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Politics and Economies

It seems utterly bizarre and a major waste of resources given that there is to be a General Election on 8th June that the local government elections already planned for yesterday were not postponed. But they went ahead. Will the results encourage complacency or be a call to action?

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Kudos to Luiz Awazu Pereira da Silva and Előd Takáts at the Bank for International Settlements for breaking ranks with the eternal purveyors of optimism and fake good news that are the normal personalities at Central Banks. For two years before the financial crisis went global, central bankers and treasury department ministers and officials pumped out a steady stream of misleading information and soon after it reached its nadir, they have gone back to using selective data to try to convince us all that it's all OK, really and that the deep seated economic woes faced by much of the developed world are really only isolated, sporadic, minor after shocks. Da Silva and Takáts don't agree and actually use the words "complacency" and "self-delusion." Better still, the recognise the genius of the "unknown unknown" speech of Donald Rumsfeld. Where has the international finance community been hiding these two? Kudos.

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In armed conflict, where innocents are killed or injured as a necessary side-effect of a just attack (sez them), it's termed "collateral damage." In US President Trump's tax plan, criticisms are being centred on the benefits that will flow to people and organisations like Trump and his corporations but they are the recipients of "collateral benefits" from policies that will benefit hundreds of millions of Americans. Here are the facts from an entirely impartial source.

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Socialists in the USA and elsewhere will be getting ready to slash their wrists and there will be millions of bits and bytes spent in haranguing US President Donald Trump for the corporate tax strategy he revealed yesterday. But wait: he's done what everyone should do - he's followed the money and found a way to bring it back on-shore and, therefore, subject to US tax and to be available for domestic investment. Someone, somewhere, has been thinking long and hard and Trump has been listening to those that understand that economics is not about money, it's about people. The plan is not disruptive, it's seismic.

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Since 1997 with the election of the Blair/Brown double act, the UK has increasingly become subjected to presidential-style politics, centralisation of message and a centralised campaign and control that would make Lenin jealous.

Leading that has been the Labour party which has mobilised so-called social media with actual people doing the work that was so effectively performed by e.g. twitterbots in the recent US campaign.

(first published at www.jeffersongalt.com)

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The power of one individual to cause massive disruption by the abuse of a religious slur has been demonstrated by loss of an estimated GBP100,000 in just one month by BATA, Malaysia. It's just the latest in false or ludicrous accusations in the country by a small minority claiming to be protecting Islam and causing division, dissent and a major sense of humour failure.

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We've had the Arab Spring and we've had various anarchist and anti-globalisation, anti-capitalism and even anti-wealth protests around the world in the past ten years but there is a new, culturally valid, development. It would be wrong to call it a movement but there is a discernible trend: protests against corrupt governments. It started in Malaysia with the Bersih movement but it has gained traction when, in South Korea, the demonstrators were highly influential in removing President Park. The latest country to see such protests is Russia. The most fascinating aspect is that the protests are cross-party, combine left and right: they are true people's movements, carefully targeted.

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Part two

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Part 1

Précis

Refresh for updates, most recent first.

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Long before his inauguration, US President-Elect Trump telegraphed a view of ethics and corruption that many consider contrarian. Is the Trump way of doing business to allow tacit approval of under-the-table deals or is it simplifying the legislative regime, putting corruption on the same footing as any other financial crime? There is justification for his abolition of the Rule requiring minerals companies to report large payments to foreign governments: it was under the wrong Act and it didn't go far enough. Perhaps inadvertently, Trump has just set the stage for the first true test of his character. Also, there is another shock that biased reporting has not made clear...

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A Parliamentary Bill in the UK goes through several stages: first the knockabout (if MPs are awake) in the House of Commons. Then it goes to a Committee Stage and then to the House of Lords. Although those bodies cannot, in effect, cancel the Bill, they can send it back to the Commons for various purposes. With cross-party support, the Bill passed with 498 votes to 114. That was closer than many would have liked.

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While much of US President Trump's first days in office have been signing off on relatively easy to accomplish Orders delivering on some campaign promises, his big things remain protectionism and the Mexican Wall. He's found a way to deal with both in one way after Mexico told him that his plans to make them pay for a wall would hit, well, a wall.

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Those who think that the people who brought the action and the Judges who found in favour of the Complainants simply do not understand: if they want to blame someone, blame whoever stuffed up Bill that provided for a Referendum.

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People who turn up at US embassies around the world and want to see the Ambassador are in for a long wait: many ambassadors appointed under Obama have had the call from Trump's people. They said "you've been fired."

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Following on from Part 1 of our analysis of Theresa May's Brexit speech last week, here are the highlights from and comments on the next part of her plan. And how the plan does not reflect the wishes of the people as recorded in the Referendum.

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