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October 18, 2019

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Johnson might have thrown the DUP under the bus, but the deal he has agreed with the EU is more favourable to Northern Ireland than it is to the rest of the UK - which has led to understandably aggrieved complaints from Scotland, which voted against the whole clusterfnck in the first place.
The majority of the NI electorate are therefore in favour of the deal.

I have to admit being amused by the Twitter comment which set pictures of Johnson and Arlene Foster alongside each other, with the caption "between a cock and a hard face"...

Per Johnson and the DUP, it couldn't happen to a better (or do I mean worse?) pack of tail-wagging-the-dog reactionaries.

And then there's their command of the English language. lj's link quotes a leader of the rival UUP:

It would put a customs and regulatory border down the Irish Sea and annexes Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.”

Must be something to do with his political views; everyone I ever met in the Republic had a facility with the language that was exactly what you'd expect from the land of James Joyce.

@Nigel -- To belabor the obvious for the sake of the schadenfreude, the DUP is not NI. That was the not very hidden meaning of my comment about the tail wagging the dog.

I'm kind of surprised Boris made a deal like this, but I haven't been following closely so I'm sure I missed a few steps. I thought the DUP was essential to the coalition keeping the Tories in power, but then I also thought Boris had had more than one vote of in-effect no confidence.

From 8 hours west, it looks like Johnson has made a deal which will fracture the UK. I suppose that's one way to get your name into the history books.

Is #Englexit trending yet?

P.S. "annexes . . . from"??? Are we sure this wasn't written in St. Petersburg? It has that English-as-a-foreign-language vibe.

At the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, the retired four-star Marine general Mattis:

I’m not just an overrated general. I am the greatest, the world’s most overrated. I’m honored to be considered that by Donald Trump because he also called Meryl Streep an overrated actress. So I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals. And, frankly, that sounds pretty good to me. … You do have to admit: Between me and Meryl, at least we’ve had some victories.
He also got off this one-liner: "I earned my spurs on the battlefield; Donald Trump earned his spurs in a letter from a doctor.”

Yes Donald, they are definitely laughing at you.

Of course, not everybody under the bus got thrown there. It appears that, in yesterday's news conference (announcing the stunningly blatant bit of corruption that is the next G-7 meeting), Mulvaney chose to jump under the bus.
Dragging Trump with him. No other obvious way to characterize his words.

ain't populism grand?

Trump has said that the G-7 meeting will be hosted at cost. But, I suspect, there would significant monetary and non-monetary knock-on benefits.

Given how accurate (not!) his accounts have already been shown to be, can anyone seriously believe that "at cost" would be anything of the kind?

no doubt there will be many upgrades needed before the summit, which Trump will bill the govt for.

Free advertising at the very least.

Just try to imagine the howling if Obama had done something like this.

From The Donald's POV, are the bedbugs* a feature or a bug in the whole affair?

*the resort in question has a problem there.

Trump is the greatest President in US history. He is single-handedly saving the Republic from it Deep State and foreign parasites, especially Israel.

Sure, Jan.

The Sykes bot is right. According to Donnie Smoothbrain, we now control all the oil in the Middle East. Did Obama manage that? I think not!

checks out.

I've been a lawyer and mediator in Utah for more than 35 years. I've known Bob Sykes for most of his career. Robert B. Sykes is a dishonest and unethical attorney who is an awful person too. Bob Sykes is mendacious, spiteful, petty, and an unrepentant bigot who lies whenever it serves his pecuniary interests.

Although personally I would distinguish between a lawyer in Utah and a civil engineering professor (emeritus) in Ohio. But hey, that's just me.

“ Trump is the greatest President in US history. He is single-handedly saving the Republic from it Deep State and foreign parasites, especially Israel.”

Your PKK post in the other thread wasn’t totally off, but this one is, well, odd. Trump is about the most pro Israel President we’ve had. Hell, his antisemitic remark from a couple months ago was pro Israel. (It was a toned down version of what his ambassador to Israel and personal bankruptcy said once. Friedman said JStreet people were worse than kapos.) I don’t say this as a compliment because it’s not one.

Source about David Friedman—

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2016/12/trumps-israel-ambassador-likens-left-wing-jews-to-kapos.html

Personal bankruptcy lawyer, I meant to say. Though morally, he and Trump are personally bankrupt.

Though I admit the betrayal of the Kurds has the Israelis upset. They had hoped until recently that Trump was this very tough anti Iranian character and now he turns out to be someone who backs down from fights after the missile strike in the Saudis and then he abandons the Kurds. About all he is good for is supporting settlements m endorsing Jerusalem as the capital and killing Yemeni civilians.

On Syria and American policy in general, I agree with this —

http://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/the-unholy-mess-of-us-middle-eastern-strategy/

The comment with the weird nym supplied an obviously bogus email address, so I marked it as spam. Picot isn't as blatant, so I'm leaving it in all its empty glory. (Sockpuppetry, I wouldn't be surprised to hear.)

Given that there was the infamous Sykes-Picot treaty (that also threw ME allies under buses btw), I also smell sockpuppets.

Well spotted, Hartmut.

Yes indeed, Hartmut, thanks. I marked that one as spam too.

Maybe Sykes just doesn't know how to use the 'sarcasm' font.

Hey Donald...thanks for that link to the essay by Lieven. A very worthwhile read.

This:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/state-department-probe-of-clinton-emails-finds-no-deliberate-mishandling-of-classified-information/2019/10/18/83339446-f1dc-11e9-8693-f487e46784aa_story.html

Natch, however, that bus already left the scene of the hit and run, and has been body-shopped and repainted.

I'm kind of surprised Boris made a deal like this, but I haven't been following closely so I'm sure I missed a few steps. I thought the DUP was essential to the coalition keeping the Tories in power, but then I also thought Boris had had more than one vote of in-effect no confidence.

No they were essential to May, an essentially timid (the least of her failings) politician clinging to power.
To say that I am not a fan of Johnson would be understatement, but enabled by the most useless leader of the Labour party since the war, he has pulled off an act of political jujitsu.

The deal is worse for the UK economically, threatens to break up the UK, and if it goes through, hands the EU far greater leverage in the subsequent trade negotiations for which only a year would remain. But it more or less satisfies the desires of the British nationalist sovereignty diehards, which gives it a chance of getting through parliament (with the imminent threat of a no deal exit to back it up).

As for the spectacle of a PM without a majority continuing in office, credit a combination of the Fixed Term Parliament Act, and... Jeremy Corbyn.

To unpack that further, the losing an effective vote of confidence is no longer sufficient to precipitate an election. And it is no longer entirely clear how a PM can make a vote an actual vote of confidence, that power now residing entirely with the leader of the opposition.

For the PM to precipitate an election before the end of a five year term of government, under the FPTA, a two thirds majority of the Commons is required.
If the PM loses a No Confidence motion brought by the opposition, the FTPA now mandates a 14 day period during which an alternate government may be formed. Corbyn has made it clear that he would not support any alternate coalition not led by him, and the Lib Dems and Tory rebels have made it equally clear that they would not put Corbyn in No.10, even for a short period of time.

The only alternative, therefore, is an election following a VONC. Which is why Corbyn will not bring one (the Lib Dems would do so, but cannot).
Corbyn boasts the lowest personal rating of any opposition leader since polling began on the metric, and a brief glance at election polling shows Labour’s problem:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_next_United_Kingdom_general_election
Johnson would in all probability win a large majority on around 37% of the vote.

As an addendum, and to grant Corbyn a measure of fairness, once we got too close to the October 31st deadline, it would have in any event have been impossible to hold an election without then precipitating a no deal Brexit on the 31st. Which was the point of the Benn Act mandating that the PM request yet another extension from Brussels if a deal had not been agreed.

As a deal has been agreed (though not approved by parliament), that arguably settles that requirement, which is why a further amendment had been tabled to the vote on the deal...

The details are now so convoluted and tedious, it is small wonder that ben a significant number of remainers what to ‘just get it done’.

Which of course it wouldn’t be, as we would just recommence negotiations on what happens next.

An article with which I have a great deal of sympathy:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/18/remainers-boris-johnson-brexit

Nigel: agreed on all counts.

And now the Letwin amendment, which is seen by the government as a wrecking amendment, despite Letwin (and others) saying they will vote for the deal...

Brexit, truly the gift which keeps spinning a complex web of nonsense.

btw, what on earth is Hillary doing starting a feud with Tulsi Gabbard ?

I have little or no time for Gabbard, but she is still a candidate for the nomination, and suggesting she is backed by the Russians is... mischievous.
Gabbard is not going to get the nomination; leave well alone.

btw, what on earth is Hillary doing starting a feud with Tulsi Gabbard ?

she didn't.

as i said on the other thread, this Gabbard stuff got rolling with a NYT article last weekend.

Clinton, being someone who was directly affected by the Russian smears last time around, recognizes a lot of the rhetoric Gabbard is using now and is worried about it.

My understanding (from skimming here and there) is that Hillary didn't even mention Gabbard, Gabbard mentioned herself. Or (per cleek) did the mischief-making NYT mention Gabbard first?

And as to "Gabbard is not going to get the nomination," everyone knows that. It's about the possibility of Gabbard running as an independent.

@Nigel -- by the way, thanks for the explanation of the FTPA etc.

Oh, and correcting myself re: Gabbard -- I said it was about her running as an independent, but maybe it's 3rd party. A distinction without a difference for our purposes.

Brexit, truly the gift which keeps spinning a complex web of nonsense.

For all that we Americans are worried about how our institutions are coping with the disaster that is Trump, we must say this. We got the facts gathered and established that the Russians did, indeed, try to interfere in our ele tion. (Yes, there are some who are in denial. But the facts are manifest.)

But my sense is that the UK has not been similarly forced to accept just how much the Russians did to push Brexit. Is that correct? And what do you foresee happening on that front when the disasterous consequences get people looking for who all to blame?

From what I'm reading in the papers here, Parliament voted (narrowly, but not that narrowly) to withhold support for Johnson’s deal. At least until all supporting legislation has passed, which could take a while. At least a few days.

A British law requires the prime minister to request a Brexit delay if a deal is not approved by Oct. 19 -- i.e. today. But Johnson, apparently taking a page from the Trump playbook, said, “I will not negotiate a delay with the E.U. And neither does the law compel me to do so.” Of course "will not negotiate" isn't precisely the same as "will not ask for" . . .

The new Brexit deal is weird. The insuperable difficulty May faced was that, outside the Single Market, Northern Ireland couldn't at once be an indivisible part of the UK, and have a frictionless border with the Republic of Ireland. And that neither the Conservative and Unionist Party (to give BoJo's lot their official name), nor the Northern Ireland Unionists they depended on, would countenance NI's not being an indivisible part of the UK.

BoJo's solution is simply to abandon Unionism, directly contrary to promises he's made to the Unionists. He thinks, and he hopes that enough MPs will think, that Brexit is more important than Unionism.

The new Brexit deal might work rather well for Northern Ireland, which could have a trading future as a sort of entrepôt between the EU and the UK. That could make it acceptable to some NI unionists.

BoJo sent the letter saying the UK is requesting a delay til January 31 2020 as the new law required, but didn't sign it. How absolutely pathetic. He sent another letter with it (which he did sign) saying he thinks any extension is a bad idea. It is still unclear what the EU is going to do about this, and there is still a (very outside) chance that next week he will get his deal enacted and approved, which would mean we could still come out on October 31.

But my sense is that the UK has not been similarly forced to accept just how much the Russians did to push Brexit. Is that correct?

In reply to this question of wj's, I would say that the kind of people who read the Guardian, the Observer and watch Channel 4 News (i.e. who have followed Carole Cadwalladr's and some others' heroic work in untangling e.g. the Cambridge Analytica scandal including Steve Bannon's remark that Brexit was the pilot for the Trump campaign, the Arron Banks connection etc etc), which is to say moderate lefties and liberals, all know about it, but it has not been so explicitly emphasised in the rest of the media. The fact that, for example, Andrew Neil (a prominent rightwing journalist, ex-editor of the Sunday Times, publisher of the Spectator and presumed keen Brexiteer etc) regularly ridicules Carole Cadwalladr as a "mad cat woman" might give some idea of the kind of attitude those on the right and more sympathetic to Brexit have towards attempts to discredit the result of the Brexit vote because of the Russian connection.

Although I don't share Andrew Neil's politics, by the way, he is generally an impressive journalist. Anybody interested who did not see his demolition of Ben Shapiro in May of this year might enjoy looking it up (I can't post links for some reason, but it's easy to find).

That was entertaining, GftNC!

So, Trump backs down about hosting the G(insert number here) summit at the increasingly shabby Doral Resort. My only question is: When did Mitch place that call?

here's another fun takedown of Shapiro: Why Ben Shapiro Is Wrong About Rap

Trump backs down on Doral . . . while expressing surprise at the pushback. I guess that he, like Mulvaney, thinks that corruption is utterly normal, so nobody (in politics, anyway) will care. Comes of living in an information bubble -- not that I can see him realizing that and stepping out of it.

Brexit surfaces everywhere!
https://xkcd.com/2218/

OK, now the quid pro quo is definite.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/diplomat-who-raised-alarm-about-withholding-aid-to-ukraine-testifies-in-impeachment-probe/2019/10/22/086fb850-f436-11e9-8cf0-4cc99f74d127_story.html

Which, presumably, is why one of the most dedicated Trump fanboys, Mark Thiessen, titles his latest column:
There is nothing wrong with quid pro quos. It just depends what the quo is.

And the line of defense shifts again, as the previous one is shown to be flat out false.

I'm kind of looking forward to visiting the independent country of Scotland, probably after it joins the EU.

Thiessen is maybe the most transparently phony writer out there - even given the strong competition of Henry Olsen and Hugh Hewitt. i can't believe WaPo publishes these people.

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