Now For Something Completely Different: Across The Pond

In a thread this morning, Tony Jay broke down the latest on Brexit for us so well, I had to front page it:

Brexit News – Gather your children and run.

Oh it’s all going off now, isn’t it? Brexit, that genius plan to turn the United Kingdom into a bigger, juicier Bluestar Airlines en route to going full-on Airstrip One has hit a tiny, wee stumbling block. Turns out that Parliament, that wacky bunch of grey-suited mavericks and jobbing Executive Vice-Presidents for Arranging Contracts and Dat while Golfing, have decided that they don’t too much fancy the very likely prospect of being roasted for their meat by dispossessed proles in the smoldering ruins of Chipping Norton Conservative Club and would quite like to, maybe, I don’t know, exercise a bit of that ‘Parliamentary Sovereignty’ all the Leavers were banging on about non-stop back in the days when being humiliated and sent home from European capitals was more the preserve of our national football teams than our national government.

In a vote last night on an amendment put forward by Regency beau and racist jelly-mold Oliver Letwin a majority of Parliament chose to push the Government aside and hold a series of indicative votes on other options. Things like Revoking Article 50 (Brexit is sent to bed with a cup of hemlock), having a straight 2nd Referendum (Brexit has to re-apply for its job), a Norway style semi-membership (Brexit pops on a Viking helmet and is told “Ingen Sjance, Froken Brit!” by Norway), or whatever the Speaker decides is non-Unicornesque enough to get serious support. How the votes will take place, how they’ll be weighed, will they be subject to whipping (always popular amongst the Tories and their public schoolboy contingent) is all still up in the air, but the fact of the matter is that after three years of embarrassment and abuse Parliament has had just about enough of this Government’s blatant contempt for the democratic process and has, with a quivering jaw and mascara-streaked face, torn the Enoch Powell biography from Theresa May’s cold, dead hands and screamed “You will listen to me!” into the sudden, bewildered silence.

And what has Queen Theresa made of all this? Well she’s telling everyone who’ll listen that she’s not bothered. Just like she’s not bothered about the two hammering defeats her deal has already suffered, or the humiliating failure of her last display of British steel and diplomatic finesse in Europe, or even the Speaker’s refusal to let her deal get another vote without something more momentous than the font changing. None of it matters to Queen Theresa because she’s in a better place now, somewhere disagreeable impediments like votes and negotiations and basic reality can be safely disregarded because She’s the Queen of the Land of Do As You Please and everything else is noise. She can state, via her shrinking supply of pot-grown junior ministers, that no responsible Government can be expected to enact important legislation affecting the future of the country without knowing the desired end-point and process in advance with a blithe lack of even the most basic self-awareness. Not bothered. She can lecture Parliament on thinking it can force through revolutionary changes to centuries of constitutional tradition without reflecting for a moment on the fact that her Government is only still technically ‘in power’ because her predecessor’s Parliament made revolutionary changes to centuries of constitutional tradition with its Fixed Term Election Bill. Not bothered. She can even stand there and declare with a more-or-less straight face that No-Deal is both on and off the table at the same time, like a Schrodinger’s Cat of a policy, except this cat is ten feet long, long in tooth and claw and weighs the same as a small family house. She. Is. Not. Bothered.

Probably, it appears, because the Grand Wizards (no, really, that’s their term, because why not, eh?) of the Brexiteerean Jihad look like crumbling under the pressure of Reality and voting for May’s Deal de la Merde as the worst possible option they can hope to foist upon the country before the cock crows and everyone starts sobering up in the cold light of Brexit day. It’s like she’s spent so long huffing their ultra-high leaded emissions in pursuit of their votes that she hasn’t even noticed the way the Parliamentary math has shifted around her. Or, to put it in an even creepier way. She’s spent the whole of the School Leaver’s Party following Jacob (Call me Kyle) Reese-Mogg and his gang of Emo-Goth Randians and Ulster Exchange Student Militia around, laughing at their crap racist jokes and doing anything and everything she can, however degrading, to get them to come back to her house for an invite only After-Party, but, just as she’s finally got their muttered ‘okay, maybe, whatever’ in the bag, she turns to see that everyone else has got bored waiting and left to go and see what the beer is like at the Free Oompah Band and European Folk Music Festival in the local park. And now, in a final swipe of the dirty dishcloth of (what Western popular culture erroneously believes to be called) karma across the face of her dreams, Theresa learns that the only way anyone will even consider going to her party is if she’s not there.

How unfair, said nobody else.

Basically, it boils down to this. Parliament can indicative vote until it’s blue in the face, but it can’t force the Government to do anything the Government doesn’t want to do. OTOH, the E.U. has given May only one week to get her Withdrawal Deal passed, and if it doesn’t, well, there’s a hard deadline of April 12th for Britain to come up with an alternative that Parliament – can – support and – crucially – the E.U. will accept. The balance of power has slowly, steadily shifted under the crushing weight of glacial reality so it’s no longer May’s Government stuffing her deal in the face of Parliament and saying “Vote for this or the country gets it”, but rather Parliament itself deciding on a version of Brexit enough of them can coalesce around (crucially, probably, I think, with a Confirmatory Public Vote rider tagged on to bring the anti-Brexit rationalists on board) and then shoving – that – into May’s face and saying “Let this get a free vote or the Tory Party gets it”. Remember, the entire concept of British Parliamentary democracy revolves around the idea that the faction that can harness and provide a majority for legislation gets to be the Government. No majority, no Government. Claiming to be the Government while refusing to enact the will of an – actual – majority, ooooh, now, that’s the kind of genuine constitutional crisis we never got before the stupid Fixed Term Election Bill and one that has only one answer, a resounding vote of No Confidence and a General Election.

Interesting days.

Now, back to your scheduled countdown to the release of the – actual – Mueller Report rather than the hastily scribbled customer review put out by the guy being paid to protect Trump.

I will tell you, Brexit confuses me much like the election of IQ45 must confuse our allies…but I sure enjoy Tony Jay’s hot takes on it. I look forward to many more.

 








Well This is Nucking Futz- Amazon Edition

Jeff Bezos has published a piece on Medium, and man is it crazy:

Back to the story: Several days ago, an AMI leader advised us that Mr. Pecker is “apoplectic” about our investigation. For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve.

A few days after hearing about Mr. Pecker’s apoplexy, we were approached, verbally at first, with an offer. They said they had more of my text messages and photos that they would publish if we didn’t stop our investigation.

***

Well, that got my attention. But not in the way they likely hoped. Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there’s a much more important matter involved here. If in my position I can’t stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can? (On that point, numerous people have contacted our investigation team about their similar experiences with AMI, and how they needed to capitulate because, for example, their livelihoods were at stake.)

In the AMI letters I’m making public, you will see the precise details of their extortionate proposal: They will publish the personal photos unless Gavin de Becker and I make the specific false public statement to the press that we “have no knowledge or basis for suggesting that AMI’s coverage was politically motivated or influenced by political forces.”

Read the whole thing- and Bezos has receipts. They thought they were fucking around with the guy on the left and the guy on the right showed up.








Holiday Jamz

I don’t even really know what to say other than OH YEAH:








No Jury Would Convict

I mean, seriously:

Sergey Savitsky, an engineer [at Bellingshausen Station, a Russian research station in the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica], is accused of stabbing welder Oleg Beloguzov in the chest, the Sun* reports.

So far, so good — just one more incident in the human carnival, albeit in chillier conditions than most.  But wait! What could possibly have driven Savitsky to his savage act?

The alleged attack was said to be the result of an argument between the two over Beloguzov’s habit of spoiling the endings of books that he’d read from the remote outpost’s library.

Welp.

That changes the matter.

I mean — these guys are stuck together for year-long-stretches.  Serial spoiling is no mere prank, and not even simply provocation: it’s an assault on all that’s right and holy!

After all:  who among us hasn’t felt the urge, and been saved from the evil impulse only by the fact that we can leave the house and read something else…

No jury would convict.

Amirite?

Oh, and btw:

Some reports suggest that alcohol was involved.

Ya think?

PS:  the good news:

Beloguzov was evacuated to Chile for medical treatment, and his life is reportedly not in danger.

So anyway. I figured we needed a little respite today, and here it is.  Open thread.

*Yeah. I know.

Image: Johann Hamza, The Reader, before 1928








SERIOUSLY WTF DO WE HAVE TO DO TO GET SOME HELP TO PUERTO RICO?

Jesus:

Puerto Rico’s medical services are in critical condition in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The strongest storm to hit the island in decades has left hospitals flooded, strewn with rubble and dependent on diesel generators to keep the neediest patients alive.

The precarious shape of the island’s medical facilities is adding to the misery and devastation of this U.S. territory, whose 3.4 million residents are American citizens. For some, the only option is to evacuate to the United States for treatment.

We’re just going to let them all die, aren’t we? I hate this fucking President.