“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.
“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.
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.
UK: But we want the right to do Euro clearing in London.
UK: We want a rebate.
UK: We don’t want to be part of Schengen.
UK: We want to expand the EU to the eastern European countries.
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?
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.
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!!!!!
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“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…
With thanks to Michael August
“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.
“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.
“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.
“If there’s one group of road users virtually immune to being cowed by a lowly act of terrorism involving a motor vehicle, it’s cyclists. We’re reminded every day—through rolled-down car windows, on too-narrow roads, via social media—that we “share” the roads with people who actively hate us and that our interests (including safety) come behind theirs. Every one of us knows what it’s like to stare death in the grille. Daily riders have all had drivers aim their cars at us as if they were about to plow us down, whether because of run-of-the-mill inattention or out-and-out road rage. This reality is priced into our decision to ride.” Eben Weiss alias Bike Snob NYC offers the urban cyclist’s perspective on the latest terrorist threat.
“What this means is that even more than it is in the advertising business, Facebook is in the surveillance business. Facebook, in fact, is the biggest surveillance-based enterprise in the history of mankind. It knows far, far more about you than the most intrusive government has ever known about its citizens. It’s amazing that people haven’t really understood this about the company. I’ve spent time thinking about Facebook, and the thing I keep coming back to is that its users don’t realise what it is the company does. What Facebook does is watch you, and then use what it knows about you and your behaviour to sell ads. I’m not sure there has ever been a more complete disconnect between what a company says it does—‘connect’, ‘build communities’—and the commercial reality. Note that the company’s knowledge about its users isn’t used merely to target ads but to shape the flow of news to them. Since there is so much content posted on the site, the algorithms used to filter and direct that content are the thing that determines what you see: people think their news feed is largely to do with their friends and interests, and it sort of is, with the crucial proviso that it is their friends and interests as mediated by the commercial interests of Facebook. Your eyes are directed towards the place where they are most valuable for Facebook.” John Lanchester does not know what will happen should this $450 billion penny ever drop.
“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.
“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.”
“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.
“The Tories last year voted against a housing bill, right, this bill, it wasn’t asking much, it wasn’t attempting to turn Buckingham Palace into temporary housing for sex offenders. It was suggesting that private landlords have a legal obligation to ensure their properties are fit for human habitation. What sort of fucker votes against that? I wonder how many of the seventy Tory MPs, who are also private landlords, voted against that, including David Cameron? I’ll give you a clue: it was all of them!” Jonathan Pie, played by British actor Tom Walker, suggests that a healthy UK economy would need to do more than to create an environment in which only the wealthy do well.
“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.
“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.
“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.
With thanks to Michael August
Plenty of questions remain regarding the conduct of the United States of America. Still, the 44th President manages to stand out amongst the political leaders of our time. Will his words be remembered?
“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.
“Sie wollen eine Wahl gewinnen? Ihnen laufen die Wähler weg? Sie haben inhaltlich nicht so viel auf der Pfanne? Und eigentlich läuft gar nichts bei Ihnen? Dann haben wir das Richtige für Sie!”
“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.