Computer hdd

The Biden Emails are Part of a Pattern

Computer hddAs far as October surprises go, this is one for the history books. We can tell it’s a zinger because it’s set off a chain reaction that’s growing larger and harder to control by the hour, while dragging yet more politicians and organisations into its ever expanding field of influence.

Yesterday, the New York Post published what it claims to be emails from a Ukrainian businessman proving that, contrary to his claims, Joe Biden must have discussed the energy company Burisma with his son, and more than just in passing. Not only that, but he also met representatives for that corruption-ridden company in Washington. The fact that Hunter Biden was sitting on the board of Burisma at the time had already stretched the presidential candidate’s claims of ignorance well beyond breaking point. That was before the emails dropped.

What strikes me about this particular story is not the endemic corruption of American political dynasties, but their extraordinary complacency when it comes to data security.

No doubt the accusations and counter-claims will continue to fly across cyberspace, not least because the New York Post also alleges the published emails are just a small sample from many thousands of files copied from a forgotten laptop. You just couldn’t make it up.

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Computer ports

The Immortal Brexit Conspiracy Theory

Computer portsSo now we know. After three years of investigation at huge expense to the taxpayer, the Information Commissioner has found no evidence that Cambridge Analytica and its phantom Russian backers had any significant influence on the Brexit referendum. Now the natural question is how such an obvious conspiracy theory came to be taken seriously by a supposedly well-informed political class in the first place.

In truth, it’s not especially hard to explain the establishment’s irrational behaviour since the Brexit referendum. The endless search for scapegoats and shadowy international players is a helpful distraction from any meaningful introspection.

Whether it’s Russian trolls, social media manipulation or adverts on buses, the search for some explanatory Brexit aberration continues unabated.

While this sudden diversion down Conspiracy Cul-de-sac is a mystery to the average Brexit voter, it makes perfect sense to a large class of people who’ve spent their whole lives exercising political and cultural authority. How else can they explain that authority being rejected in the most spectacular fashion at the very moment it mattered most?

The Cambridge Analytica and Boris Bus controversies are proof positive that our cultural and political establishment have been living in a self-reinforcing bubble for many decades now. As a result of this detachment from our shared reality, a large chunk of the political class remains psychologically unable to grasp that the majority of the electorate sees a very different world to the one they inhabit. After all, if most voters believed the European Union was a net benefit, Britain would simply have voted Remain.

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Empty Chairs

Will Biden Really Share a Stage with Trump?

Empty ChairsI don’t think he will.

With less than a week to go before the first presidential debate, speculation as to how it will turn out is rising to a fever pitch. This isn’t especially unusual as the debates have been the centrepiece of US campaigns for many decades. What makes this debate unusual is that the conversation isn’t about who might win, it’s all about whether Joe Biden can remain coherent throughout, or whether he’ll even turn up at all.

Although the Biden camp dismisses claims of his cognitive decline as conspiracy theories, the instances of verbal fumbles and garbled, meaningless sentences continue to stack up.

Whilst it’s true that a lack of eloquence alone is not evidence of dementia, it’s hard to avoid that conclusion when the Joe Biden from 2012 is compared with the version we have today. This is especially ironic as one of the early manifestations of Trump Derangement Syndrome was a whispering campaign surrounding the 25th Amendment and Trump’s mental fitness for office. It’s hard not to feel a frisson of schadenfreude as Biden’s problems pile up.

Any objective observation of Biden’s behaviour must lead to concerns over his mental health. The former Vice President is showing signs of dementia and everybody knows it, especially his campaign staff. Thus, it doesn’t take a tactical genius to figure out that he’ll be extremely vulnerable in a high-pressure debate environment. Why else would expectations about his performance be so low?

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Puppets

True Colours V

PuppetsOne notable side effect of the Brexit referendum has been to force everyone in public life to show us their true intentions, hence the title of this blog series. If the last four years have achieved nothing else, they have demonstrated beyond any doubt exactly what we’re dealing with both at home and on the Continent.

Publication of the Internal Market Bill this week seems to have shocked many commentators, although it shouldn’t really be a surprise. While the amended Withdrawal Agreement was less egregious following the re-drafting of the hated Irish Backstop, it was still a fudge that couldn’t square the circle of the EU’s internal market and the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement. However, despite its manifest shortcomings, the Withdrawal Agreement served its political purpose and made Brexit a reality.

Anyone who thought the matter of Northern Ireland wouldn’t rear its head again was being extremely na├»ve.

To put it simply, it was never possible to reconcile the EU’s single market requirements with the Good Friday Agreement. The first demands checks at the border while the second makes them illegal.

Both Remainers and Brexiteers have played fast and loose with this inevitable legal paradox when it’s suited their ends. However, from the perspective of having left the EU, the UK’s decision over which treaty to favour is a very simple one.

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Gravestone

The BBC is Doomed

GravestoneWow! That was fast!

When the BBC’s new director-general gave his inaugural speech on September 3, he made it very clear that the era of political activism disguised as journalism was coming to an end, at least in his organisation.

Not surprisingly, this hard-line stance was applauded by pundits and public alike, all of whom are heartily sick of advocates and activists taking potshots from Television Centre, before ducking back behind the corporation’s solid defences of state patronage and a uniquely coercive funding model. For most of us in alternative media it was music to the ears.

The only problem with Tim Davie’s excellent speech was that it meant absolutely nothing.

According to the Telegraph, less than 24 hours after the new DG’s much lauded words were uttered, the BBC had quietly told the most egregious impartiality offenders that they would not in fact be subject to the same conduct rules as the rank and file sweating away on the shop floor.

It would be hard to script a political satire featuring a more blatant example of establishment hypocrisy than this. For all those at W1A who are still scratching their heads over the Brexit vote, the outrageous double standards within your own organisation would be a good place to start looking for answers.

There are two ways in which this situation could have come about. Either Mr Davie made his speech and then quietly let it be known that he didn’t really mean what he’d said, or somebody other than the director-general has given the BBC’s woke warriors the green light to continue doing what the boss has explicitly told them stop doing.

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