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Open Thread 1 - 14 Jan

by Bjinse Wed Jan 3rd, 2018 at 08:37:50 PM EST

Merry 2018!

New Statesman
How many members do the Conservatives have left? Unlike Labour, the Tories do not publish an official figure. But John Strafford of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy (a kind of Tory Jon Lansman) estimates that party membership is now a mere 70,000. That compares unfavourably to Labour's 570,000 (making it one of the largest parties in Europe) and to the Tories' 1997 level of 400,000.

The Conservatives' diminished membership was one of the reasons for their 2017 electoral humiliation. Labour's activists, battle-hardened from two leadership campaigns, easily outgunned the Tories in marginal seats.

But the Conservatives' micro-membership has other implications for their future. A party with just 70,000 dues-payers is ripe for entryism. Should some of the 2.4m people who voted Liberal Democrat or the 594,068 who voted Ukip (or the 16.1m who backed Remain and the 17.4m who backed Leave) sign up, they could shape the Tories' future.

Unfortunately, they then suggest
(Alternatively, left-wingers could join to elect the most unpopular candidate.)
Such as Trump.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 03:14:23 PM EST
the tories are far less ideological than Labour or even the Lib Dems. They're not organised as a democracy, members gain advantage by having the ear of an MP. But, although they can choose the MP, prospective candidates are heavily vetted centrally, they go on courses which weed out those who are a bit suspect (althugh how Boris made it through is a mystery).

Really they are a vehicle for a loose assemblage of biases and prejudices revolving around the desire to protect money making.

tbh, the party has been subject to a takeover since thatcherism when neoliberalism overtook it, largely because it was such a good fit to many of their pre-existing prejudices. But, in doing so, it has subtly changed them.

Once, the Tories had been the party of small and medium sized businesses, the shopkeepers, the factory owners, the bank manager.

Meanwhile, since WWII, with its nationalisation programme which favoured consolidation the Labour party was a party of large corporations, both as a nationalised employer, but also working with the City to provide finance for the large national employers who remained private.

However, Thatcherite privatisations changed all of that. The corporate became the province of the Tories and they lost their small-business focus. Now, money and free markets is all. Their member base has been eroded because there is now no longer a large constituency outside the City to whom the party pay obesciance.

But they have money. Lots and lots of money. And they own almost all of the newspapers. They have Sky News. As I know from personal experience, the Daily Mail even provides the template for the BBC news focus.

They don't really need a large membership

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 08:48:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had to look up that one. It hasn't caught on in US despite Campaign '08 when it seemed errybuddy and their cousins was meddling & interfering with partisan registrations of convenience and primary elections.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jan 7th, 2018 at 04:50:04 PM EST
needs refrigerator magnet conversion
or moar AI
a self-driving autonomous vehicle

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Jan 8th, 2018 at 07:19:23 PM EST
to this criticism. "Pubic venom" may be no mistake. It certainly appears to be an instance of sophomoric humor with which I am familiar. "Pubic intellectual," for example, is a phrase I have frequently, deliberately invoked wherever professional commentary appears like a proverbial fig leaf to dress and mollify the least pertinent feature of The Subject.

Conversely, I also appreciate a droll turn of gaze.

Another great bit that this reviewer has not seen in other reviews is Wolff's claim that nine top Washington law firms refused to represent the White House in the Russia investigation -- not for political or ethical reasons, but because they thought Trump would stiff

 Furious About `Fire and Fury'  

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 01:03:37 AM EST

source: The Hill

"Cuck" is no typo. But wanton reproduction of a headline feminizing the corruption of a public office may be subject to charges of sexual misconduct. Story developing ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Jan 9th, 2018 at 01:29:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Second Wave claws back freedum to "proposition".
French star Deneuve defends men's 'right' to chat up women
"Instead of helping women, this frenzy to send these (male chauvinist) 'pigs' to the abattoir actually helps the enemies of sexual liberty -- religious extremists and the worst sort of reactionaries," the collective of women who signed the letter said.
"As women we do not recognise ourselves in this feminism, which beyond denouncing the abuse of power, takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality."

They insisted that women were "sufficiently aware that the sexual urge is by its nature wild and aggressive. But we are also clear-eyed enough not to confuse an awkward attempt to pick someone up with a sexual attack."

The procedural redoubt reappears. No means NO!

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Jan 10th, 2018 at 02:20:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sex and Due Process on Campus
Why should we be concerned with protecting those men?

This is a good point, and might be an unanswerable argument, if consent and non-consent were always separated by a bright line, which was not only discoverable by an adjudicator, but even clearly-understood by both parties in a sexual encounter. Yet ambivalence and uncertainty--sincerely conflicting and confused desires--make sexual violence unique among crimes.
And then there are cases where a woman's narrative not only differs from a man's, but might itself be sincerely ambivalent ("ambivalence--simultaneously wanting and not wanting, desire and revulsion--is endemic to human sexuality," as Gersen and Suk Gersen put it). It doesn't benefit feminists to deny these complications, because to do so would unravel the entire foundation of a feminist account of sexual violence.

Ambivalence: Is this a reasonable defense of any and all injury to another ?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Jan 10th, 2018 at 10:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is complicated, really.

The Uncomfortable Truth About Campus Rape Policy -- The Atlantic

the two started talking and smoking marijuana; eventually they kissed. As she wrote, "It got more intense until finally I shifted so that I was straddling him." She told him she wasn't interested in intercourse and he said he was fine with that.

Then, she wrote, "I started to move my hand down his chest and into his pants." R.M. interrupted this to take a phone call from a female friend who was also at the house and trying to find her. The call ended and then, R.M. wrote, "I got on my knees and started to give him a blow job." After a short time, "I removed my mouth but kept going with my hand and realized just how high I was." She wrote that she felt conflicted because she wanted to stop -- she said she told him she was feeling uncomfortable and thought she needed to leave -- but that she also felt bad about "working him up and then backing out." [...] The encounter continued for a few more minutes, during which, she wrote, he cajoled her to stay -- "playfully" grabbing her arm at one point, and drawing her in to kiss -- then ended with an exchange of phone numbers. R.M. had not removed any clothing.

R.M. then went down to the kitchen to find her friend. [...] Her friend started teasing her, asking how it had gone. R.M. was a resident adviser in her dormitory -- someone tasked with counseling other students -- and at that moment, she wrote, "as my RA training kicked in, I realized I'd been sexually assaulted."

And the life of a promising black student got very messy...

By now, the proper go-for-it standard shifted to that Enthusiastic Consent:

The idea of enthusiastic consent is quite simple. In a nutshell, it advocates for enthusiastic agreement to sexual activity, rather than passive agreement. Many of you may be familiar with the book Yes Means Yes!, which popularized the idea. The concept also requires that consent be given to each piece of sexual activity, meaning that a yes to one thing [...] does not mean consent to another
Purely logically, that may make sense... But neuro-physiologically, dances of domination and ambivalence are viscreal "secret" parts of this recreation. We might be playing with desexualization of society here.

Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings. -- NY Times

Expressing sexual interest is inherently messy and, frankly, nonconsensual -- one person, typically the man, bites the bullet by expressing interest in the other, typically the woman -- whether it happens at work or at a bar. Some are now suggesting that come-ons need to be constricted to a repressive degree. Asking for oral consent before proceeding with a sexual advance seems both innately clumsy and retrograde, like going back to the childhood game of "Mother, May I?" We are witnessing the re-moralization of sex, not via the Judeo-Christian ethos but via a legalistic, corporate consensus.
by das monde on Thu Jan 11th, 2018 at 01:13:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We might be playing with desexualization of society here.

You got it! said the apostle Paul

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jan 11th, 2018 at 02:42:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or domination of nature! blurted Brother Adorno.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Jan 11th, 2018 at 02:51:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
has anyone else had an email from a Daniel King at bzadverts? I'm assuming it'sjust spam but it mentions eurotrib specifically.

I just deleted it cos I'm not interested but, yanno, jes' wondering

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jan 11th, 2018 at 07:55:32 AM EST
Probably just spam with a an automated function.


Hi [Name]!
We can sell ads on your site [Website Name]!

by fjallstrom on Mon Jan 22nd, 2018 at 12:54:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britain's Next Megaproject: A Coast-to-Coast Forest - CityLab

Northern England is set to get a whole lot greener. On Sunday, the U.K. government unveiled plans for a vast new forest spanning the country from coast to coast. Shadowing the path of the east-west M62 Highway, the new forest will create a broad green rib across England from Liverpool to the east coast city of Hull.

If fully realized along the lines announced this week, the forest will ultimately contain 50 million new trees, stretched in a dense 62,000-acre patchwork along a 120-mile strip. Not only will the forest repopulate one of the least wooded parts of the country with local, mainly broadleaf tree species, it will also provide a band of newly greened landscape to escape to from the many big cities located nearby.

The goal of a thick green ribbon is still a long way off, of course. So far, the government has pledged just an initial £5.7 million of the £500 million needed to fully realize the project. But what's significant about the plan is that it amps up a transformation that is in fact already underway--it is actually the second major attempt in recent years to re-green the English landscape.

Somehow, this sounds too nice to become true. Then again, I've been wrong with my expectations before.

by Bjinse on Sun Jan 14th, 2018 at 08:47:28 PM EST
well, it's certainly cheaper than providing the transport infrastructure upgrades that are needed, such as electrification of the Liverpool- Manchester - Leeds - Hull railway.

afaik there's no money committed to this project and I suspect that much of it will fall foul of vested interests such as national parks, shooting and farming.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 15th, 2018 at 08:56:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a ridiculous romantic greenwashing of Brexit, no more. With Gove - Gove, that lying streak of weasel piss - being apparently taken seriously by allegedly leave-sceptic little-c conservatives and middle class environmentalists desperate for a nice little fairy tale to help justify their acquiescence to a Brexit that takes the concerns of the economically disturbed seriously. A new forest of Sherwood, no doubt full of Robin Hoods, not Sherrifs. Honest.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 15th, 2018 at 12:35:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's not actually greenwashing if it never really happens.

Gove is so pathetic that getting angry about his behaviour is somewhat akin to bullying the weakling at school. He's well paid and supposedly influential, but I really find it hard to believe that people aren't laughing at him behind his back.

You can almost imagine his job interview with May, "look, we're getting an awful pasting over the idea that post brexit we'll have chlorinated chicken and pigs fed with their own sewage, so we want you to make a load of bullshit schemes we can slap a  green label on. Go hug a husky!!

but, Leader, I'm scared of dogs and I have ptsd from an owl.

OK, well do something green and you don't have to involve animals. But it mustn't cost anything

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 15th, 2018 at 12:48:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't pie-in-the-sky the essence of greenwashing?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 15th, 2018 at 04:31:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gove is a nasty, creepy little man and I think it's extremely dangerous to underestimate him or feel sorry for him.

I don't think anyone expects him to become PM, but he may well have his eyes on Number 11.

Far from being irrelevant, he's Murdoch's sock puppet. That makes him far more of a threat to peace and prosperity than he would be without patronage.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jan 16th, 2018 at 05:51:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I'd forgotten the Murdoch connection.

His likelihood of getting to number 11 depends on who is in number 10. Right now it's Theresa May and she'd rather pull her own legs off than promote him. And, if she goes, it's an election cos I think any change of leadership would tear the party apart.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jan 16th, 2018 at 09:26:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A difficult conundrum;-

It's okay to treat a country as a shithole so that you feel you can bomb it with impunity just because it appeases cetain sections of your domestic electorate.

But if a Presdient actually says a country is a shithole all hell breaks loose.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Jan 15th, 2018 at 06:47:13 PM EST
The Foreign Workers of Mar-a-Lago - Newyorker
The sixty-four foreign dishwashers, cooks, cleaners, and gardeners that Mar-a-Lago is expected to employ this year will be paid per hour roughly what they were paid last year. (The Palm Beach Post reported that the range is around ten to thirteen dollars an hour.) The foreign workers brought in to help staff the club tend to come from two countries, Haiti and Romania, according to someone who works at Mar-a-Lago as an employee of an outside contractor.
by Bernard on Mon Jan 15th, 2018 at 07:50:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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