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Member since: Sat Oct 16, 2004, 01:04 PM
Number of posts: 37,427

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Germany Blames 'Silver Spoon' U.K. Elite for Brexit Chaos


(original headline in subject line)

European exasperation over the chaos in Brexit talks descended into profanity and name-calling, as Germany’s deputy foreign minister said the U.K. government consists mostly of clueless boarding-school graduates.

“Brexit is a big shitshow, I say that now very undiplomatically,” Michael Roth said at an event of his Social Democratic Party in Berlin on Saturday. He accused “90 percent” of the British cabinet of having “no idea how workers think, live, work and behave” and said it would not be those U.K. politicians “born with silver spoons in their mouths, who went to private schools and elite universities” that will suffer the consequences of the mess.

“I don’t know if William Shakespeare could have come up with such a tragedy but who will foot the bill?,” the German diplomat said. His comments come just days after hard-Brexit champion Jacob Rees-Mogg, who attended Eton College and studied at Oxford University, derided a fellow Conservative lawmaker for having graduated from Winchester College during a crunch debate over the country’s withdrawal from the EU.

Roth’s main message on Saturday was an appeal to voters to reject populism in the May European Union Parliament election. He called for a coalition of democrats and pro-Europeans to fight back against nationalist forces on the rise in the bloc.

Theresa May is being advised by constitutional legal experts that she can ask Queen Elizabeth to....

Theresa May is being advised by constitutional legal experts that she can ask Queen Elizabeth to refuse to grant royal assent to (soft) Brexit legislation put forward by Parliament.



(registration required)

But two leading constitutional experts have warned that the government has the right to ask the Queen to refuse to give royal assent to any bill forced on the government by backbenchers.

A paper passed to No 10 yesterday warns that attempts by backbenchers to seize power from the government will “provoke damaging institutional conflict” and “may prompt the government to respond with countermeasures”.

The document, written by Sir Stephen Laws QC, a former first parliamentary counsel — the government’s most senior lawyer on constitutional matters — and Professor Richard Ekins, head of the think tank Policy Exchange’s judicial power project, reads: “The process of royal assent has become a formality, but if legislation would otherwise be passed by an abuse of constitutional process . . . the government might plausibly decide to advise Her Majesty not to assent to the bill” — though it would be preferable for MPs not to force the matter.

Senior government sources said such a nuclear option would be difficult since the Queen is supposed to be above politics. But May’s advisers acknowledged that she is facing an almost impossible situation this week.

Rep. Mo Brooks Quotes Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' To Slam Democrats, Media NBC News

(German) Domestic Intelligence Report Highlights AfD Extremism


January 23, 2019 11:54 AM

When Andreas Kalbitz was elected to represent the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Brandenburg state parliament, he immediately signed a membership application for the "German Parliamentary Society." The venerable club, founded in 1951, is located right next to the Reichstag building in Berlin and is open to all state and federal representatives. Kalbitz enjoys eating lunch in the "PG's" restaurant, where waiters in white livery know that he likes his white wine with extra ice cubes. Sometimes Kalbitz will retire to one of the club's plush salons for private conversations or spend his evenings at the bar in the basement. "Here is a refined parliamentary culture in the style of British clubs," raves Kalbitz, a former paratrooper.

But if you believe Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Kalbitz has no business belonging to a club that, in its own words, strives to promote a culture of "parliamentary collegiality." Kalbitz is suspected of posing a threat to the country's liberal democratic constitution. Just a few days ago, the BfV announced it was looking into initiating surveillance of the party's youth organization, the "Young Alternative." Meanwhile, the agency views the party's ultra-conservative faction, known as "The Wing," with an even greater degree of suspicion.

DER SPIEGEL has obtained a BfV report of more than 400 pages in which the agency does not condemn the AfD as a whole. But its focus on "The Wing" and its leader, Björn Höcke, is a tough blow to the far-right camp. The BfV closely analyzed the "ethno-nationalist ideology" of Höcke, Kalbitz and their like-minded colleagues. The report also makes clear that the intelligence service has run out of patience with AfD leaders Jörg Meuthen and Alexander Gauland's strategy of shirking responsible for the radicals in their party.

Kalbitz himself is a master of ambiguous communication. When he's not out in the marketplaces and taverns, instead finding himself in more dignified surroundings like the parliamentary society, the 46-year-old's tone is much milder. He recently offered a bottle of Crémant to anyone who could find even a single instance of hate speech against Muslims in any of his press releases. He doesn't seem terribly perturbed by the fact that his power base has fallen into the intelligence service's crosshairs. "OK, so I won't be able to live out my subversion fantasies on the phone anymore," he jokes.

Even though this is a few months old, I thought it was important.

This doesn't need a caption (chimpanzee with Virtual Reality headset on)


Women With Axes: Looking Back at World War II 'Lumberjills'


A unit of lumberjills starting off for a day’s work in the woods. Circa 1942. The New York Times

At 7 a.m. on any given day in 1942, as R.A.F. pilots sped back from skirmishes over the English Channel and shopkeepers doubling as Home Guard militia were hanging their tin hats up after the night’s watch, a truck would swing down a British country lane to pick up a crew of women and ferry them deep into the forest.

The women piling into the truck sported berets, bright green sweaters, belted corduroy breeches and coveted badges emblazoned with a fir tree or two crossed axes to indicate they were an elite part of England’s civilian defense efforts: the Women’s Timber Corps, playfully called “lumberjills.”

Coordinated by the Home Grown Timber Production Department, lumberjills were Rosie the Riveter’s counterparts across the Atlantic. Seen here in photographs from The New York Times archives, they harvested timber for telegraph poles, rails for D-Day splashdowns and the pit props that bulwarked vital British coal mines.

While it was the first time that many of the women had hauled logs or stripped branches, it was often not the first time that they had held jobs. Of the 6,000 workers who toiled in the lumber fields at the peak of the corps’ staffing, a good number were “city bred” — former shop assistants, dressmakers and factory workers. The New York Times assured readers, “It has been found more often than not that the girl whose previous knowledge of tree life was often limited to the telegraph post can swing an axe just as efficiently as a farmer’s daughter.”

Please welcome our new host, backtoblue!

I will remain the main group host and littlemisssmartypants is the other host, so we have 3 hosts now. There should always be a host on duty now.

Again, welcome backtoblue and thanks for contributing to the group!


A shooting in the Dutch city of Utrecht left several people injured.

Source: New York Times


A shooting in the Dutch city of Utrecht left several people injured. The authorities said the attack was being investigated as a possible case of terrorism.

Read more: https://twitter.com/nytimes/status/1107600291703259136

Trump's statement to Breitbart about his support (the police, the military, the bikers for Trump)


Trump to Breitbart on how the left plays tough: "I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point and then it would be very bad, very bad."


Trump’s comments came in a wider part of the conversation about how the left is more “vicious” than the right—and that the left in American politics plays “cuter and tougher.”

“So here’s the thing—it’s so terrible what’s happening,” Trump said when asked by Breitbart News Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle about how the left is fighting hard. “You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress … with all this invest[igations]—that’s all they want to do is –you know, they do things that are nasty. Republicans never played this.”

this came from Breitbart, not linking, easy enough to find

Report: EA Paid Ninja $1 Million To Stream Apex Legends


These days, it’s not uncommon to see big companies promote their games by cutting deals with top YouTubers and streamers, but how much does one of those deals cost? In the case of chameleon-haired Twitch king Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, the number could be as high as $1 million.

Citing an anonymous source, Reuters published a report today saying publisher EA paid Ninja $1 million to play Apex Legends and tweet about it the day after the game launched on February 4. Ninja has over 13 million followers on Twitch, meaning that anything he streams will get an astronomical amount of exposure. That said, even by Ninja’s standards, $1 million is a significant chunk of change—in December, he told CNN he makes $500,000 per month and “a lot more” in a “good month.”

Although Kotaku was not able to independently confirm the veracity of Reuters’ report, two people who have worked with Ninja said he was paid $600,000 for one event last year. Those people, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the deal, asked that we not name the event.

When asked for comment, Ninja did not reply, and while EA declined to go into specifics, an EA rep did tell Kotaku that the company had a “multi-part marketing program” for Apex Legends that included “paid engagements with some content creators at the launch of the game as we looked to quickly introduce the game to the world.” However, they said that the paid streams were short-lived; after midday on February 5, the day after release, “all Apex Legends streaming from content creators was completely organic.”
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