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Cryptocrash… November 28, 2018

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I mentioned during the year, I think, that last Christmas I was at a party where I had a long chat with someone heavily involved in cryptocurrencies. This person was reasonably young, living a life where they had limited access to financial resources and it struck me then as remarkable how they were both literally and figuratively investing so much of themselves in what seemed even then to be a shaky concern.

The news that Bitcoin is now at its lowest level in thirteen months and this on a foot of a near enough continual decline since the peaks reached late last year is beginning to lend substance to the idea that the cryptocurrency boom may be fading away with a whimper. And the following contains a good question:

“The crypto bloodbath continues,” said Neil Wilson, the chief market analyst at Markets.com. “Things looks like they only get worse from here. Where is the incentive to buy? It does rather look like the bottom is coming out of this market.”

That’s the key. In a process of decline there’s no incentive to buy (and keep in mind that other cryptocurrencies are in similar situations). The process requires values to be increasing near enough continually.

Mind you, there’s always one late to the party… this from July:

Despite all the bad news, bitcoin still has its believers, including Steve Bannon. In an interview with the New York Times, the former White House strategist said that he has a “good stake” in bitcoin and is interested in working with entrepreneurs and countries interested in creating their own cryptocurrencies. Bannon may also have ambitions to create a currency of his own. Earlier this year, in a meeting at Harvard University, he apparently discussed creating a new digital currency called “deplorables coin”.

But it’s not just about the money…oh no:

Bannon says he isn’t interested in cryptocurrencies solely for the financial potential; he sees decentralized money as a key component of his political mission. Cryptocurrency is “disruptive populism, it takes control back from central authorities”, said Bannon. “It was pretty obvious to me that unless you got somehow control over your currency, all these political movements were going to be beholden to who controlled the currency … control of the currency, is control of everything.”

In a way it’s a wonderful illustration of the utter contradiction bound up in Bannon and his thoughts. The man who argues for ‘nationalism’ wants currencies entirely detached from nations. And not too many working class people have the disposable income to dabble in this sort of thing.

The piece linked to notes that for portions of the alt-right and Neo-Nazism there’s been quite some interest in crypto-currencies… indeed…

In 2014 Andrew Auernheimer, a neo-Nazi who goes by the name “weev”, wrote on his blog: “I heartily encourage you to consider cryptocurrency, including bitcoin.” And in March 2017 Richard Spencer declared on Twitter that “Bitcoin is the currency of the alt-right.”

One can only hope they put their money where their mouth was this last few years and have remained loyal to this vision.

Meanwhile, it keeps dropping.

What you want to say – 28 November 2018 November 28, 2018

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As always, following on Dr. X’s suggestion, it’s all yours, “announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose”, feel free.

Finally… November 27, 2018

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…the point is made that…

…regulatory differences already exists between Northern Ireland and the UK, which have not challenged the constitutional integrity of the UK.

Who has said this?

Speaking during a visit in Belfast, Mrs May said she has had discussions with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on how to build on the significant improvement in relations between the UK and Ireland in recent years.

Long past time.

After those midterms… November 27, 2018

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Interesting point on a Slate.com podcast where Trump was described by LA Times White House reporter Eli Stokals as being shattered by the losses in Congress and the fact that the Republican victories in the Senate were less than those flagged in advance of the contest. And it was suggested that ‘in his head this was a President who felt impervious to political gravity and felt like I have this unique ability to drive a message, control the media and stir people up and it works for me.’ And therefore expected to win. Again this dovetails with a point made on a Politico podcast that Trump has precisely one experience of running for election and therefore his political understanding is limited and indeed constrained by that experience. The problem with a worldview based on that alone is obvious. But then Trump has and has had those around him all too willing to buy into this with remarkably little caution. For example that political genius Steve Bannon had referred to the 2018 middtems as the first re-elect.

And the point was also made that as he took stock of the election and that it was ‘across the board a huge defeat’ particularly in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania even for someone who is ‘pretty good at selecting their own alt-reality’ it wasn’t great. And it was noted he didn’t attend the usual ceremonies at VA day, etc and that this is function of his defeat.

Interestingly Stokals notes an insider is quoted that ‘losing is not good for his brand’, and Stokals made an excellent point that Trumpism is entirely self-contradictory. But this is no contradiction with the idea of him as performative. One final observation was that his rhetorical style is one where he keys in disclaimers – never emphasised but sufficient to allow him an out. Except this is working quite as well as it has.

Nasty, very… November 27, 2018

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Gerard Batten, MEP and leader of UKIP (and under whose ‘leadership’ that party has lost multiple MEPs to resignations over his actions) doubled down last week on the far-right side of things…

Batten, has appointed the anti-lslam activist Tommy Robinson as an official adviser, further cementing the party’s move towards the far right.
Batten said the founder of the far-right activist group the English Defence League, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, would advise him on grooming gangs and prisons.

Now this is the same Yaxley-Lennon who as the Guardian notes:

…has convictions for assault, drugs and public order offences, and has been jailed for mortgage fraud and for using someone else’s passport to travel to the US. He is awaiting a decision on his contempt of court retrial, which was referred last month to the attorney general for review.

And whose activities potentially could have collapsed the trials of the gangs.

Though this is also the same Batten who said this…

UK threatened by Ireland. A tiny country that relies on UK for its existence. We should advise, we are free to revoke common travel area.

Still who says Battens rhetoric is without its impact for this very day one will read that:

Patrick O’Flynn, the former Daily Express journalist who became a Ukip MEP and at one stage was the party’s economic spokesman, has announced that he is leaving the party because of its leader, Gerard Batten’s, support for Tommy Robinson. In a blog explaining his decision O’Flynn says:

And what new political home has he found?

“the resurgent SDP, which campaigned for Brexit during the referendum and espouses broad and moderate pro-nation state political values that I – and I believe many of our voters from 2014 – will be delighted to endorse.”

I’ll bet he’s made the SDPs day. Still better them than UKIP.

That weekend poll… November 27, 2018

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Here’s a point of comparison… the latest RedC/SBP poll this weekend had the following numbers:

FG 34% +1

FF 27% +2

SF 13% -2

LP 6% +1

IND 10% -2

IND ALL 5% +1

GP 3% -1

SD 2% NC

SOL/PBP 0% NC

RENUA 0% NC

Now that’s not radically different to an October SBP/RedC poll that had the following as reported on Adrian Kavanagh’s site and also includes his projections:
The 22nd October 2018 Sunday Business Post-Red C opinion poll estimates party support levels as follows: Fianna Fáil 25% (down 2% relative to the previous Red C opinion poll), Fine Gael 33% (up 1%), Sinn Féin 15% (up 1%), Independents and Others 22% (NC) – including Social Democrats 2%, Green Party 4%, Independents 16% – Labour Party 5% (NC). My constituency-level analysis of these poll figures estimates that party seat levels, should such national support trends be replicated in an actual general election, would be as follows: Fianna Fail 45, Fine Gael 67, Sinn Fein 24, Labour Party 2, Green Party 1, Social Democrats 2, Independents 19.

A bit of a squeeze on Ind/Others, SF down a bit. But it gives a sense of the sort of bands of support the parties and independents have and the sort of numbers we might expect to see.

A question… November 27, 2018

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Does anyone know the source for the stat in the following:

Mr Tóibín previously said that he and other anti-abortion TDs were seeking to speak for “the 34 per cent who voted against the referendum and the 20 per cent of Yes voters who voted only for the difficult cases and not for abortion on request”.

There is the exit poll from RTÉ where:

Voters were also asked to place themselves on a scale representing their views on the availability of abortion, where 0 meant a total ban on abortion and 10 meant you believed abortion should be available to any woman who wants one.
23% put themselves on 0-3 on the scale, meaning they were very anti-abortion; 25% were in the middle, on points 4-6; and 51% were on the pro-choice end of the scale, on points 7-10.

And:

73% were in favour of making abortion available in cases of rape or incest; 71% in cases of fatal foetal abnormality, 67% between 12 and 24 weeks gestation where there was a risk to the health of the woman; but only 52% were in favour of abortion being available on request up to 12 weeks.
Even No voters were in favour of abortion in cases of rape or incest, by 40 to 38%.

Reading that doesn’t seem to support Tóibín’s argument that only 46% of voters were ‘for’ abortion on request.

And is this a line that is being used by the No side to give comfort and solace to themselves in the wake of the referendum?

Patriarchal vote… November 26, 2018

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I’ve canvassed across the decades and never, thankfully, seen the dynamic described here from the US campaign trail by Rebecca Solnit of men controlling women’s vote. And yet given the deep partisan nature of US politics as well as an unhelpful dollop of patriarchal religious fundamentalism can’t say that it entirely surprises me.

Interestingly the issue of postal votes seems to be another aspect of this where the vote takes place in the home rather than at a polling place. That seems to me to be problematic as well. Of course one wants some flexibility in a system, for those who are simply unable to make it to a polling place. But I think the act of voting in a polling place is important as a means of cementing the significance of the democratic process.

Anyone seen the sort of behaviours described in Ireland?

East Wall History Group November Talks November 26, 2018

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Concluding this evening, Monday 26th November @ 8pm :

“Stacking the Coffins: influenza in Dublin , 1918-19.”

The 1918-19 influenza pandemic disrupted Irish society and politics. Records show that over 20,000 people were killed by the pandemic, but it is widely believed that the total number of fatalities was higher, because many deaths went unrecorded . This talk will describe in detail how the disease impacted on Dublin City a century ago, particularly within the densely populated Inner City and Dockland communities.

Guest speaker Ida Milne is the author of the recent “Stacking the Coffins, influenza war and revolution in Ireland 1918-1919” published by Manchester University Press.

See full details here : https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/stacking-the-coffins-influenza-in-dublin-1918-19-tickets-52161597743?aff=ebapi

But what is the alternative? November 26, 2018

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Remarkable, isn’t it, how the DUP cannot articulate an actual alternative plan to the May deal. As the indefatigable Brian Walker on Slugger noted this weekend:

The Guardian’s Politics Live recounts May’s stonewalling when asked about all the above difficult questions.

We’ve heard some politically stonewalling closer home. The DUP are refusing to admit that their political deal with Conservatives is dead and are keen to exploit it to exert pressure for a change of tack when it comes to the “meaningful vote” or votes in a few weeks’ time. On Andrew Marr this morning Arlene Foster repeatedly declined to answer what her favoured Plan B was, while insisting Plan A was unacceptable.

That really isn’t good enough – not when there is something tangible already on the table.

Of course one could chalk it up to the default posture of Unionism, both capital and lower case ‘u’ which is to offer a negative. But this may not be quite the time for that (and having Johnson at their Annual Conference in a sense underscored that too since there is a man who is voluble in terms of articulating what he doesn’t want but curiously shy on the detail of what he does want – the thought arises that in his case when popularity is the key to future position then alienating swathes of people with anything like detail is probably not a great approach – though doubling down on the Scotland/NI bridge doesn’t help either).

Walker has done some fantastic digging, not least the DUP 2014 manifesto which reads as if it were from a parallel universe. It certainly underscores the political opportunism of the path taken subsequently by that party. Sadly in that sense perhaps Johnson was the perfect guest for the conference. For all the bombast neither he nor they were entirely of Brexit – their lifelong, two year old, devotion to it effectively freshly minted as they sought to use the referendum for their own ends and pushed by the dynamics of the result to places that in other contexts they might have avoided. Or perhaps that’s being too kind. We often hear in this polity how SF represents the politics of opposition. But in truth in the DUP we have a vastly better example of same. Even when they’re supporting a Tory government they cannot but push back against it.

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