Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

A Cold House

by Frank Schnittger Sun Jul 14th, 2019 at 12:25:00 PM EST

Cliff Taylor has written a rather amusing spoof despatch from a British Diplomat in Dublin back to his seniors in Whitehall - no doubt modelled on Sir Kim Darroch despatches from Washington. In general it seems an accurate take on the state of "no deal" Brexit contingency planning in Ireland, but the over-riding impression is one of confusion as to what the Irish are really up to.

Read more... (11 comments, 930 words in story)

A Coordinated Attack On Labour and Corbyn

by Oui Sun Jul 14th, 2019 at 09:55:14 AM EST

Two whistleblowers in BBC documentary covering anti-Semitism in the Labour party found their way to smart libel lawyer Mark Lewis doing pro-Israel cases for free.

With Panorama's hatchet job on Labour antisemitism, BBC has become pro-Tory media | Middle-East Eye |

It is difficult to describe as anything other than a hatchet job the BBC Panorama special this week that sought to bolster claims that the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has become "institutionally antisemitic".  

The partisan tone was set from the opening shot. A young woman whose name was not revealed tearfully claimed to have been abused with antisemitic taunts at a Labour Party conference.

The decision not to disclose their interviewee's identity is understandable in the circumstances. It would have discredited the whole narrative Panorama was trying so hard to build.

The woman's name is Ella Rose, a senior official in the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), an organisation representing Jewish and non-Jewish members of Labour at the forefront of attacks on Corbyn. Rose has a secret past too: she once worked at the Israeli embassy in London.

Jewish Labour Movement was refounded to fight Corbyn

The Jewish Labour Movement is fighting our friends and propping up our enemies | JC |

Continued below the fold ...

[Some links added are mine - Oui]

Read more... (1974 words in story)

Thermodynamics, Economics and Survival

by ARGeezer Wed Jul 10th, 2019 at 09:32:13 PM EST

A major conceptual problem for me while taking thermodynamics in 1963 was the focus on equilibrium situations, which seemed to me to be special cases and unrepresentative of the general reality I observed. A recent paper in Real World Economic Review has brought all of that back to mind: What can economists and energy engineers learn from thermodynamics beyond the technical aspects?

In  a  conference  that  opened  the  way  to  the  thermodynamics  of  human  societies,  the sociologist  Maurice  Hauriou  (1899,  p.5)  took  up  this  idea  by  considering  that  only  the "thermodynamic laws shed some light on the possibilities of freedom". This presupposes a permanent  interaction  between  the  human  and  his  environment  and  overlaps  with  the formulation  of  Douglas  Hugh  Everett,  in  his "Introduction  to  the  Study  of  Chemical Thermodynamics"(1959),  according  to  which  "a  particular  proportion  of  the  Universe  is called the `system'while the rest of the Universe is called 'the outside' or 'the environment"(Rybac, 1968, p.137).


This  conceptualization  has  allowed  researchers  to  develop  the  thermodynamics  of  open systems,  traversed  by  a flow  of  matter  and  energy,  whereas  the  classical  conception  of thermodynamics    considers    closed    systems,    whose    exchanges    with    the    external environment   are   null   or   limited   and   tightly   controlled.   From   this   angle,   the   new thermodynamics  gives  a  major  importance  to  the  phenomenon  of  irreversibility,  where  the old is placed in the vicinity of equilibrium, in the reversibility zone, which makes the human world   appear   to   be   subject   to   its   potential   momentum   and   not   just   the   laws   of thermodynamics in their traditional meaning. In this context, the appearance of the notion of dissipative structure (Prigogine, 1967, p.371), which applies to phenomena as different as cyclones  or  living  species,  seems  particularly  interesting  because  it  applies  to  human societies.  Cyclones,  living  species,  human  societies,  are  famous  for  the  unpredictability  of their evolution.


As is so often the case, the problems that perplexed me as an undergraduate were just being addressed on the fringes of the field - open system thermodynamics.

Read more... (16 comments, 1143 words in story)

John Bull in a China Shop

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jul 10th, 2019 at 12:09:18 AM EST

I do so tire of Brexiteers claiming that the referendum result gives them the right to do more or less as they please and that anyone who objects to their proposals is acting undemocratically. However I get especially annoyed when Irish writers claim that respect for democracy requires us to indulge Brexiteers every whim and cast aside our own national interests. It's not all about the UK you know...

Read more... (24 comments, 534 words in story)

Italy's Appeal Court Jails Collaborators 'Operation Condor'

by Oui Tue Jul 9th, 2019 at 10:16:33 AM EST

Will this sentencing stand in Italy's highest court??

Processo d'appello contro i responsabili dell'Operazione Condor
Operazione Condor, 24 ergastoli a ex capi di Stato e 007 per 23 italiani uccisi

Italian court jails 24 over South American Operation Condor | The Guardian |

Prosecutors in the case drew on the precedent set in 2000 by the arrest in London of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet under the principle of "universal jurisdiction".

Continued below the fold ...

Read more... (8 comments, 319 words in story)

Elections in Greece

by eurogreen Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 12:22:00 PM EST

A general election took place in Greece, yesterday 7th July 2019. I will make a few comments, as nobody else has done so. Please note that I have no particular knowledge of politics in Greece, other than through my attachment to the DiEM25 movement. So this will be a somewhat ignorant and partisan little diary. The headline is "Conservative landslide", because the New Democracy party won a majority (158 of 300 seats)...
But in a normal European democracy, the news today would be all about the difficulty of cobbling together a left-of-centre government...

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

Read more... (7 comments, 350 words in story)

The Johnson and Hunt show

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jul 5th, 2019 at 01:51:04 PM EST

The Johnson and Hunt show is winding its tedious way around the UK with the principals both promising to re-negotiate the Withdrawal Agreement and declaring the Irish backstop to be a dead letter. Well they would, wouldn't they, given the audiences they are speaking to. John Crace is particularly withering about their performance in Northern Ireland. Both are blithely ignoring the fact that the EU has consistently said the A.50 negotiations are finished and the Withdrawal Agreement negotiations won't be re-opened.

Read more... (32 comments, 723 words in story)

How Do You Pay for the Green New Deal: Cost of Fuel

by gmoke Thu Jul 4th, 2019 at 08:31:36 PM EST

I did some back of the envelope estimates of the cost of the fossil fuels we use in a year.  
The source of these figures is the USA DOE Energy Information Agency https:/www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php

But any mistakes in arithmetic are my own.

-----------------

7.5 billion barrels of petroleum products consumed in USA in 2018
average price $69.78 per barrel
Cost of petroleum products:  $523,350,000,000

In 2017, the United States consumed about 27.11 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas
average of $4.08 per thousand cubic feet
Cost of natural gas:  $110,608,800,000

EIA expects total U.S. coal consumption in 2018 to fall to 691 million short tons (MMst)
$39.09 per short ton (2017 price)
Cost of coal:  $27,011,190,000

Total:  $660,969,990,000

We spend nearly $661 billion per year or something like that on fuel alone every year.
And these are only ballpark numbers, probably on the low side.

With the 2018 USA GDP at $20.50 trillion, the cost of fuel is approximately 3.22% of annual GDP

---------------------------

Another "cost" of fuel is covered in the International Monetary Fund's recent report on fossil fuel subsidies, covering 191 countries:
https:
www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2019/05/02/Global-Fossil-Fuel-Subsidies-Remain-Large-A n-Update-Based-on-Country-Level-Estimates-46509

They look at the difference between the market price and "how much consumers would pay if prices fully reflected supply costs plus the taxes needed to reflect environmental costs and revenue requirements."

Global fuel subsidies were $4.7 trillion (6.3% of global GDP) in 2015 and were projected to be $5.2 trillion (6.5% of GDP) in 2017
China subsidizes the most with $1.4 trillion per year
$649 billion in 2015 for the USA, 3.6% of GDP
Russia at $551 billion
EU at $289 billion
India at $209 billion

"Efficient fossil fuel pricing in 2015 would have lowered global carbon emissions by 28% and fossil fuel air pollution deaths by 46%, and increased government revenue by 3.8 % of GDP."

Subsidies consist of underpricing for local air pollution, the largest source (48% in 2015),
global warming at 24%
broader environmental costs of road fuels at 15%
undercharging for general consumption taxes 7%
supply costs 7%

Coal and petroleum get 85% of the global subsidies monies.
Coal receives 44% of subsidy monies
petroleum 41%
natural gas 10%
electricity 4%

"If fuel prices had been set at fully efficient levels in 2015, estimated global CO2 emissions would have been 28% lower, fossil fuel air pollution deaths 46% lower, tax revenues higher by 3.8% of global GDP, and net economic benefits (environmental benefits less economic costs) would have amounted to 1.7% of global GDP."

---------------------------

The USA spends about $661 billion per year on the cost of fuel
and another $649 billion on subsidies for that fuel
That's about $1.2 trillion per year for the full cost accounting of fossil fuels and such fossil foolishness.
That's about 7% of USA GDP

The energy transition, Energiewende, of Germany is estimated to cost 0.5 - 1.2% of GDP per year
Source:  https:
/www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/how-much-does-germanys-energy-transition-cost

How do you pay for the Green New Deal?  You do away with the cost of fuel (and all the subsidies that go along with it).

Comments >> (39 comments)

No Deal Means No deal (Reprise)

by Frank Schnittger Tue Jul 2nd, 2019 at 11:12:01 AM EST



Minister for Justice Charles Flanagan and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney hold their press conference on the street after the British failed to provide a room following a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference in London last month. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA

Update [2019-7-2 11:12:1 by Frank Schnittger]:First published Fri Aug 3rd, 2018, but is there anything of substance which has changed in the meantime?</update>


One of the few things the UK government has done well is to summarise their position in a few pithy phrases even low information voters can understand. We are all familiar with the famous "Brexit means Brexit" catchphrase of Prime Minster May and Boris Johnson's famous "we can have our cake at eat it" which should really be "we can eat our cake and still have it"...

What Johnson means by this is that the UK will be able to carry on trading with the EU very much as before, taking all the benefits of access to the EU Single Market and all the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) the EU has negotiated with third parties without any of the costs and restrictions of EU membership. Apparently the EU would agree to this because "they need us more than we need them" and replicating EU FTAs would be a simple mater of replacing the letters "EU" with "UK" in all the FTAs the EU has negotiated to date.

The EU negotiating stance, on the other hand, has been one long slow process of disabusing the UK of such notions. Access to the Single Market will require agreement to "the four freedoms", and membership of the Customs Union will require compliance with the corpus of customs regulations the EU has built up over the years. The UK will not be allowed to achieve a competitive advantage by taking in cheaper, less regulated imports, or by reducing the scope of workers rights. And this is before we even talk about the UK making Norway style ongoing contributions to the EU budget in return for access to the Single Market.

Read more... (52 comments, 1650 words in story)

Merkel for President?

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jun 26th, 2019 at 12:52:26 PM EST

EU Prime Ministers met last week-end to try to fill the key EU posts of President of the Commission, President of the Council, President of the Central Bank, and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. They failed miserably, agreeing only to kill off the candidacies of European Parliament Spitzenkandidaten Manfred Weber (EPP), Dutch socialist Franz Timmermans and the Danish liberal Margrethe Vestager.

Insiders joked the leaders couldn't even agree on what they disagreed on. Leo Varadker opined it was easier to elect a Pope. Jean-Claude Juncker noted with some conceit that "it appears I'm not that easy to replace." EU Prime Ministers like to keep decisions on the top jobs to themselves, and are not about to outsource that decision to the European Parliament, or indeed to the European peoples who elected that Parliament.

They meet again this week-end ahead of the opening session of the European Parliament which must approve their choice for Commission President, but with no guarantee they will succeed in moving the process any further forward. The complex series of compromises required to achieve an acceptable mix of ideological, party, nationality, personality, and gender balances may well continue to elude them. And yet the EU, confronted by Trump, trade wars, and Brexit, needs strong and capable leadership now more than ever before.

Read more... (106 comments, 517 words in story)

Trump's Pride Shot Out of the Air by Iran

by Oui Fri Jun 21st, 2019 at 06:41:00 AM EST

Clock ticking towards a US-Iran military confrontration in the Persian Gulf region ...

Coping with Iran: Confrontation, Containment, or Engagement? | RAND - 2007 |

Is Trump willing to risk destroying a civilization existing thousands of years before the journey of Columbus and the discovery of the Americas in 1492 AD?

This event on the same day the USA named as a rogue state ...

US joins four rogue countries seen as likely forces for bad, poll finds | The Guardian |

I have been writing this for a number of years now! The election of Trump tipped the scale towards a force of evil ...

Donald Trump Decided to Strike Iranian Missile System, Then Changed His Mind | Newsweek |

More below the fold ...

Read more... (9 comments, 1302 words in story)

The "Intellectual Weakness" of Irish Nationalism

by Frank Schnittger Thu Jun 20th, 2019 at 11:51:27 PM EST

Letter published in the Irish Times...

Northern Ireland and staying in UK

A chara, - You cite Lord Paul Bew, who teaches Irish history and politics at Queen's University Belfast (QUB), as saying, "Theresa May's successor must make the case for the union consistently". He also highlights what he describes as the "intellectual weakness" of the case for a united Ireland".


He has published his paper through Policy Exchange, a right-of-centre UK think tank which is frequently cited as influential on Tory Party policymaking, together with a foreword by Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, and who proposed the Brady amendment to pursue alternative solutions to the backstop.

Ironically, he describes the nationalist case for a united Ireland as based on falsifiable or insupportable suppositions, when it is the DUP and British government which have singularly failed to show any practical alternative solution to the backstop working anywhere in the world.

He argues that "a new, modern case for the union must be developed, based on the principle of consent", when that is precisely what is enshrined in the 1998 Belfast Agreement, then resisted by the DUP, and which Brexiteers and unionists are now so anxious to undermine.

Northern Ireland voted 56 per cent to 44 per cent to remain in the EU and it is the DUP, with 22 per cent support in the recent European Parliament elections, which is pursuing a Brexit agenda, in cahoots with a Conservative government, against the consent of the majority.

Perhaps the good professor needs to examine the "intellectual weaknesses" in his own position. - Yours, etc,

FRANK SCHNITTGER

Read more... (32 comments, 1339 words in story)

Democracy with Spanish characteristics again

by IdiotSavant Thu Jun 20th, 2019 at 10:00:39 PM EST

Last month, Catalans elected three exiled and jailed pro-independence politicians to the European Parliament. Unfortunately, Spain no longer seems to respect the results of democratic elections, and the Spanish Electoral Commission today declared their seats vacant. The reason? None of them had made the required oath to uphold the Spanish constitution before the Electoral Commission. But in all three cases, it is because the Spanish state did not permit them to.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

Read more... (13 comments, 274 words in story)

Grid-scale Battery: The Tesla System in Australia

by gmoke Tue Jun 18th, 2019 at 07:09:09 PM EST

Remember when Elon Musk offered to build a grid-scale battery for Southern Australia in "100 days or it's free"?  He made good on his bet, installing it on time for the cost of $66 million in December of 2017.  

According to a report on its first year of operation, the Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR), owned and operated by Neon,  the world's largest lithium-ion battery energy storage system, with a discharge capacity of 100 MW and energy storage capacity of 129 MWh, located near Jamestown, South Australia, sharing the same 275 kV network connection point as the 300 MW Hornsdale wind farm, saved $40 million in its first year.

HPR is three times larger than any other lithium ion battery.  It provides high-quality, rapid and precise Regulation of Frequency Control Ancillary Services [FCAS] with Fast Frequency Response [FFR], faster than existing large steam turbines which take minutes to ramp up.

"It can rapidly discharge and charge over fractions of a second to support the safe and stable operation of the grid when it's under threat, or when something unexpected happens elsewhere, not just in the State but in the National Electricity Market."

"HPR's FFR capability was proven in a major system security event on 25 August 2018 (detailed in case study) where HPR operated as required, accurately dispatching energy to support the network through both high and low frequency periods."

The HBR project began after a state-wide blackout in 2016 when the South Australian government solicited bids.  Tesla was chosen out of 90 other competing companies.

Tesla explained the system's capabilities, saying, "It will help solve power outages, reduce intermittencies and manage summertime peak load to support the reliability of South Australia's electrical infrastructure, providing enough power for more than 30,000 homes--approximately equal to the amount of homes that lost power during the blackout period last year."

Tesla also says it will recycle the batteries after their 15 year lifetime, planning to  recover up to 60% of the materials.

South Australia has gone from less than 1% renewables in the early 2000s to 48.9% in 2016/17 and is expected to rise to 73% by 2020/21, perhaps the fastest renewable growth rate in the world.  Australia's electricity sector alone is on track to deliver the country's  entire Paris emissions reduction targets by 2025 instead of 2030, five years early.  

"Remarkably, the net cost is zero because expensive fossil fuels are being replaced by cheaper renewables."

Sources:  https:/www.sciencealert.com/remember-the-giant-tesla-battery-in-australia-it-just-marked-its-first- year

https:www.aurecongroup.com/thinking/thinking-papers/batteries-future-energy-storage

https:www.aurecongroup.com/markets/energy/hornsdale-power-reserve-impact-study

https:www.scribd.com/document/395050069/Aurecon-Hornsdale-Power-Reserve-Impact-Study-2018

https:/www.ign.com/articles/2019/01/01/a-giant-tesla-battery-in-australia-has-saved-40-million-in-i ts-first-year-2
http://re100.eng.anu.edu.au/publications/assets/100renewables.pdf

Comments >> (7 comments)

As the Lights Go Out!

by Oui Sun Jun 16th, 2019 at 06:48:12 PM EST

Colombia stun dominant Argentina at 2019 Copa America

The big blackout across South America ...

I'm not sure whether to blame Messi - Putin - Israel - or US Cyber Command! Perhaps the Hand of God. Diego?

Apagón masivo: se cortó la luz en todo el país

El país entero amaneció en penumbras por un apagón masivo que también dejó sin servicio eléctrico a Uruguay, Brasil y Chile. Se estima que el corte afecta a unas 48 millones de personas en el conosur. De acuerdo a las distribuidoras Edenor y Edesur, se trata de una "falla masiva en el sistema de interconexión eléctrica", aunque no dieron más detalles. El secretario de Energía, Gustavo Lopetegui, brindará una conferencia de prensa a las 15 hs en el Palacio de Hacienda.

More below the fold ...

Read more... (17 comments, 476 words in story)

No deal means no deal

by Frank Schnittger Tue Jul 2nd, 2019 at 09:55:29 AM EST


Minister for Justice Charles Flanagan and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney hold their press conference on the street after the British failed to provide a room following a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference in London last month. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA

Update [2019-7-2 9:55:29 by Frank Schnittger]:First published Fri Aug 3rd, 2018, but is there anything of substance which has changed in the meantime?

One of the few things the UK government has done well is to summarise their position in a few pithy phrases even low information voters can understand. We are all familiar with the famous "Brexit means Brexit" catchphrase of Prime Minster May and Boris Johnson's famous "we can have our cake at eat it" which should really be "we can eat our cake and still have it"...

What Johnson means by this is that the UK will be able to carry on trading with the EU very much as before, taking all the benefits of access to the EU Single Market and all the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) the EU has negotiated with third parties without any of the costs and restrictions of EU membership. Apparently the EU would agree to this because "they need us more than we need them" and replicating EU FTAs would be a simple mater of replacing the letters "EU" with "UK" in all the FTAs the EU has negotiated to date.

The EU negotiating stance, on the other hand, has been one long slow process of disabusing the UK of such notions. Access to the Single Market will require agreement to "the four freedoms", and membership of the Customs Union will require compliance with the corpus of customs regulations the EU has built up over the years. The UK will not be allowed to achieve a competitive advantage by taking in cheaper, less regulated imports, or by reducing the scope of workers rights. And this is before we even talk about the UK making Norway style ongoing contributions to the EU budget in return for access to the Single Market.

Read more... (53 comments, 1656 words in story)

All over bar the shouting... [Update 3]

by Frank Schnittger Thu Jun 13th, 2019 at 02:49:06 PM EST

The Tory Leadership election is all but decided after the first round of voting. Although Boris Johnson is some way short of a majority of the parliamentary party votes after the first round of voting, it is very hard to see anyone else overtaking him, and he only needs 105 votes to make it into the top two and go forward to the vote of all party members in any case. He also leads all opinion polling of conservative party members and so we can more or less take his election for granted at this stage, barring some spectacular snafu, which, given this is Boris, cannot be entirely discounted. To avert this possibility, his handlers have been keeping him on a tight rein, limiting his public appearances, and even giving him a slightly tidier haircut...

[Update]: Soft Brexiteer Rory Stewart gained the most votes (+14), and hard Brexiteer Dominic Raab has been eliminated following the second round of voting. [Update2] In the third round Sajid Javid leapfrogs Rory Stewart to stay in the Tory leadership race for one more round, but it looks like it's between Gove and Hunt for the second spot on the membership ballot. Boris Johnson is closing in on an overall majority of the votes of the Parliamentary party as careerists overcome their scruples to secure ministerial positions]:

[Update 3]: It's Boris vs. Hunt. No contest really, given the make-up of the electorate. But when will the British people get to have their say? Boris is on the record of proclaiming that Gordon Brown's premiership was illegitimate because it was Tony Blair the people had elected. Now of course; waffle waffle, crisis, waffle waffle, because, waffle waffle he's perfectly ok with that. After all he was only speaking as a journalist beforehand, and what do they know?

Rumours abound that Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson's campaign (to give him his full title) "lent" votes to Rory Stewart to ensure the early elimination of Dominic Raab, and then to Hunt, to ensure Gove was eliminated. There is therefore no one who voted for Brexit left in the campaign to claim Brexiteer legitimacy from Johnson. Hunt will seem to most Tory party members as a reheated version of Theresa May, and they have had their fill of that.

Read more... (61 comments, 1178 words in story)

Good Riddance

by Frank Schnittger Mon Jun 10th, 2019 at 01:13:28 AM EST

Theresa May has stepped down as Tory party leader with an approval rating of -49% and to the regret of almost no one. She had outstayed her welcome, and even that welcome had come mostly from the Tory faithful. She was  admired by some for her perseverance and staying power in the face of almost insurmountable odds, although for many it was just a manifestation of her stubbornness and crass insensitivity to all but her own views.

In the end, even those who had felt some sympathy for her because they felt she was being treated more shabbily because she was a women, had been handed a poisoned chalice by her predecessor, and was no worse than her Tory colleagues, found it difficult to justify her policy positions. Her last days as leader were spent having to endure listening to Donald Trump telling her who should run the UK and how.

Read more... (29 comments, 1284 words in story)

Going Dutch?

by Frank Schnittger Fri Jun 7th, 2019 at 10:26:49 PM EST

Unlike the low key, almost private, visit of Donald Trump to Ireland this week, Dutch King Willem-Alexander is being afforded the full formalities of a state visit next week. Accompanied by the Dutch foreign and trade ministers and a trade delegation, the subtext is the preparations both countries are making for Brexit.

Mark Paul has produced an excellent preview for the Irish Times

A few years ago, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, who occasionally used to moonlight for fun as a pilot for the Dutch airline KLM, bumped into the Ryanair chief executive, Michael O'Leary, at a conference.

O'Leary was characteristically bombastic and facetiously invited the royal to work for Ryanair instead. It isn't hard to imagine O'Leary smirking in self-admiration at his temerity in wiping the eye of a monarch in a slagging match.

Ryanair subsequently became embroiled in a damaging industrial relations war with many of its pilots, leading to strikes in some countries before a peace deal was struck last year. Its difficulties were compounded at one stage by a staff scheduling crisis that forced Ryanair to cancel thousands of flights.

For a time, O'Leary's well-won reputation as an aviation genius lay in tatters. Sensing an opportunity to get his own back, the Dutch king sat down at his computer and composed an email to O'Leary, asking him if he was still looking for pilots. By some accounts, the Ryanair boss struggled to see the funny side.

Read more... (28 comments, 747 words in story)

Trump's triumphant trolloping tirades

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jun 5th, 2019 at 10:25:29 AM EST

I have a policy on not writing on stuff I have already seen better portrayed elsewhere, which makes Kathy Sheridan's piece on Trump's visit to England a hard act to follow... Coming from a small country well used to humiliations by the greater powers around us, there is not a small amount of schadenfreude associated with seeing the UK similarly abused. One wonders where exactly "taking back control" morphed into becoming a Trump vassal state, with Buckingham Palace used as a helipad for the US embassy and venue for a Trump family Downton Abbey themed holiday adventure.

The policy content of the visit seems to have been confined to telling the Brits who should become their next Prime Minister (Boris Johnson), who should lead their next Brexit negotiations (Nigel Farage), insulting his host, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, as a "stone cold loser", and telling the British that the promised terrific trade deal with the US would require opening up the NHS to US private venture capital takeover, and the UK food chain to US chlorinated chickens. Can you imagine the Brexiteer outrage had Juncker even hinted at such things?

Even Sky's Promo for the visit (20 seconds) depicts an alien spaceship as a hostile invader casting a dark shadow over Britain, even over the Queen, and then turns out to be nothing more than Trump's blimp. Someone in Murdoch's empire is sure to get sacked. The Brits are very good at laughing at themselves but many won't know whether to laugh or cry at what Brexit Britain has become. Still, with Trump also due to visit Ireland, they may be laughing at others soon enough. Apparently Leo Varadker refused to meet Trump at his Doonbeg golf resort where a dinner in Trump's honour was held last night attended by the Irish Ambassador to the US, Dan Mulhall, and the government's special envoy to the US, Fine Gael back bench TD John Deasy.

A State Banquet it was not. President Michael D. Higgins was otherwise engaged criticising Trump's "regressive and pernicious decision to leave the global Paris Agreement" and stating that those at risk of exclusion from society were "being abandoned to become the prey of xenophobes, homophobes and racists." Could there have been a message for Trump in there somewhere?

Comments >> (24 comments)
Next 20 >>

News and Views

 8 - 14 July 2019

by Bjinse - Jul 9, 130 comments

Your take on this week's news

 27 May - 2 June 2019

by Bjinse - May 28, 326 comments

Your take on this week's news

 July Thread

by Bjinse - Jul 9, 6 comments

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast threads

 June Thread

by Bjinse - May 28, 86 comments

The lovely conversation that left me to ponder was the long thread I had with June

Occasional Series
Click for full list