Faux Cyrillic

Below is a tweet from John Sweeney, a BBC journalist.


That the BBC should be peddling yet more anti-Trump rubbish comes as no surprise.  The reason I have posted it is just to point out that the habit of interspersing Cyrillic letters into English words is extremely annoying for those of us who can read Russian.

Donald Trump and Press Freedom

Much fun was had at Donald Trump’s press conference yesterday when he shut down a CNN loudmouth who appeared to think Trump owed him a favour.  Cue much gnashing of teeth on Twitter about how Trump is endangering the freedom of the press.

Let’s get something straight here.  Freedom of the press means only that a newspaper or other media organ is allowed to operate free of government interference, and can write or say whatever they like subject to the usual caveats regarding defamation and issues of national security.  And that’s it.

Freedom of the press does not mean that certain journalists are entitled to take part in the press conferences of presidents (or president-elects), and demand that the speaker takes their questions.  This is especially true if the media organ in question – in this case CNN – chose to abandon all pretence to journalistic integrity and openly side with one Presidential candidate over another during the election.

Donald Trump owes the mainstream media absolutely nothing, and is no more obliged to grant them access to his press conferences or answer their questions than he is to me in my role of a blogger.  True, it would be better if a US President or President-elect does hold press conferences such that the people can be better informed, but the media has utterly abused its privileges in this regard for so long that allowing it to continue in its current form would be tantamount to a conspiracy to mislead the public.

I hope Trump kicks out or ignores those news organisations which have proven themselves to be staffed by partisan hacks openly campaigning for the Democrats, and gives preferential treatment to those who at least pretend to be informing the public in an impartial manner.  If no such organisations exist, then perhaps it is time to get rid of the White House press conferences and let Trump stick to using Twitter.

Either way, unless Trump is attempting to shut newspapers down or severely restrict what they can print (as we in the UK seem to be doing with barely a whimper), then complaints of press freedom being under attack are utterly baseless and should be ignored.

A BBC Eulogy for Obama

It comes as absolutely no surprise that the BBC’s correspondent in New York should write a fawning piece about Barack Obama’s “legacy” regarding race relations, but it’s worth taking a look anyway.

Barack Obama sealed his racial legacy the moment he sealed victory in the 2008 election – a black man would occupy a White House built by slaves, a history-defying as well as history-making achievement.

On this point I am in agreement: the election of a black man to the office of the US President was indeed hugely symbolic, and in some ways very important.  On that basis alone, Obama’s Presidency will go down in history.

In 1961, the year of Obama’s birth, there existed in the American South a system of racial apartheid that separated the races from the cradle to the grave.

In some states, his very conception – involving an African father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas – would have been a criminal offence.

Thus demonstrating that governments can and do get things catastrophically wrong when they adopt policies based on race.  Some of us believe governments should therefore refrain from doing so altogether, but alas we appear to be in the minority.

Little more than half a century later, a black man ran the White House – occupying the Oval Office, sitting at the head of the conference table in the Situation Room, relaxing with his beautiful young family in the Executive Mansion – a family that has brought such grace and glamour to America’s sleepy capital that it is possible to speak of a Black Camelot.

America’s sleepy capital that has a murder rate of 60 per 100,000 population, a rate of forcible rape of 53.4, and is the 13th most dangerous city in which to live and work in the US.  I’ll come to the “grace and glamour” bit in a minute.

In legacy terms, his very presence in the White House is one of the great intangibles of his presidency. Just how many black Americans have been encouraged to surmount colour bars of their own? Just how many young African-Americans have altered the trajectory of their lives because of the example set by Obama?

To the nearest approximation?  None.

And behaviourally, what an example it has been. Because of the lingering racism in American society, the Obamas doubtless knew they would have to reach a higher standard, and they have done so, seemingly, without breaking a sweat.

I agree with the author that Obama has barely broken a sweat during his Presidency, save perhaps when he was playing golf instead of addressing crises of national importance.  That’s half the problem: he seemed to think attaining office was the job.  But the idea that “lingering racism” propelled the Obamas to set higher standards raises a few questions.  Such as “What standards?”

In deportment and personal conduct, it is hard to recall a more impressive or well-rounded First Family.

Well, judgements as to a family’s deportment and personal conduct are best made by those closest to them, not sycophantic journalists who receive only carefully arranged photoshoots, pre-written speeches, and filtered information.  Let’s wait until the Obamas are gone from the White House, their contemporaries retire, and the memoirs begin to appear.  Taking part in Carpool Karaoke and making saccharine speeches when the cameras are rolling doesn’t tell us much; how Michelle treated the kitchen staff will.  And insofar as class and grace is concerned, didn’t George W. Bush and his wife exemplify that as a First Family?  Leaving his policies aside – as we are with Obama on this point – Bush was unfailingly polite and dignified and I don’t think anyone had a bad word to say about him as a person, nor his wife.

The “when they go low, we go high” approach to racists who questioned his citizenship has made the Obamas look even more classy.

“When they go low, we go high” was not an approach with which the Obama’s dealt with racists, it was what Michelle Obama used as a rallying cry during her campaigning for Hillary, only for her husband to prove the exact opposite when his policies were roundly rejected by the electorate a short time later.  If I know this, why doesn’t the BBC correspondent in New York?

Also, why is it racist to question Obama’s citizenship?  Look, I don’t subscribe to the whole “birther” thing, but if there are certain criteria which must be met when running for President of the USA, then why is it wrong to ensure a candidate is legible?  One would have thought there would be a US governmental body that ensures a candidate’s eligibility as a matter of course, but apparently there isn’t hence speculation abounds.  This is something that needs fixing a lot more urgently than the Electoral College.

His family’s dignity in the face of such ugliness recalls the poise of black sit-in protesters in the early 60s, who refused to relinquish their seats…

Indeed, Obama does come across as somebody extremely reluctant to relinquish his seat.  Even if we take the reporter’s comments about Obama’s dignity in power at face value, what about during the transition and afterwards?  At the rate he’s going, and if he and his wife don’t learn to stop carping from the sidelines, his family are going to look about as dignified and classy as the Kardashians before too long.

America’s racial problems have not melted away merely because Obama has spent eight years in the White House. Far from it.

Well yes.  We did notice.

Indeed, the insurmountable problem for Obama was that he reached the mountaintop on day one of his presidency.

As I said: attaining power was the job.  Obama knew everything about getting elected and nothing about governance.  He didn’t even seem interested in it.

Achieving anything on the racial front that surpassed becoming the country’s first black president was always going to be daunting.

True.  But not making things worse should have been achievable.

Compounding that problem were the unrealistically high expectations surrounding his presidency.

Expectations based on empty “hope and change” promises made during his campaign.

His election triumph is 2008 was also misinterpreted as an act of national atonement for the original sin of slavery and the stain of segregation.

Ah, so you mean it wasn’t as symbolic as everyone made out?

Yet Obama did not win the election because he was a black man.

Indeed.  And Hillary didn’t lose because she was a woman.

Doubtless there have been substantive reforms. His two black attorneys general, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, have revitalised the work of the justice department’s civil rights division, which was dormant during the Bush years.

Those Bush years which were presumably full of civil rights abuses, race riots, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement?

The Affordable Healthcare Act, or Obamacare, as it was inevitably dubbed, cut the black uninsured rate by a third.

Because healthcare policies are best judged in terms of race.

Partly in a bid to reverse the rate of black incarceration, he has commuted the sentences of hundreds of prisoners – 10 times the number of his five predecessors added together.

He’s helped black people by releasing black criminals back into their communities at unprecedented rates.  This is apparently something America’s first black President should be praised for.

As well as calling for the closure of private prisons, he became the first president to visit a federal penitentiary. “There but for the grace of God,” said a man who had smoked pot and dabbled with cocaine in his youth.

Thus reinforcing the belief that the American justice system is so stacked against black men that only good luck can keep them out of prison.  Again, this is something we are supposed to be praising.

Race relations have arguably become more polarised and tenser since 20 January 2009.

Arguably?

Though smaller in scale and scope, the demonstrations sparked by police shootings of unarmed black men were reminiscent of the turbulence of the 1960s.

Indeed, we need to go back 50 years before we see a country so fraught with racial tensions as today’s America.

The toxic cloud from the tear gas unleashed in Ferguson and elsewhere cast a long and sometimes overwhelming shadow. Not since the LA riots in 1992 – the violent response to the beating of Rodney King and the later acquittal of the police officers filmed assaulting him – has the sense of black grievance and outrage been so raw.

Historians will surely be struck by what looks like an anomaly, that the Obama years gave rise to a movement called Black Lives Matter.

Alternatively, historians might be cruel enough to identify a direct link between Obama’s words and actions and the increase in race-related violence in America during his time in charge.

Public opinion surveys highlight this racial restlessness. Not long after he took office in 2009, a New York Times/CBS News poll suggested two-thirds of Americans regarded race relations as generally good. In the midst of last summer’s racial turbulence, that poll found there had been a complete reversal. Now 69% of Americans assessed race relations to be mostly bad.

The title of this piece is “Barack Obama legacy: Did he improve US race relations?”  He got there in the end, but I think that question has now been answered.

An oft-heard criticism of Obama is that he has failed to bring his great rhetorical skills to bear on the American dilemma, and prioritised the LGBT community’s campaign for equality at the expense of the ongoing black struggle.

Another oft-heard criticism is that pandering to “victim” groups and dabbling in identity politics is pretty much all he ever did.

But while he was happy to cloak himself in the mantle of America’s first black president, he did not set out to pursue a black presidency. He did not want his years in office to be defined by his skin colour.

Strange, considering that’s all he and his supporters ever talked about.

His famed race speech in the 2008 primary campaign, when his friendship with a fiery black preacher threatened to derail his candidacy, was as much about his white heritage as his black.

A white heritage that he wheeled out when it suited him and never mentioned it again.

Besides, there were pressing problems to deal with, not least rescuing the American economy in the midst of the Great Recession and extricating US forces from two long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

How did that withdrawal from Iraq go in the end?

Rather in those early years, it was as if he was trying to position himself as a neutral arbiter in racial matters, though one sensed his preference was for not intervening at all.

As his presidency went on, however, it became more emphatically black. He spoke out more passionately and more intimately.

And by sheer coincidence, race relations plummeted to their lowest levels in half a century.

Telling reporters that his son would have looked like Trayvon Martin, the unarmed high school student shot dead in Florida by a neighbourhood watch coordinator, was a departure.

Ah yes, taking sides in the middle of an ongoing investigation and attempting to influence the outcome.  That was a departure, all right.

But that month Donald Trump had also announced his improbable bid for the White House, and the forces of conservatism were starting to rally behind an outspoken new figurehead, who sensed that nativism, xenophobia and fear of the other would be central to his electoral appeal.

He also sensed people were fed up with Obama and his politics.

That America’s first black president will be followed by the untitled leader of the Birther movement, a candidate slow to disavow support from the Ku Klux Klan and happy to receive the backing of white nationalists,

Trump was slow to disavow support from the KKK?  As Wikipedia would say: citation needed.  You might as well claim Obama was slow to disavow support from the Black Panthers.

Donald Trump can easily be portrayed as a personal repudiation and also proof of racial regression.

True, but not as easily as somebody who has seen race relations deteriorate over eight years in charge while he relentlessly pursued race-based policies.

The truth, though, is more complicated.

Yes, it is, isn’t it?

Obama is ending his presidency with some of his highest personal approval ratings, and clearly believes he would have beaten Trump in a head-to-head contest.

And Connor McGregor thinks he could beat Floyd Mayweather.

Moreover, although Trump won decisively in the electoral college, almost three million people more voted for Hillary Clinton nationwide.

“Nationwide” meaning “mostly in California”.

But the black writer Ta-Nehisi Coates makes a persuasive case that Obama has always been overly optimistic on race, in large part because he did not have a conventional black upbringing.

His formative years were spent in Hawaii, America’s most racially integrated state, and the whites he encountered, namely his mother and grandparents, were doting and loving.

Obama was not the victim of discrimination in the same way as a black kid growing up in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, or even New York or Illinois. As a result, he may have underestimated the forces that would seek to paralyse his presidency and to impede racial advance more broadly.

Indeed, that’s why so many people saw his visiting prisons and saying “There but for the grace of God”, and claiming Trayvon Martin could have been his son, as empty political posturing which only inflamed racial tensions.

Indeed, Trump’s victory, messy though it was, can easily be viewed partly as a “whitelash”.

Much of his earliest and strongest support came from so-called white nationalists, who saw in his candidacy the chance to reassert white cultural and racial dominance. Some of the loudest cheers at his rallies came in response his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim invectives.

Why, it’s almost as if eight years of racial politics under Obama has ushered in a new era of…racial politics.  There’s Obama’s legacy right there: getting white people to vote along racial lines.  Well done, Barack!

The BBC spends part of its £3.5bn tax on British owners of televisions to pay for reporters to sit in New York and pen articles like this.  Worth every penny, I’m sure.

Fracking Idiots

Via Tim Worstall, The Daily Telegraph dishes up some quality journalism on the subject of fracking:

Plans are being made for fracking to take place under Sherwood Forest where an ancient oak stands where according to legend Robin Hood and his merry men rested.

Ineos, one of the world’s biggest chemicals company, is poised to start looking for gas under Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, in a move which could lead to it seeking permission to frack the area.

So are plans being made to start fracking, or is Ineos looking for gas?  Which is it?

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

The Government has committed to fast tracking permissions for exploratory work amid forecasts that trillions of cubic feet of shale gas may be recoverable from underneath parts of the UK.

Fracking is not the same as exploratory work, which takes the form (at this stage) of seismic surveys which do not involve drilling.

Documents show Ineos – via their land surveyors, Fisher German – have been in correspondence with the Forestry Commission since August 2016, regarding access to their land.

Access in order to drill?  No.

If these plans progress, Ineos’ seismic surveys would pass within a few hundred yards of the Major Oak, a 1,000-year-old tree near the village of Edwinstowe.

Pass within?  These people have no idea what form a seismic survey takes, do they?

According to local folklore, it was Robin Hood’s shelter where he and his merry men slept and hid from the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 15th century.

In a 2002 survey, it was voted “Britain’s favourite tree”.

Information The Daily Telegraph considers more important to impart to its readers than the differences between carrying out a seismic survey and drilling a well.

Guy Shrubsole, a Friends of the Earth campaigner, said: “Is nothing sacred? By hunting for shale gas in Sherwood Forest, Ineos is sticking two fingers up at England’s green heritage, all in the pursuit of profit.

“The public wants to protect their English countryside and prefers renewable energy, not dirty shale gas, which will only add to climate change.”

And on the last day of 2016 a self-appointed expert declared what the public wanted, a practice which hitherto seemed doomed following high-level episodes of catastrophic wrongness regarding Brexit and Donald Trump.

Ineos confirmed that it was looking to start work in Sherwood Forest but insisted that great care would be taken to protect the Major Oak.

Tom Pickering, Ineos’s Shale operations director, said: “Any decision to position a well site will take into account environmental features such as the Major Oak and the planning process would also consider those issues.”

No decision on fracking under Sherwood Forest had yet been taken, he said, adding that Ineos would “undertake an extensive exploratory programme of seismic data acquisition across our wider licence area to better understand the subsurface geology including the fracture systems”.

Asked how Ineos would protect the trees of Sherwood Forest, Mr Pickering added: “When we do drill a vertical ‘coring’ well in the area, there are many general and specific environmental protections in place and we will of course abide by them.”

There was a time when journalists asked difficult questions that forced companies to reveal information that had hitherto been kept hidden.  Nowadays, journalists ask questions which can be answered by a cursory ready of a company’s website.

Shock as World Learns Rex Tillerson is an Oil Company Executive!

This is amusing:

Leak reveals Rex Tillerson was director of Bahamas-based US-Russian oil firm

screams The Guardian.

Rex Tillerson, the businessman nominated by Donald Trump to be the next US secretary of state, was the long-time director of a US-Russian oil firm based in the tax haven of the Bahamas, leaked documents show.

Tillerson – the chief executive of ExxonMobil – became a director of the oil company’s Russian subsidiary, Exxon Neftegas, in 1998. His name – RW Tillerson – appears next to other officers who are based at Houston, Texas; Moscow; and Sakhalin, in Russia’s far east.

I’m not sure what the issue is here.  Presumably the dolts at The Guardian had never heard of ExxonNeftegas, unlike pretty much everyone else in the oil industry who pays attention, and thinks it is some sort of shady shell-company set up to launder Putin’s personal cash float, or something.  The reality is a lot less interesting: ExxonNeftegas is merely the consortium set up to operate the Sakhalin I project, as its website tells us:

Sakhalin-1 is comprised of Russian, Japanese, Indian and American participants and is operated by Exxon Neftegas Limited, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil — the world’s largest non-governmental oil and gas company.

Anyone who has spent time in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk would have seen the ExxonNeftegas building on the corner of Prospekts Mira and Kommunistichesky, and they would have encountered lots of young Russians employed by the firm each of whom had a business card with the company name and Sakhalin-1 logo printed on it.  (They may also have encountered a Canadian with more air miles under her belt than Voyager 2.  Let’s see if she’s reading this.)  Secretive it is not.

Maybe The Guardian takes issue with the fact that the information regarding Tillerson’s directorship of ExxonNeftegas had to be leaked for them to find out.  And they would have a point, were ExxonMobil not silly enough to include such top-secret information on their corporate website:

But as The Guardian tells us:

Though there is nothing untoward about this directorship, it has not been reported before and is likely to raise fresh questions over Tillerson’s relationship with Russia ahead of a potentially stormy confirmation hearing by the US senate foreign relations committee.

There is nothing untoward about this directorship, but as Guardian journalists didn’t know about it then it’s a scandal worthy of a newspaper column.

ExxonMobil’s use of offshore regimes – while legal – may also jar with Trump’s avowal to put “America first”.

Fair point, but it might be a bit of a stretch to complain that ExxonMobil isn’t insisting its Russian operations are headquartered in the United States.  The company’s registration in the Bahamas is probably new information to most: I knew about it because I have signed contracts with ExxonNeftegas Limited and their corporate address is stated in them (along with a stipulation that any arbitration will be heard in the courts of New York).  The incorporation in the Bahamas may seem odd, but it is not unusual.

ExxonNeftegas’ counterpart in that corner of Russia is Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (SEIC), which is the operator of the Sakhalin II project.  SEIC is registered in Bermuda, probably for much the same reasons ExxonNeftegas is incorporated in the Bahamas.  SEIC has been majority owned by Gazprom, the government-owned gas company, since 2007.  If there was anything untoward in these consortia being registered outside the Russian Federation on balmy island tax havens, the Russian government would likely have done something about SEIC by now given they have had control of the company for the past 9 years.  That they haven’t suggests there is nothing illegal or improper going on.  As The Guardian reports:

[ExxonMobil] said the oil firm had incorporated some of its affiliates in the Bahamas because of “simplicity and predictability”.

“It is not done to reduce tax in the country where the company operates,” Exxon said. “Incorporation of a company in the Bahamas does not decrease ExxonMobil’s tax liability in the country where the entity generates its income.”

Indeed.  Only among Guardian readers is this a story.

ExxonMobil is doomed, says the NYT

Exxon’s Next Chief Will Lead a Weakened Empire

The New York Times confidently tells us.

With Saudi Aramco hoping to take over as the world’s biggest listed oil group and rival Shell coming up fast, Exxon’s days as Big Oil’s unparalleled heavyweight are numbered.

Hmmm.  Let’s see the details of Saudi Aramco’s IPO and let it actually take place before we start writing off ExxonMobil, shall we?  Are the reserves up for sale, for instance?

And Shell?  On what measure are they catching up fast?  Sure, their purchase of BG for a vastly inflated $70bn makes them the largest gas player, but 2015 saw them make $1.94bn profit against revenues of $265bn whereas ExxonMobil made $16.2bn from revenues of $259.5bn.  ExxonMobil’s return on capital employed was 7.9%, Shell’s 1.9%.  Granted, Shell employs 93,000 people and ExxonMobil a mere 73,500 but only people who get their information from the New York Times would see that as a good thing.

Shell is a sprawling behemoth which still needs to undergo some serious restructuring, and doesn’t seem to have much of a strategy other than to become the world’s biggest oil company by biting off more than it can chew.  ExxonMobil, for all its size, remains a tightly-run ship.

The company’s market cap of around $380 billion is not much changed from a decade ago, and could soon be dwarfed by the state-owned Aramco, which analysts estimate could be worth up to $1 trillion if it goes ahead with an expected 2018 initial public offering.

Sure.  But Aramco is being forced into this IPO because despite sitting on top of the world’s largest oil reserves they are woefully short of working capital.  The privatised company might be larger than ExxonMobil, but we should remember that British Leyland was larger than Volkswagen.

Shell — now valued at more than $200 billion thanks to its 2015 acquisition of BG Group — may produce more barrels than Exxon by 2019.

Production is king?  What is this, 2012?  Perhaps the journos at the NYT have been left off the mailing list, but the majors stopped chasing production targets and switched to CAPEX reduction and profitability shortly after the oil price tanked in 2014.

Shell’s leader, Ben van Beurden, also wants to beat his larger rival in terms of total shareholder return.

Yes, we know Shell wants to “beat” ExxonMobil – that’s been their goal for years, although Lord knows why – but they’ve never been able to quite manage it.  What’s different now?

The good news for Mr. Woods is that Exxon still dominates in one key respect: return on average capital employed.

Over the last five years, Exxon’s return on that measure has bested Shell’s by nearly 7 percentage points on average. That is one imperial feature that will take time to erode.

Well yes, that is good news, isn’t it?  One is permitted to ask why the NYT is giving equal weight to the egotistical dreams of the Shell CEO versus ExxonMobil’s vastly superior financial performance.

Because those at the NYT are clueless and  don’t like ExxonMobil, that’s why.

Beautiful People, Ugly Story

Once again I’ll qualify this post by stating that I don’t endorse every post that appears at Château Heartiste, and his comments section is rather too full of Jew-hatred for my liking, but he makes a good observation here:

Something I’ve noticed, and which has been increasingly evident of late, is the leftoid legacy media’s penchant for leading off their lifestyle and culture stories with un-captioned and unidentified stock photos of attractive people intended to mislead readers into assuming the photo is of the author[s] or of the people covered in the article.

The example CH links to is a piece showing romantic love between siblings in a positive light.  Incest, basically.  Here is the photo used to illustrate the article:

Now do you really believe that photo is of 40 year old “Melissa” and her 45 year old brother “Brian”?  Probably not, but anyone reading the article would have their initial take skewed by that image, which is the intention of course.  Roissy puts it a little more bluntly than that:

This stock photo snow job is legacy media SOP now, and the purpose is to fool the reader about the ugliness of the author[s] or of the people interviewed for the article, for if readers fully grasped that almost all feminist-friendly and shitlib-gratifying culture and lifestyle stories were written by warpigs, about warpigs, then there might be fewer credulous readers lapping up the legacy media’s runny gruel.

Polyamory stories are a classic case of the stock photo snow job, in which one will often see a good-looking couple at the header of the article, only to discover upon further investigation that the featured polyamorists are all physically as well as mentally repulsive.

You’ll find once you are aware of this practice you’ll start seeing it everywhere.

One Pair of Trousers, Two Women, No Surprise

Apparently Theresa May’s trousers are causing people to pass remarks:

It’s just over a fortnight since Theresa May gave an “at home” interview to the Sunday Times, telling the paper about her childhood and explaining how Brexit keeps her awake at night. But it was her choice of trousers – which cost a reported £995 – that provoked most discussion.

“I don’t have leather trousers. I don’t think I’ve ever spent that much on anything apart from my wedding dress,” former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan told The Times, adding that the trousers had been “noticed and discussed” in Tory circles.

Great.  We’ve been battered over the head for the past decade by relentless campaigns telling us that women deserve the same respect, pay, and opportunities as men and holding open doors is sexist hence all-female shortlists are necessary and glass ceilings must be smashed, etc.  Yet here we have a female MP publicly criticising another’s woman’s wardrobe choices.

There is a school of thought out there that says that women cannot but help themselves from fighting like ferrets in a sack, and even attaining senior corporate positions or high office doesn’t stop them from indulging in petty sniping at one another as if they were still in school.  This latest episode is hardly going to prove them wrong, is it?

But the story, inevitably by now dubbed “trousergate”, was not going away, and at the weekend the Mail on Sunday revealed a terse exchange of text messages involving Mrs Morgan and the PM’s joint chief of staff, Fiona Hill.

Two middle-aged women engaged in a text-spat over another woman’s trousers?  The Patriarchy is kind of redundant at the moment, isn’t it?

While the Amanda Wakeley-designed “bitter chocolate” clothing has made the headlines, the spat plays into a wider row, largely about Brexit.

Mrs Morgan, who was sacked as education secretary by the PM when she took over in Number 10, has been vocal in calling on the government to set out details of its EU exit strategy, despite its refusal to offer a “running commentary”.

Well, yes.  Rather than deal with the main issue at hand, Woman A has taken to making snide remarks about Woman B’s clothing.  Hands up those who are surprised at this?

I’ve said it before: the biggest enemy of a smart, ambitious, professional woman is another smart, ambitious, professional woman.  How many male MPs made public comments about May’s trousers?  Those who are forever ramming diversity policies down our throats and forcing corporations to shoe-horn women into ever more senior positions might want to stop and think about this for a minute.

Newsflash: Counterfeit Goods are Cheap!

Either I am being dense, or the BBC is:

The man who sparked outrage last year by hiking the price of a life-saving drug may have met his match in some Australian schoolboys.

US executive Martin Shkreli became a symbol of greed when he raised the price of a tablet of Daraprim from $13.50 (£11) to $750.

Now, Sydney school students have recreated the drug’s key ingredient for just $20.

The Sydney Grammar boys, all 17, synthesised the active ingredient, pyrimethamine, in their school science laboratory.

“It wasn’t terribly hard but that’s really the point, I think, because we’re high school students,” one boy, Charles Jameson, told the BBC.

The students produced 3.7 grams of pyrimethamine for $20. In the US, the same quantity would cost up to $110,000.

The issue was never how expensive it is to make the drug, it was who held the license to make it and sell it in the US.

Mr Shkreli, also known as “Pharma Bro”, was chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals when it acquired exclusive rights to Daraprim.

Clearly some people don’t realise this:

Dr Alice Williamson, a University of Sydney research chemist, supported the boys’ project through online platform Open Source Malaria.

“They’ve transformed starter material that’s worth pennies into something that has a real monetary value in the States,” she told the BBC.

No, their product has no monetary value in the States.  Let them try to sell it over there and see what happens.

“If you can obtain it cheaply in schools, then there’s no excuse for charging that much money for a drug. Especially from people that really need it and probably can’t afford to pay for it.”

Dr Williamson called the pricing in the US “ludicrous”.

We have a chemist working in research at a university who thinks the price of drugs is driven by the cost of the ingredients, and shit turned out in a school lab is the same as that certified for distribution in the US by the FDA.

Next up from the BBC: Chinese students make a Louis Vuitton bag for $10, undercutting the flagship store on the Champs-Élysées by $490.  Praise all ’round.