Good morning, and now the news…Hopelessly unable to reach a compromise, the Brits remain deadlocked on the Brexit issue, with at least one conservative MP resigning his position in frustration while all of the EU and the UK continue to wonder what chaos will follow should Britain “crash out” of the European Union. Venezuelan strongman, Nicolas Maduro, has appointed someone named “Igor” to take over what Maduro calls the country’s “war on electricity.” (Think Young Frankenstein.) No word yet on how much influence Russian advisers who are now on the ground in Venezuela (as opposed to floating slightly above it), might have had on Maduro’s decision. Here in the U.S., Donald Trump says the GOP will delay implementing its new health plan he has been promising (it’s a secret, apparently) until after the 2020 election while he complains that Puerto Ricans in need of assistance would be stealing money from Americans, apparently forgetting that Puerto Rico is part of America. (Think pathological liar, malignant sociopath and big dummy.) The only sign of political sanity comes from Ankara, Turkey, of all places, where President Erdogan’s semi-fascist party (those who disagree with him are thrown in prison) appears to be losing in the polls. And finally, agriculture experts predict we will run out of avocados in three weeks time, should Donald follow through with his snit-fit promise to close the border with Mexico potentially costing both Mexico and the U.S. billions in lost trade. In Toronto, proving the world may actually be spinning off its axis, the Baltimore Orioles winning streak continues. The Orioles, last year’s worst team in American baseball, are now three and one, having taken two games from the Yankees in a three game series and then winning yesterday’s first game against the Toronto Bluejays. Gotta love those O’s. And that’s the real news, nothing fake about it, so you can now turn off MSNBC and FOX for the rest of the day. As for me, I’m going back to bed. Wake me when it’s over. Or by seven, when the Orioles play their next game in the series up in Toronto. If we last that long.
The Brits are all agog about Theresa May surviving a no-confidence vote by her conservative party in the midst of the continuing fight over Brexit. And they should be It’s a big deal. It means they won’t have to go through the pain of choosing a new Prime Minister. However, with a vote of 200 for May and 117 against, she is still anything but popular within the ranks of her own party. It’s also a sign that the British Government is as chaotic or perhaps even more chaotic than the U.S. Government under Donald J. Trump.
What I cannot understand, is the absolute absence of any discussion about the degree to which the Russians might have influenced the original Brexit vote. A referendum which, a great many British now regret. Hence, the chaos.
A report, commissioned by Democrats on the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committee some months ago, points to concerns about possible Russian influence over Brexit, as British finance laws have loopholes allowing non-British companies to funnel money into British politics without being detected. According to a piece in The Guardian, “This opacity,…may have enabled Russian-related money to be directed with insufficient scrutiny to various UK political actors………Investigative journalists have also raised questions about the sources of sudden and possibly illicit wealth that may have been directed to support the Brexit ‘Leave’ campaign.”
Whether Russian money found its way into the hands of Brexit supporters or not, it’s fascinating that the United States has a similar problem following the Supreme Court’s decision in the “Citizens United” case, which also allows the flow of “dark money” into our political arena. So, who really knows what the Russians may or many not be up to?
All we do know is that the U.K. and the U.S. are in political chaos, with a President in the United States who appears to be a lap dog for Vladimir Putin and British politicians who have forgotten that the Russians may have had a hand, or may still have a hand in the whole Brexit mess, which is spilling over into the rest of Europe.
Sounds like the ingredients for a counter-intelligence board game or possibly something Russian intelligence dreamed up to throw the world’s democracies into chaos. However, I wouldn’t dare suggest that. I don’t want anybody calling me a conspiracy theory nut.
With all this going on one wonders how much time President Trump, who seems to be into Vladimir Putin to the point of bromantic adoration, has invested in seeing to it that our political process is protected from Russian hacking as another election approaches? He hasn’t said a word about it, has he? Not lately, anyway.
Not to worry though. President Puffery is going after that border wall thing with a vengeance. That’s at least as important as the security of our electoral process or the stability of European democracies.
Well, they did it. The Brits dropped out of the evolving world and went all isolationist on us. They voted for regresssion rather than progression. And now the tv-talkers are threatening us with financial ruin. Our pensions they say, are probably in jeopardy although they really don’t know. It’s fun to talk about it though, isn’t it? Gives all the old folks palpatations as we again face the instability of an uncertain future.
The Brits have forced the world to abandon the devil they knew. The lynchpin has been pulled. As with the Bush/Cheney Administration, fear has significantly lowered the bar, pushing us once again up against the time-tested axiom that throwing a big enough scare into people will clear the way for tyrants and greedfreaks to do damn near anything they want.
I awoke today with the distinct feeling that we should all be grateful that the “Brexit” occured at the end of the week, as it will give the bug-eyed greedfreak traders a full two days to calm down. Without the weekend to catch their collective breath while falling into an alcohol-induced stupor, they just might have wrecked the world’s economy. Again. And they still might.
I’m still wondering where all those billions of pounds went. Where does that much money go? Can’t fit that much cash under the mattress. Some island maybe?
Perhaps the most interesting facet of this latest great-quake on the historical landscape is speculation that what happened to the Brits, is about to happen to us here in the United States. Even without a Muslim being elected Mayor of New York City. Not that Sadiq Kahn being elected Mayor of London had anything to do with the Brexit gaining momentum. At least nobody’s talking about it. Wouldn’t be PC.
The British elites, it is argued, were so out of touch with the masses that they couldn’t see it coming. Couldn’t even imagine it. But there it was.
Here, instead of Boris Johnson, we have Donald Trump, and like the UK, we are a nation filled with anger and frustration and a very real division between those who are doing well and those who are not. It feels as though those who are doing well don’t necessarily get it on this side of the pond, either. Or they don’t care, particularly those who subscribe to the economic philosophy of “boom and bust,” which some believe is a cycle we are destined to endure regardless of our wants and needs. It’s an idea I particularly detest as it dictates that we are, and always will be, unable to overcome our lust for money. Our need for greed. An inability to overcome some of our worst instincts as a species.
But I’m getting in way over my head. One might as well hope for the British to roll back the will of the people, someow keeping the UK in the EU. That would require a denial of the democratic process and they can’t do that. So I have a solution. Since Britain is a monarchy, let the Queen decide. She could issue a Royal Decree overriding English statutory law with a command that the Brexit be reversed, which would probably lead to a popular uprising. The royal family would in all likelihood eventually be overthrown but through all the confusion the UK would stay in the EU, the traders would sober up and calm down, and our pensions would no longer be threatened.
Of course none of this is going to happen, so we remain basically screwed, at least over the short-term, and by short I mean for the next several years as those who are supposed to know say that’s how long it will take for this Brexit mess to sort itself out.
Could the Brexit possibly represent the principle that led the founders to put so much faith in the electoral college as opposed to letting the people decide an issue through the employent of pure democracy?
God bless us everyone. We are going to need it. Except for the doomed masses those at the top fail to understand. Those poor souls who have given up on finding a decent-paying job, who can’t afford college or decent food, who worry about their pensions and healthcare running out and see a flood of immigrants from war-torn countries only making matters worse. Those poor souls who feel they have almost nothing left to lose. Like the Brits who voted to leave the EU. They just might get through this crazy Brexit journey in better shape than when they started.
Most Americans, thanks to the sad state of our cultural desire not to look beyond our shores until someone begins flying jets into our skyscrapers or slaughtering people with assault rifles in public venues, probably have no idea what the “Brexit” is, or that it’s even going on. But it is. And it’s important. And there are reasons we should all be paying attention.
There’s an amazing thing going on over in the UK, which includes England, the country we fought in our Revolutionary War so that we could break away from the tyranny of the mother country from whence our first settlers arrived.
They came here of course, at risk of life and limb, so that they could decide matters for themselves, free of the English yoke, or as a gang of Massachusettes Yankees called it, “Taxation without representation.” We’d have none of that. No, our founders, God bless them, decided it would be better to fight to the death on their feet than to live on their knees while taking orders from the British Empire, which wanted us only for the profits they could take from our sweat, toil and soil. So our anchestors fought, and with the help of Washington, LaFayette and France, we won. So stop your bitching about the French. They are our oldest ally and we owe them our very existence. Because of their assistance, the United States of America, a Republic, was born.
Now, some 240 years later, our legislative process and position in the world relative to Britain’s legislative process and position in the world, is most interesting to ponder.
The Brits, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, are about to vote in a national referendum with regard to whether the people of the United Kingdom (also known as Britain) want to leave or remain in the European Union. In a move that is pure Democracy, those who live in the UK are being given the opportunity to tell their political leaders what they the people, want to do. This is a big deal. A wrong decision could spell economic disaster for the UK, and much of the world. As in 2008, if the UK leaves the EU, some are predicting it could all come tumbling down again, throwing world markets into another tailspin and doing God knows what to the British economy for years to come. But the point here, is that the decision is being made by a national referendum, by the people of the UK, and not by the dictates of their politically motivated leaders. It is call Democracy. With a captial “D.” It is pure self-determination.
Our only truly national election, our only referendum, as such, is to elect a president, and even that has effective limits, with electors and not the American people, casting the deciding votes. Meaning, in short, an elite group of political bigshots get together every four years and decide who is going to run the country. That was supposed to be balanced off by the Congress, but since they were bought off there is no balance, only stalemate. A broken government that does not work. We elect a few others to run the country and then go back to our daily lives, paying no attention to what’s going on until things fall apart.
Here in the U.S., the country that shed its blood to break away from the British, we have no such thing as a national referendum. No, here, we have no Constitutional Monarchy with a Parliment giving proportional representation even to the smaller political parties. Here we have only two politicial parties controlled by corporations and other big-money interests with a stranglehold on the system. Here, there is no referendum. Not on the TPP, not on NAFTA, not on gun control, not on abortion not on national healthcare. Here, there is no Democracy, only the best corrupted government money can buy as we veer off into a new round of gun-control legislation that will once again, go nowhere, following yet another mass slaughter on our soil.
Who would have imagined, all those years ago, that the country with a monarch would turn out to be the true democracy, while the nation that fought to break away in what appeared to be their own best interest for self-determination would sink into a corrupt system, denying the will of the people while favoring the desires of the wealthy few?
The founders would surely be incensed at our lack of sensible gun control as a flintlock couldn’t spit out more than 30 rounds a second, nor could they possibly forsee a government willing to sell itself to the highest bidders. It’s a valid analogy. These things need consideration. The mother country may be able to provide some guidance after all.