Nine lessons

“Too much of our political debate just insults people’s intelligence and just suggests that every facet of Brexit you don’t like is purely a feature of only the Prime Minister’s version of it, rather than intrinsic to leaving.” Sir Ivan Rogers advocates the need for serious substance to replace plausible bullshit.
www.liverpool.ac.uk

Britain fell for a neoliberal con trick—even the IMF says so

“I want to address the most stubborn belief of all: that running a small state is the soundest financial arrangement for governments and voters alike. Because 40 years on from the Thatcher revolution, more and more evidence is coming in to the contrary.” Aditya Chakrabortty on asset-stripping the United Kingdom.
www.theguardian.com

Brexit – the story so far

by Swanpride

Honestly, this whole mess has been ridiculous way longer. I mean, so far the story kind of like this [sic]:

UK: Yeah, your stupid little project, we don’t want to be part of it.
EU: That’s okay, we will do our thing over here and you can do your thing over there.
UK: We have changed our mind, we want to join after all.
France: Not sure if that is a good idea.
UK: Pretty please?????
EU: Okay, we kind of convinced France.
UK: Great. Now do what we want or we leave.
EU: What do you want?
UK: We don’t want to be in the Euro.
EU: Done.
UK: But we want the right to do Euro clearing in London.
EU: Done.
UK: We want a rebate.
EU: Done.
UK: We don’t want to be part of Schengen.
EU: Done.
UK: We want to expand the EU to the eastern European countries.
EU: Done.
UK: And we want Turkey to join.
EU: Eh…not sure about that one…I guess we can talk about this, depending on how Turkey develops…
UK: And we want extra rules for immigration because of all of those Eastern Europeans coming to us.
EU: But you wanted this. And you don’t even use the options you already have to control immigration.
UK: Otherwise we leave!
EU: Okay, if you want to. There is nothing more we can give you! Plus, we are kind of busy over here with a refugee crisis. You know, you could help, too? You were the one messing around in the middle east for centuries after all.
UK: You cause too much immigration! And you want Turkey to join! We have voted to leave.
EU: Yes, we noticed. Well, you know the rules, no trade negotiations until you trigger article 50 and then we first need to talk about how we entangle the UK from the EU [sic]. Than we can talk about trade.
UK: We need some time to discuss this.
EU: We aren’t in any hurry.
UK: We have now triggered article 50.
EU: Great so now we can talk about the divorce.
UK: But we want to talk about trade.
EU: First we need to clear up a number of important issues. So what is your suggestion?
UK: —
EU: How about this?
UK: No, totally inacceptable. What we want is our cake and eat it too.
EU: That is impossible.
UK: Go whistle.
EU: Ticktock.
UK: We have talked among ourselves. We want a transitional period or we won’t get done in time.
EU: Well, we might if you don’t delay all the time…but okay, provided that we made some progress. So what is you suggestion.
UK: We want all the advantage of the single market and the customs union while following our own standards and no free movement.
EU: That is impossible.
UK: YOU ARE BLACKMAILING US!!!!!
tvtropes.org

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Die AAA-Bürger

“So wie Alibaba und Amazon wissen, wofür sich ihre Nutzer interessieren und was sie als Nächstes kaufen könnten, will der chinesische Staat aus den Datenspuren seiner Bürger ableiten, wie sie sich in der Vergangenheit verhalten haben und in der Zukunft verhalten könnten und sie nach einem Punktesystem entsprechend bewerten. Wer zum Beispiel über das Internet gesunde Babynahrung bestellt, soll Pluspunkte erhalten. Wer sich hingegen Pornos ansieht oder zu viel Zeit mit Computerspielen verbringt, muss mit Abzügen rechnen.” Da trifft es sich gut, daß Felix Lee nichts zu verbergen hat und ein solcher Umgang mit Nutzerdaten überhaupt nur in China in Erwägung gezogen wird…
www.zeit.de

With thanks to Michael August

Zur Hölle mit den Reichen

“Das System ist zutiefst krank. Es ist unmoralisch und unanständig. Die Wut darauf wächst. Sie sucht sich nur die falschen Ziele. Der Hass der Betrogenen gilt eher dem Kriegs- als dem Steuerflüchtling. Unser Planet ist ein Paradies für Arschlöcher.” Jacob Augstein bringt es auf den Punkt.
www.spiegel.de

Motor der Ungleichheit

“Das vielleicht spektakulärste Beispiel dafür ist der Google-Mutterkonzern Alphabet. 2003, weniger als ein Jahr vor dem Börsengang, übertrug ‘Google USA’ seine Suchmaschinen- und Werbetechnologie an ‘Google Holdings’, eine in Irland eingetragene Tochter. Dank des irischen Steuerrechts kann das Unternehmen seine Gewinne mit einen Zwischenstopp auf den Bermudas versteuern. 15,5 Milliarden Dollar waren das bei Google im Jahr 2015, der Steuersatz für Unternehmen auf der Inselgruppe: null Prozent.” Gabriel Zucman fordert ein Finanzregister als effektive Waffe gegen die Intransparenz der Weltfinanzen.
www.sueddeutsche.de

End these offshore games or our democracy will die

“These are the fixes, but a real solution is ultimately political. We must accept that Big Finance and runaway inequality are incompatible with either a functioning democracy or a sustainable economy.” Aditya Chakrabortty sees a rotting core at the heart of our democracies.
www.theguardian.com

Britain is still a world-beater at one thing: ripping off its own citizens

“Whether as taxpayers or consumers, pretty much everyone in Britain is now human feedstock for Big Capital. This may not be how you see yourself. After all, you’re a customer and in our dynamic, choice-stuffed markets the customer is king. Except that the propaganda doesn’t match reality.” Aditya Chakrabortty asks what Britain is actually for.
www.theguardian.com

Don’t feel sorry for refugees—believe in them

“We take in so few refugees worldwide. We resettle less than .1 percent. That .1 percent benefits us more than them. It dumbfounds me how the word refugee is consided something to be dirty, something to be ashamed of. They have nothing to be ashamed of. We have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity. There are 65.3 million people who have been forced out of their homes because of war. The largest number in history. We are the ones who should be ashamed.”
Luma Mufleh
www.ted.com

Katz-und-Maus-Spiel der Polizei mit dem Rechtsstaat

“Es ist schlicht und ergreifend nicht wahr, dass die Kritik an Hamburgs Polizeiführung nur von einer ‘militanten linken Szene’ komme, wie Innensenator Grote Glauben machen will. Dass es letztere gibt und dass sie extrem gewaltbereit ist, bezweifelt niemand. Doch wenn Grote sagt, es gebe zwar viele, die auch friedlich campen wollten, aber ‘wir können sie nicht von potenziellen Gewalttätern trennen’, dann ist dies schlicht und ergreifend ein Offenbarungseid. Denn genau das ist nun einmal Aufgabe der Polizei. Man stelle sich vor, die Polizei würde mit ähnlicher Begründung Bundesligaspiele verbieten, weil sich im Stadion auch Gewalttäter aufhalten.” Andrej Reisin formuliert seine Kritik an der Vorgehensweise der Polizei vor und während des G20-Gipfels in Hamburg.
www.daserste.de

Why are people so angry? Blame modernity

“The modern world’s cherished ideas of liberty, equality and prosperity are more popular than ever before. The problem is that it is difficult for the vast majority of the human population to realise them.” Pankaj Mishra appearing on yesterday’s Newsnight programme.
www.youtube.com

Senate intelligence committee study on CIA detention and interrogation program

“The CIA provided extensive inaccurate information about the operation of the program and its effectiveness to policymakers and the public.” Senator Dianne Feinstein released the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program just over two years ago. Never has an awareness of its findings on the use of torture been more important than today.
www.feinstein.senate.gov

The swedish kings of cyberwar

“Among the many questions posed by Scandinavia’s embrace of mass surveillance is one that has lingered at the margins throughout the Snowden debate: Are advanced democracies any different than their authoritarian counterparts in seeking to gain broad access into the private lives of citizens?” Hugh Eakin shines a light on the underreported activities of Sweden’s FRA in spying on people everywhere.
www.nybooks.com

With thanks to Michael August

The human factor

​“The episode should have been a non-event, and one that would not last long. The airplane was in the control of the pilots, and if they had done nothing, they would have done all they needed to do.” William Langewiesche examines the reasons behind the crash of Air France Flight 447, one of the “most perplexing and significant airline accidents of modern times”.
www.vanityfair.com

An American tragedy

​“The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.” David Remnick is not the only one who’s worried.
www.newyorker.com

Human rights for Martians

​“Human rights introduce morality into law and offer limited legal enforcement to moral claims. But as morality is not one and the law is not a simple exercise in reasoning, moral conflict enters the legal archive and legal strictures regiment and control moral responsibility.” For Costas Douzinas, the human rights movement is an ongoing struggle to close the gap between the abstract man of the Declarations and the empirical human being.
www.opendemocracy.net

The Left confuses globalisation with neo-liberalism and gets lost

“But the problem is not the global trends in supply chains etc. Rather it is that their elected representatives have become co-opted by neo-liberal elites who fully understand that state power can be skewed to work in their favour and deprive a vast majority of citizens of the benefits of such global economic activity.” Bill Mitchell questions the sustainability of economic growth with labour productivity growth continuing to outstrip growth in real wages.
bilbo.economicoutlook.net