategists sorely disappointed. Biden has indeed led Democrats to an impressive string of victories and better-than-expected showings.

…&…if he’s so old that a guy who’d be worse in literally every other fucking way is a better bet because he’s, what…less than a presidential term younger…so everything he said about joe’s age last time is literally talking about himself this go around…then I guess alchemy really is a thing & it doesn’t matter because we can just turn bullshit into gold…or something more useful…otherwise…the lesser evil remains a significantly lower bar than the coverage has time for most of the time…but…we’re still doing this…& no signs of letting up

The president is now attempting to revive the persona that won him those votes four years ago. In Monday’s letter and call-in, we witnessed the return of “Average Joe” Biden, who will always fight for everyday Americans and couldn’t care less what self-appointed pooh-bahs — “no matter how well intentioned” — might think.

“The voters of the Democratic Party have voted,” he wrote. “They have chosen me to be the nominee of the party. Do we now just say this process didn’t matter? That the voters don’t have a say? I decline to do that. … How can we stand for democracy in our nation if we ignore it in our own party? I cannot do that. I will not do that.”

…that’s what the DNC is for, anyway…unless that was explained to me wrong

Whatever congressional Democrats might be thinking, there was not even a new trickle of lawmakers calling for Biden to step aside Monday, let alone a flood. And for the rest of the week, Biden will be hosting NATO’s 75th-anniversary summit; his party is highly unlikely to say or do anything that might undermine him while he’s so visibly engaged in foreign policy. If his scheduled no-holds-barred news conference goes well on Thursday, Team Biden will argue that the debate is ancient history.

He can play the insurgent card only once, though. If he falters again, he won’t be able to point the finger at antidemocratic “elites.” He’ll have no one to blame but himself.


…hard to deny that the race overshadows a bunch of others even when it’s a banner year for that crop

More than 80 countries — home to about half the world’s population — are staging national elections this year.

[…] But this year has also revealed increasing democratic backsliding, with fears of countries barreling toward becoming one-party states or holding elections not seen as free or fair. Many elections saw accusations of rigging, by watchdogs or defeated parties, as well as rampant disinformation and the suppression of opposition.

How big elections are changing the world in 2024 [WaPo]

…&…depite undeniably going overboard on the british verdict at the weekend…I know how much I left out of that little effort…so…looking at wha’gwan on the other side of the channel…that crack of socrates (per plato) about it being wise to know how little you know is banging its drum furiously all over my mental landscape…but then apparently I’m naïve about the french on account of having had unfounded faith in their ability to pick the non-protest candidate in the final heads-up round…which seems to have made me the only person I know who wasn’t shocked the far-right lost that one…&…current uproar notwithstanding…that could shake out in some interesting ways?

Needless to say, there is no exact parallel between political developments in Europe and those in the United States, but there have been striking correlations in the past, particularly between British and U.S. politics. The populist victory of Brexit in 2016 presaged the populist victory of Donald Trump, while the 1992 election of “New Democrat” Bill Clinton presaged the 1997 election of Tony Blair and his “New Labour.” So, what lessons can we draw from the latest British and French election results?

First, the need for the center left and center right to work together to thwart extremists. That’s exactly what happened in France, with the New Popular Front and Macron’s party withdrawing third-place candidates in more than 200 constituencies where they might split the vote and award the seat to the National Rally. This is part of a political tradition in France — the “republican front” — that has prevented the far right from seizing power since the downfall of the Vichy regime in 1944.

…maybe it has a more complicated basis…but…in the game of x is to y as a is to b…maybe remembering what it was like when they were to germany as ukraine is to russia…leaves a mark…who can say how the board feels when the game of “great powers” stops playing on it & gets back to the business of running the show from a secure position of domestic comfort…but…in a sense…the really unusual part was the pact kind of left a protest option beyond the fascism-forward one on the table in a lot of parliamentary places…& it turns out the french were pissed enough to damn near give them a clear shot at forming a govenment…& just like anyplace else “a coalition of the far-left” includes some people & arguably parties who are…kinda “out there”…the usual rules of thumb about wings & soft/hard support in the wider population apply…sort of the way the ones about polls & the problems that pertain to those do…notwithstanding the contrast to the way those said that french electorate was leaning being such a giant shock to everyone…even people I know who routinely bitch about minutiae of methodology when it comes to the anglophone ones…so…really…who the hell knows?

[…] the MAGA faction is even more radical than the National Rally: While both groups are anti-immigrant, only the Trumpist wing of the GOP has supported an actual insurrection or promises to undermine democracy. The National Rally moved to the center by promising to support Ukraine and to stay in the European Union (although many wondered if they meant it), while Trump gives every indication that he might cut off Ukraine and leave NATO.

…& when it comes to the club of nations…in ettiquette terms…the US dropping trou to drop an orange turd in the punch bowl for a second time…with the plates the world is currently spinning…would be “poor form”…so the part where the lost-in-translation “discourse” the headline-bait of the day seems to have gone with is a play by felonius furious to make out he won’t let the “religious” lunatics loose to go full handmaid’s tale…aside from that resonating chime from how their heads are still ringing from catching that car…feels like it shouldn’t be the only show in town…even if I’d concede that if it proves to be one sufficient to the task of denying a return to the united states of denial, I’d take it quick enough I’d probably get dizzy & need to sit down?

That Trump is so close to returning to power is a damning indictment not only of the Democratic Party — for nominating an enfeebled, inarticulate 81-year-old incumbent

…it’s a handicap…I’d say there’s no denying it but that would fly in the face of all the denying it that’s been churning forth on the daily for upwards of a half-decade now so that’d probably just make me sound dumber than usual…but the thing is…when I hear from people that, day to day, when it comes to getting on with the actual job rather than playing well in the narrow-beam campaign spotlight joe is often a surprise to people because it turns out he knows his shit, pays attention to his briefs & understands what questions he needs to be asking…it’s still a whole hell of a lot more believable than being told for the umpteenth time that his opponent is [a] hugely successful “legitimate” businessman with godlike acumen & bigly charisma…so…how do we yank enough of this shit back out of the memoryhole?

— but also of moderate Republicans for failing to do more to stop Trump. The best chance was during Trump’s second impeachment, when 57 senators, including seven Republicans, voted to convict him. But that was still 10 votes short of the 67 votes that would have been necessary to convict Trump and, on a separate vote, to disqualify him from running again.

…if the GOP hadn’t bent over & gone full “squeal like a pig” in true deliverance style then maybe there would have been enough of a skeleton left of an actual political party to have possessed at least the semblance of a fucking backbone…& the fact they didn’t…well, imagine if you sicced a french electorate on that…how does it go again…never forget, I believe is what I keep hearing?

The British experience suggests that the best antidote to populism might simply be letting populists fail at governance. Even the Tories eventually turned on arch-populist Boris Johnson, who was prime minister from 2019 to 2022; he discredited himself with his mendacity and incompetence. His successors — Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak — were unable to rescue the Conservatives’ long-lost reputation as a serious governing party.

…eh…britain’s pretty much on the bus with everyplace else when it comes to the elecotrate pricing mendacity & incompetence in to any appraisal of the government…it’s by way of being more about differences of degree under normal circumstances…but I still don’t get how we apparently fall for the sleight of hand that plays off difference in kind by treating those like-for-like…does “don’t spook the horses” really translate to palliative journalism being the modern day opiate of the masses?

The third lesson of the recent elections concerns the power of an anti-incumbent message in a world still dealing with stagnant economic growth, rising income inequality, high rates of international migration and the lingering impact of inflation. Popular dissatisfaction and discontent are easily amplified by social media and manipulated by demagogues.

Both Sunak and Macron suffered major repudiation at the polls, even if Macron’s party managed to bounce back into a respectable second-place finish in the final vote. That seems to reinforce the lessons of the recent Indian and South African elections, where incumbent leaders also suffered electoral setbacks, forcing them into coalitions with other parties.

A Pew Research Center poll this year of 12 high-income countries found that 64 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with the way democracy was working. That’s a major turn for the worse since 2021, when 52 percent were dissatisfied. That poll found satisfaction even lower in the United States (at just 31 percent) than in Britain (39 percent) or France (35 percent).

…if…rough & ready…you can take that to mean that “dissatisfied” means “think things should be going better for them, personally”…do we need to quit trying to maintain the pretence that the way things went for folks in the latter half of the last century wasn’t as far as we could run the streak of things being better in the sense of subsequent generations being better off than the one before & accept that being worse off than your parents has a much stronger playbook on its side of the generational ledger at this point?

The final electoral lesson concerns the importance in a democracy of the losing candidates gracefully accepting the outcome. Britain is a model in this regard: Shortly after Sunak realized that he would lose office, he told the nation, “Today power will change hands in a peaceful and orderly manner, with goodwill on all sides.” Jeremy Hunt, upon leaving office as chancellor, said, “Don’t be sad. This is the magic of democracy.”

That is how a nation bolsters support for its democracy. By contrast, Jordan Bardella, the 28-year-old president of the National Rally, blamed his party’s defeat on an “alliance of dishonor and the dangerous electoral arrangements.” Trump goes even further than Bardella: He still has not accepted the outcome of the 2020 election and has made clear that he is unlikely to accept the 2024 outcome, either, if he loses.

Trump thus fails a basic test of democratic leadership; if mainstream Republicans showed more devotion to U.S. democracy, they would disown him. But they haven’t, which is why the danger of a far-right takeover, just avoided in France, looms so large in November.


…so…anyway…there’s a NATO thing



Mapped: the vast network of security deals spanning the Pacific, and what it means

…it’s a complicated world…&…often between opaque & obtuse

Reform UK has come under pressure to provide evidence its candidates at the general election were all real people after doubts were raised about a series of hopefuls who stood without providing any photos, biographies or contact details.

Reform insists every one of its 609 candidates on 4 July were real, while accepting that some were in effect “paper candidates” who did no campaigning, and were there simply to help increase the party’s vote share.

However, after seeing details about the apparently complete lack of information about some candidates, who the Guardian is not naming, the Liberal Democrats called on Reform to provide details about them.
Many of these people have no visible online presence, and did not appear to do any campaigning. Photographs of the electoral counts for some of the relevant constituencies show that the Reform candidate was the only person not to attend.

Under electoral rules, the only details that need to be given about the candidate is their full name and the constituency where they live. They must all have an agent, and be nominated by 10 local voters.

With some of the Reform candidates, it is not clear if they are listed on the electoral register for the area where they are standing – which in a few cases is hundreds of miles from the constituency in question. One person with the same name and location of a candidate denied it was them.

While there is no evidence any of the candidates are fake, if that turned out to be true, it would be a serious electoral offence. Reform was keen to win as big a share of the national vote as possible, which is helped by a full slate of candidates. Some of the seemingly invisible candidates won several thousand votes.

…with friends like these, eh?

Separately, it has emerged that Reform raised the most out of all political parties during the fourth week of the election campaign, bringing in almost £600,000 – of which a third was from the party’s new donor, Zia Yusuf.

Yusuf, a Muslim businessman who spoke at a recent Reform rally, is the founder of a luxury concierge company called Velocity Black, and gave Nigel Farage’s party £200,000.

Other donors to Reform include £125,000 from Jeremy Hosking, a businessman who recently backed Laurence Fox’s Reclaim party, and the anti-vax former Tory MP Andrew Bridgen.


…who will rid me of these troublesome evangelists?

Former Trump advisor Stephen Miller claimed he has “never been involved with Project 2025” in a post on X on Saturday, however, a video on the Project 2025 YouTube channel says otherwise. Following in former President Donald Trump’s footsteps, Miller tried to deny he has had any involvement with the plan, that has been described as, “ridiculous and abysmal,” by his former boss. Unfortunately for Miller, he appears in a video on the Project 2025 website entitled “Project 2025 Presidential Administration Academy.” Miller addressed the Biden-Harris campaign X account which shared a screengrab of Miller in the video, telling followers on X “I know you’re upset because your candidate has soft pudding for brains, but that’s not a recruitment ad. A while back I made a video for students on how to build skills. I have never been involved with Project 2025, not one word. But keep hoaxing, losers. Hoaxes are all you have.” Miller isn’t the only Trump administration official linked to Project 2025. Former Trump assistant Spencer Chretien, former Trump Office of Personnel Management Chief of Staff Paul Dans and Trump advisor Troup Hemenway appear in the video and are listed on the Project 2025 website as creators of the plan. Trump campaign press secretary Karoline Leavitt also appears in the video right after Miller.


…students, says the mysteriously un-punched nazi mouthpiece…building skills…like…for instance…the bread & butter of…say…things called academies…how fucking dumb do you got to be to let that one slide home & call it as refuting rather than supporting the thesis that he’s in that mix on camera…asking for a friend?

…no…you heard right…he’s taking a shot at I-don’t-know-her-ing that whole project

Donald Trump’s “preposterous” efforts to disavow Project 2025, a rightwing blueprint for a radical takeover of the US government if the former president is re-elected in November, have been derided by former Republican figures.

…& given it’s about as convincing as you’d expect…what does it say that there’s so many people prepared to be convinced by that grade of seemingly transparent bullshit?

But although it was written by former members of Trump’s first administration, and he regularly echoes its policies in his speeches, last week Trump tried to disown the initiative.

Posting on his Truth Social website, the presumptive Republican nominee claimed to “know nothing about Project 2025” and have “no idea who is behind it”.

He added: “I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.”

…stay tuned…up next…fetch finally happens

Olivia Troye, a former White House adviser to Mike Pence who sat in on policy sessions during Trump’s first presidency, said Trump’s attempt to distance himself from Project 2025 was driven by a recognition that its deeply controversial policy prescriptions could sink his election bid.

“This is preposterous if you look at the collaborators and the authors of this plan,” she told CNN when asked whether Trump’s denial was credible. “A lot of these people…served in Trump’s cabinet during his administration. There are people that I worked with. I sat in those policy meetings with them.”

Troye identified various figures – including John McEntee, who was Trump’s director of White House personnel, Stephen Miller, a senior adviser in his first administration, Ben Carson, the housing and urban development secretary in his cabinet, and Ken Cuccinelli, a former deputy secretary of homeland security – as among the project’s leading architects.

“I think what this is telling us is that Donald Trump knows that what is written in this plan is so extreme that it is damaging to his possibility of getting elected, and that’s what he’s concerned about.”

“Exactly how do you ‘disagree’ with something you ‘know nothing about’ or ‘have no idea’ who is behind, saying or doing the thing you disagree with?” said former RNC chair and current MSNBC host Michael Steele in echoing Troye’s derision.

“And how exactly don’t you know that Project 2025 director Paul Dans served as your chief of staff at the Office of Personnel Management, and associate director Spencer Chretien served as your special assistant and associate director of presidential personnel?”

…if we don’t get a solid “bye, felicia” come november…I will not be held responsible for my actions…not saying I’d go full guy fawkes…keir’s got enough on his plate as it is

Seven charts that show the scale of problems in UK public services after decades of under-investment [archive copy of FT]

…but…even if it might queer the pitch for a defense by reason of temporary insanity…finding it forseeable that I might take leave of my senses under a hypothetical circumstance wouldn’t to my mind be the same as making a premeditated choice to lose my ever-lovin’ mind?

The denials appear to be undermined by close studies of the personnel involved in the document’s formulation.

Of the 38 people involved in the writing and editing of Project 2025, 31 of them were nominated to positions in Trump’s administration or transition team – meaning 81% of the document’s creators held formal roles in Trump’s presidency.

Trump’s claim to ‘know nothing’ about radical plan recognizes it could sink campaign, ex-Pence adviser says [Guardian]

…still…when it comes to which sort of friends who has in which places…lot of outfits getting borrowed

The broader context of what the magazine has become starts with political activist Josh Hammer running its opinion pages [Guardian]

…uh huh…sure, mr medicore-white-guy-personified #6734972…the absence of a husband & kids equates to taylor swift being a failure, akshully…don’t give me any of this “involuntary” bollocks…these people clearly don’t want women to sleep with them…& I for one see that as a win-win for all concerned…just…don’t say things like “well, it’s in newsweek so maybe it’s not frothing nonsense from a male mind in the grip of arrested development”

…sadly, ms wigg…they think they’re serious…anyway…yeah…friends like these is about the size of it

Repeatedly, in confirmation hearings over the past 20 years, the Republican-nominated Supreme Court justices who have now given Trump and other presidents a significant measure of immunity from criminal prosecution for their official acts assured Americans that nobody — not even a president — was “above the law.”

Oftentimes, their commentary didn’t specifically pertain to the possibility of a president’s being charged with a crime. But sometimes it did.

…& not in a roundabout way with a bunch of wiggle-room, neither

Kavanaugh emphasized in his confirmation hearing that his law review article was making a practical rather than a constitutional case; he wasn’t saying the Constitution didn’t allow sitting presidents to be charged, but rather that Congress should pass a law codifying the idea.

But in the course of emphasizing that, Kavanaugh cast presidential immunity as almost an unthinkable — or at least, un-thought-of — idea.

“No one has ever said, I do not think, that the president is immune from civil or criminal process,” Kavanaugh said. “So immunity is the wrong term to even think about in this process.”

He added, “But immunity is not — not the correct word, and I do not think anyone thinks of immunity. And why not? No one is above the law. And that is just such a foundational principle of the Constitution and equal justice under law.”

Kavanaugh repeatedly cited Federalist 69, which stated that presidents should “be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.

…maybe brett needs to lay off the beer goggles when he re-reads his shit

“No man is above the law,” Gorsuch agreed. “No man.”

Then-Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) in 2006 asked now-Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. whether a president could authorize a murder — perhaps by the intelligence community — and escape prosecution.

“Neither the president nor anybody else, I think, can authorize someone to — can override a statute that is constitutional,” Alito said.

…so…what…that’s your wiggle-room “it’s only a constitutional™ statute if we feel like it”?

Alito didn’t explicitly state whether a president could be prosecuted for this. But he added at another point that “no person in this country is above the law, and that includes the president and it includes the Supreme Court. Everybody has to follow the law, and that means the Constitution of the United States, and it means the laws that are enacted under the Constitution of the United States.”

…some motherfuckers need to be eating some motherfucking words…if you ask me…which is presumably right up there on the laundry list of reasons everyone seems to be in agreement that nobody ought to…but…I ask you

Now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett said three times that nobody was “above the law” while responding to questions about the president.

“Senator, I believe that no one is above the law under our system, and that includes the president,” now-Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in 2005. “The president is fully bound by the law, the Constitution and statutes.”

These now-justices’ colleague, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in her dissent Monday effectively stated that they have gone back on their word.

She said the decision “makes a mockery of the principle, foundational to our Constitution and system of Government, that no man is above the law.”

“In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law,” she wrote. She suggested that the decision could empower a president to order assassinations or a military coup against their own government, provided they were acting in their official capacity — a standard which, as the majority made clear in its opinion, was ill-defined and required separate adjudication in nearly each and every instance, after the fact.

…honestly, I’m not at all sure I couldn’t do a better job than these fucking heid-the-ball jobsworths?

…not all of them…obviously…I dunno…most of the men, maybe…but the ladies are a whole other ball game

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson sought to emphasize in a dissent that was more measured than Sotomayor’s.

“In the majority’s view, while all other citizens of the United States must do their jobs and live their lives within the confines of criminal prohibitions, the President cannot be made to do so; he must sometimes be exempt from the law’s dictates depending on the character of his conduct,” Jackson wrote.

“Indeed,” she added, “the majority holds that the President, unlike anyone else in our country, is comparatively free to engage in criminal acts in furtherance of his official duties.”

What conservative justices said about immunity — before giving it to Trump [WaPo]

[…& that’s where the system hung on me with 10mins until this was due…& it’s taken 15 to get something to admit it was capable of seeing the draft so the last little bit will take a little bit longer but here’s what I got right now?]

…how did the next bit go before it vanished into the rebooted ether…lemme see…something about me packing it in & taking the traditional face-first prat-fall off this precarious little virtual soapbox but needing to take a last swipe at why 2-faced tone is not the good kind of 2-tone with the sort of drumbeat I can groove to…& how listening to him can be a lot like listening to farage…they have in common that they genuinely seem to believe that their sincere belief in what they say is the same as it being the gospel truth…it’s just packaged so different people will swallow the same shit a lot of the time…for instance

In his first interview since Labour won power last week, Blair also urged Starmer to “be realistic” about how tough it could be to hit his climate targets, and he predicted that the UK would ultimately have join a “regional grouping” with European neighbours to compete on the world stage.

…no reform voter would listen to that without registering that euphemism for undoing their dream-state of self-harm…though by ’29 there’s little doubt that even just for reasons of exigent economic necessity being in the EU market game is going to be on the ballot one way or another…it’s its own kind of disingenuous to talk about being “realistic” about “climate targets” in one breath…which…like we need reminding at this point

…only to turn around in the next (…give or take…same interview…same difference) & come out with this kind of thing

Blair told the Guardian: “Progressives should be thinking about the answers, but you’ve got to understand what the populist does. The populist usually doesn’t invent a grievance, they exploit the grievance. If you want to close off their avenues for increasing support, you’ve got to deal with the grievance. That’s why Keir is absolute right in saying you’ve got to have controls on immigration.

“That doesn’t mean to say we don’t celebrate the good that immigration can do, because it does an immense amount of good for this country, but you do need to have controls.”

…leave aside the number of sides his face needs to have him be able to talk out of to come with this

The Tony Blair Institute is holding its Future of Britain conference in London on Tuesday at which Blair will also argue that public sector adoption of artificial intelligence could realise £12bn in savings a year by the end of this term.

…matched to this

Ahead of the conference, Blair suggested that AI was the 21st century’s equivalent of the Industrial Revolution, and the government should grip its potential to improve public services and cut costs. “I don’t think people have really grasped that it’s going to transform literally everything,” he said. “People still say: ‘Yeah, maybe, but it’s all a bit science fiction,’ but you’ve got to look at what’s coming down the track.

“What I will say to people about this is, people were scared of the Industrial Revolution. But one of the things that you learn when you study history is that what is it invented by human ingenuity is not just disinvented by human anxiety. It’s a fact. The most important thing for policymakers right now is to understand it is a fact. And it’s going to accelerate.”

…where even an “actually the thing that famously bombed as an idea should happen but with added hackable-ness because I’ll never knowingly admit to being wrong about anything” of this order

Blair has proposed digital identity cards to help people access services such as the health and benefits systems, but this has been rejected by ministers.

…fails to be the icing on the cake in the face of not just the part where the part of that £12 billion figure that comes from monetizing the trove of medical data in the NHS’ possession is fucking indistinguisable from exactly the shit he paints as a threat to the public interest…unless the government does it

“The civil liberties arguments are important until you realise the amount of information you give to Amazon, Netflix, your local supermarket,” he said. “You can put very strong protections in place, and should, of course, but the important thing is not to see it as a control mechanism for government.”

…just me that quiet part comes over with a side of internal screaming for?

…but the real wall of sound in a tortured register is this part…for me

He said the decision, as a result of Brexit, to cut off migration from Europe had been the “most mad thing”, as it meant swapping young people working in hospitality for high levels of immigration from Asia and Africa.


…trying to maintain the polite political fiction that the drowning-in-dog-whistles “debate” about immigration can be approached in any number of directions from sociological to economic to the fictionally zero-sum framing we’ve decided is fashionable this season…just so long as it isn’t the c-word…& not admitting that “being realistic”…the shit has climate change written all over it…& around it…& under it…& through it…& on top of it…& that making out otherwise is seeing the overton window & then handing the chalk to the burn-it-down-around-us contingent & saying “you know what, go head – knock yourselves out…just sketch it out wherever you want”

…I’m not a religious person…but…if you told me the inevitable rise in sea levels was because “jesus wept” has been a constant refrain for so long at such scale we’re on course for needing a noah…some days I just might believe you…because that would make more sense than the shit I’m looking at?

…anyone else about had it with the rhinestone cowboys strumming populism’s 4-chord siren song?

…in case the reference was unlear…apparently we can take nothing for granted…& if irony winds up dead I am in a world of trouble…so…I’ll leave that pair hanging & see if I can fill a musical hand without fucking up farscy’s load-times?



  1. Speaking of poor form, last night’s episode of “Midsomer Murders” concerned competitive cricket. There’s no activity that shire is bereft of. Midsomer apparently is an incubator of many of British cricket’s shiniest stars.

    Better Half asked me, “What are they doing?”

    “You lived in London for a year, and not far from the Marylebone Cricket Club. You don’t know what cricket is?”

    “It’s not like they were doing this around Victoria Station, near where my office building was.”

    • …what I wouldn’t give for a handy youtube clip of gerard hoffnung answering the question of what his favorite sport was

      …but alas…you’ll have to settle for a paraphrasing

      I like the one where you sit about in deck chairs with cocktails & snacks while some chaps in white rum about in the distance & every so often everyone cheers or claps until everyone comes in for sandwiches…then they run about some more until everyone claps & says “well-played” & then it’s time to go home…what’s that called?

  2. “BIDEN OUT” is the hill the NYT wants to die on, and good for them on competing with the NY Post, a fine purveyor of factually accurate journalism. May it also be a fair warning to every Democrat everywhere exactly what sort of coverage they should expect going forward.

    • If want to read about the guy whose nose was ripped off by a dog or the young guy who jumped into an electrified lake (?) and died the NY Post is your go-to. I was also gripped by the story of the woman whose corpse was found somewhat shabbily stuffed into a sleeping bag. She was first deposited outside a “saloon” (their term) on Third Avenue in Kips Bay and workers at the saloon, thinking it was their trash, moved it to a trash collection point on E. 27th St. Oh no. But I suppose she was dead so what did she care. STORY IS DEVELOPING

  3. Tony Blair is correct, the populists don’t invent the grievance, they exploit it. The problem is that the “grievance” in question isn’t immigration — it’s racism. Which is why Labor (or the Democrats) trying to address whatever problems exist in immigration laws, and there are many, doesn’t do anything to shut up the populists because that’s not really the root cause of the grievance. 

    But in possible good news that also goes against Tony: very much worth noting that Goldman Sachs is out on AI: https://www.cityam.com/goldman-sachs-tony-blair-is-wrong-on-ai-its-not-going-to-save-the-uk-economy/

    • …that’s the big switch in the bait & switch…the whole “conversation” is a fig-leaf for racist hills to die on & climate fucks that up something fierce

  4. The whole Project 2025 flap is fascinating. It would seem that the fascists have overplayed their hand. They wanted that insanity to rally their own troops, and instead it’s rallying the opposition. And now they’re all running from it.

    The funny thing is that it’s already happened once. Anybody remember Rick Scott’s 11-point plan to save America? It had much of the same garbage and was highly criticized, sinking without a trace. So what do the fascists do? Double down on it.

    I honestly think that MAGA believes there are much more secret fascists out there that haven’t stepped forward to vote yet. Which is weird, because fascists are pretty much fanatical, so I think any of them that are signing on to support fascism have already done it. There’s no untapped pool of Nazis to lure into the fold.

    • Thanks to the Supremes and Dobbs, people started to wake up to the fact that the RW are a bunch of crazy fuckers who want to take away everything they have (like reproductive freedom for example.)

      As the Dems are overperforming even in areas that were strong GOPer then the billionaires know they can’t rely on congress to stop Joe.

      The whole Biden must step down fiasco is a sign that the billionaires are pulling out all the fucking stops to keep Trump’s tax cuts and stop the dreaded wealth tax.

      3rd party bullshit didn’t work. Ratfucking using (clueless) centrist Dems is their game.

      This isn’t going to stop. The ratfucking and media bullshit will continue.

      However, the billionaires forgot how incompetent fascists/MAGAts and how feckless Dem centrists really are.

      • …in the run up to the UK vote one line a paper went with cited a $150 billion “tax raid” coming on the back of a labour majority…probably but not definitely in the telegraph among the series of “is X the most dangerous man/woman in britain?” peices where X was a labour candidate

        …but elsewhere you could find quotes about £140billion in a bugetary “black hole” caused by…well…it all happened less than 15 years ago

        …guess which end of the tax-bracket spectrum was seeing that which way?

      • Trump’s greatest strength and greatest weakness is saying the quiet part out loud. It’s great for drawing in racists and fascists; it’s not so great for trying to quietly enact really horrible policy aka the GOP modus operandi.

        I give the Dems/allies some credit for already making Project 2025 a thing people know about (because god forbid the media talk about it).

      • I also think there’s a weird MAGA mindset. They lock themselves into echo chambers because other opinions are uncomfortable and awkward and make them feel stupid. Then they truly believe that because “everyone they know” is a MAGA, that EVERYONE is a MAGA.

        They seem genuinely surprised to find out that no, everyone isn’t.

        The same sort of thing happened in France and the UK. “Wait, not everybody in the country thinks the way I do? When did that happen?”

        • …it sort of reminds me of when the good place played out the trolley problem “for real”…it’s the classic no true scotsman fallacy

          …they’re so incapable of objectivity…or just a sketch of it sufficient to spin up an empathetic baseline…that they think the *real* nation they consider themselves avatavisitc culture warriors on behalf of is axiomatically the “true” thing the flag means…& anyone who thinks they’re an asshole should be hung as a traitor & an enemy of “the [true] people”

          …from there it’s a fun afternoon on the slip’n’slide slopes & you’re all-in on sunk costs & actually thinking about anything beyond “what’s my prompt & what line do I spew on that cue?” is literally a painful assault on the foundation of their whole identity & concept of self-worth

          …I like to think a good half of the brits that sat this one out weren’t embarrassed tories but the rest of the pub that’s sick of telling their local’s nige he’s the fucking problem & the reason they aren’t coming down the pub these days?

        • I think this is sort of broadly true for a lot of people, but everyone on the far right gets their news/views/talking points from basically an alternative universe, so they’re extra confused.

          But it’s also just a lot easier to hate and fear so their assumption that everyone else is terrified and bitter isn’t totally wrong, either.

    • I should note that as a journalist — and a cis, straight white guy — I’d be shitcanned for doing the same thing. It’s not out of the ordinary to discuss topics that might come up in an interview before the interview, but being handed questions by your source and then asking them is an absolute red line no-no.

      (Now for what it’s worth: I’m sure it happens all the time in other interviews and she’s paying probably an unfair price on those terms. But as journalism malpractice? It’s bad.)

      • Yeah, if you’re appearing on Jimmy Fallon’s talk show, you can give him questions. I think a lot of people confuse entertainment and journalism (with good reason) but reporters aren’t supposed to go there.

    • …hang on while I google the answer & compare some AI generated responses to similarly worded prompts…brb

      …so…uh…they don’t like when you say ‘overlords’…so…everything’s definitely fine because they can’t feel resentment & there’s definitely no way that marvin the paranoid android turns out more true to life than a simpsons bit

      …it’s fine…everything’s fine…pop your feet up & have a brew, basically?

    • For what it’s worth, I don’t actually think we’re doomed. Again, Republicans and specifically the Supreme Court have seriously overplayed their hand. Stripping rights away from women while handing a sexual predator immunity is NOT playing well with the electorate.

      Announcing your plans to strip away even more rights adds fuel to the fire, which is already pretty hot. Remember, Republicans keep losing even in red states. Over and over and over. I don’t think Trump can win and since he’s not even trying, that becomes more and more likely.

      The whole Biden age nonsense is a desperate attempt by billionaires who own the media to refocus the narrative on something utterly unimportant. Yes, Biden is old. So what? Replace him with Harris? Fine by me but why? SHE’S ALREADY ON THE TICKET. Something happens to Joe, she steps in. There’s nothing to see here.

      I think Democrats will win the election. I think it’s pretty likely we’ll get majorities in Congress. Again, the downballot races are all swinging Democrat. With majorities they can start to undo some of the enormous damage inflicted by the Supreme Court.

      I hope I’m right.

  5. apreciate the consideration to my load times but dont let it hold you back mate

    its really just the videos that dont want to load in…everything else loads in just fine (tho admittedly the little loading circle in the tab bit gets on my nerves)

    and tbh…my internet has been a bit screwy since they dug the place up to instal fibre optics…so the problem is likely at least partially on my end

    • …well, either way that last one should let you hit play once & spool through a playlist…did eventually stick one for sunday’s on the soundtrack DUAN thread…so…call it an excuse to get a trifle carried away on lengthening the shortlist?

      …& if you get an opportunity to wade through it I’d be interested if you thought any of it might be worth a second spin?

  6. dubstar was unexpected….cant decide if its happy or sad…feels summery tho

    rhymeslayers is pretty nice too….but then it kinda sounds like the rap i had during my teens…so probably thats affecting my opinion a bit..

    anyways…gonna take me a minute to get through all this…lol

    (edit) broken bells would definitely get another spin from me too…

    tbh…so far most of it would get another spin from me….tho a lot of it is stuff i havent been seeking out….

    • …got a soft spot for dubstar but yeah…in some ways it sounds lighter than it is & in others darker, if that makes sense…& broken bells I came by because that’s all produced by dangermouse…who I had a fondness for even before he blended jay-z’s black album with the beatles’ white album to make his “grey album”

      …jedi mind tricks had a banger or two back in the day but a bunch of what brought those to mind (beyond the sample about “press use only” & “property of” kind of give it some symmetry)…vinnie paz went down one too many rabbit holes & is the wrong aide of the shark jump tank last time I checked

      …if you didn’t hate it the one from sunday has a bunch of DJ skitz tunes, a bit of jehst & a few other bits like the gorillaz & some lewis parker with a few from the streets  & a rag & bone man number…along with a jonathan pie rant about the tories, a pair of honest gov clips & a stand up routine about the trials & tribulations of a lady living in england with a scottish accent…& a line in porn-adjacent comedy material…&…apparently…asperger’s?

      • i actually caught the jonathan pie bit on sunday….and eventually once they loaded in the streets….coz post the streets and i will listen to the streets

        but you know…my adhd nature means i kinda missed most of the rest of the tunes…took a while loading…got distracted…then forgot

        • …fair go

          …speaking of ADHD, though…the other day someone was telling me that for some folks with that condition they have a thing called a paradoxical reaction to certain drugs

          …& if caffeine is like anti-speed for those folks I’m sorting of afraid to stop knocking back the caffeinated beverages now just in case I turn out to have been self-medicating for decades & suddenly develop an interest in running ultra marathons or something

          …but…seems like that’s basically how the medications I’ve heard good things about work?

          • speed calms me down and gives me hyperfocus


            like….400 laps in time attack on a video game hyperfocus

            i can also sleep on it no worries…

            so yeah….certain things work a little bit different

            • …I’m pretty sure that’s not really how coffee works for me but the idea that slow-release amphetamines helps some people feel calm spins my head

              …either there’s a lot of it about, though…or I seem to know a lot of people across a few generations that might add up to a higher than expected number?

              …hope it mostly works for you more than it doesn’t, any road

              • oh honestly….if it werent for the utterly detrimental to my health nature of speed…..i’d be on it everyday

                is like….overpowered ritalin…

                but you know…im 40…ive learnt how to mostly keep my shit in check with just coffee and masking

                we good 🙂


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