Now, Britain wants to walk away from the threat that NATO has caused by moving right up to the borders of Russia, allowing Putin to excuse his belligerence. This is forcing EU to follow NATO east. There have to be some rules in the Wild East. Merkel understands that. And Russia and the U.S. are rebuilding their nuclear arsenals. It would be nice if Western Europe could go back to the good old days (And god they were good, we were living there during the golden period, and it was about as close to heaven as could be.), but it won't work. Precious little England with its Queen and its other cultural rubbish is done for, no matter how much they fancy themselves.
God. They are so stupid!
Simplistic thinking is ruining us. This is why we have got to get Clinton in the White House. She knows there are no easy solutions to anything. The complex megasystems governing our lives are as fragile as they are huge.
Yes, I know I keep changing my mind about the Eu/Brexit situation as I learn more about it. That's because like almost everyone else I had not been paying attention.
More: What I mean to say is that GB wants to stay under the NATO umbrella while rejecting the EU.
Latest from GB: Now Blair wants to rush in and save the UK and the EU. He is the most discredited of all the neo-liberals because of his active role in the Iraq War. His entanglement with the worst disaster of the Bush administration makes every word he utters today sound like lies and hypocrisy. With Corbyn under attack, he sees his chance to retake the leadership of the Labor Party. After steering the UK onto the rocks, he wants to assure everyone that he would be the right captain to guide the ship of state through the narrowing channel between the Far Left and the Far Right.
In the meantime: There are two major factions in the CDU/CSU/SDP German coalition government: the one that aligns itself mostly with France and the one that looks to Eastern Europe. Both are furious at the British, who are still acting like this is all about them and if they can just get their internal politics straightened out they can negotiate the terms they want from countries whose enmity they have awakened with the Brexit victory.
On the home front, Jill Lepore, writing in the New Yorker, sees the pleasure to be derived from our upcoming political conventions as being comparable to root canals. That's about right.
Coincidentally, I had a root canal day before yesterday and I found it to be a distressing experience because of the aftereffects of the anesthetic. The dentist likes to be paid by check and it took me four tries to get the check made out properly. The assistant was laughing at my struggles,, but it was not funny, really. I had to call Terry to bring me home, because I didn't feel I could drive. I wondered, because the tooth was in my upper jaw, if the local anesthetic, which apparently can cross the blood-brain barrier, had actually numbed part of my brain. And then for about a day and a half I felt crazy. I can always tell it's drugs when that happens, the quality of it. It's a horror show. I hope I never need major drugs for anything, since I seem to be very sensitive to them!
How about some nice photos? Lucky I live Hawaii!
Our poinciana, Grandma's tree next door. It was her tree and her home. Now it's our rental.
Orchid. Don't always know their names and don't keep track of when they bloom.
Fly attracting cactus blooming again, this time with another bud coming along.
Spider: They all left after we power washed the house, but they are coming back.
Living room. We keep it simple. Sometimes I think of the furniture and other belongings we have had to dispose of because we have moved so much, , but then I say,"How nice not to be saddled with all that stuff! We have too much anyway, I think, so I am thankful for a full basement. I just filled a bag with nice clothes that I never wear, to take to the Goodwill.
The expansionist policies and the undemocratic nature of EU will eventually bring it down. Eastern European countries and the (self styled) Central European countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary) find the EU of advantage to them as they recover from the Soviet era, but it may not be so good for the Western European countries. The inclusion of Turkey, a country riven with ethnic tension and violence, would weaken Europe badly and create the possibility of EU incursions into the Middle East, or, at the very least, unwelcome entanglements with that area.
Capitalism is expansionist by nature, and EU is striving to extend its reach into Canada and ultimately the U.S. Under negotiation now is the free trade agreement with Canada, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). The goal is for European corporations doing business in Canada to operate under the rules of the EU, not the laws of Canada. CETA is arousing opposition both in Canada and in Europe in spite of attempts to keep it under the radar. As a typical member of the ill-informed public I knew nothing about this matter until this a.m.
We are more aware, in the U.S., of TPP, the Transpacific Partnership, and there is active opposition to it, even from the presidential candidates.
There are good reasons for resisting the EU. If it had remained within its original modest parameters it would be a different story. The advantages of a single currency and open borders are clear, but it might have been better to confine these amenities to GB, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Benelux countries.
Brexit really is messing things up for the economic masters of the universe. I would have voted to stay, but as I learn more I wonder if that would be the right decision. Sure, small-mindedness had a lot to do with Brexit's win, but I think it's important to understand the role of self interest, with people competing in what looks like a zero sum game for most.
More: Jan says something important here. The British public, with good reason, feels left out of all the important decision making. Elites are far less responsive to public opinion there than they are in the U.S.
Brexit had more to do with Conservative Party internal politics than it did with any belief that the British voters would actually vote to leave the EU. What a surprise.
Paul Mason*, although he himself voted for STAY, says there is a cogent and logical argument for leaving. He believes that Brexit will break up not only the EU but GB itself. The government is floundering, making GB look ineffectual, and the Labor Party is falling apart. Scotland threatens to leave. And the Germans and the French are furious and in a mood to punish.
Couple of things I thought of, watching this: EU is now up to 28 members with GB still included. Tony Judt, writing in 1995, did not believe such a conglomeration could ever work. He is very harsh in his assessment of the "cosseted" comfortable life in Western Europe, which was in large part due to the renewed industrial might of West Germany, not that badly damaged by the war, with U.S. aid, and the U. S. military machine providing protection from the Soviets.
Judt was pessimistic about the EU's ability to absorb countries farther to the east. He pointed out that it is not that easy to dismantle nations, which always provide a reservoir of nativist sentiment, claims of cultural superiority and a focus for"popular resentment at the presence of...immigrants." The well-formed western nations: Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the Benelux countries. fall back easily into xenophobia. The more nebulous nations to the east bring in another set of problems of ethnic tension and poor governance that have the potential to create instability thr0ughout the democracies of the west.
Turkey shares a border with Syria, which is being destroyed. Going by the "con" argument, bringing Turkey into the EU would entangle the heart of Europe with this fearful situation.
Turkey is not a European country. 97% of its territory lies in Asia. The EU does not need shared borders with Syria, Iran and Iraq. Agreeing to one non-European member would open the door for candidates from Cape Verde to Kazakhstan. Turkey is too big for the EU to absorb. With a population predicted to reach 91 million by 2050, it will be the dominant member of the EU...
Despite it[s] recent growth, Turkey remains an underdeveloped economy. Its GDP per capita at €13,000 is less than half the EU average. The entry of a country that poor and that big would place unbearable strains on EU finances. Turkey’s wealth is unequally spread, meaning that an army of poor immigrants would head west, joining the estimated 10 million Turks already living in the EU. In addition, though Turkey weathered the economic crisis much better than most, it failed to push through necessary reforms and economic growth is falling while unemployment is rising.
I suspect that most citizens living in the EU would agree. The fears of destabilization from the east are real.
How does all this trouble affect us here in the U.S? One thing I don't believe is that what is happening there will be of any benefit to Trump, not when we can see what insecurity Europe now faces. We certainly don't want that for ourselves. We have got our own huge problems without adding more in the form of an ignorant blowhard in the White House. We can still depend on a fairly stable political situation if we get Hillary Clinton elected, at least as compared to the mess GB now finds itself in. Trump would send us over the cliff.
*Not to be confused with a Paul Mason that I know personally (insert smiley).
British viewpoint: We have time to adjust to this. Brexit can't be activated until our gov't gives the go-ahead for the exit process to begin. The Brexiteers believe they have control of the situation and are leaning on the EU statutes that seem to offer them cover for an orderly retreat.
German viewpoint: The British are poisoning the well. The result of the referendum was so close that it does not matter. It could easily have gone the other way. GB is destabilizing the community.
From Spiegel article by Elke Schmitter:
"A group that constantly has to deal with existential crises has no energy to deal with reality." EU can't deal with this and do its job, too.
Just preliminaries that I want in place as I fight my way toward understanding this mess. In the meantime, the situation is spinning out of control.
I have to stay quiet today and allow my tooth surgery wound to heal. The dentist removed the stitches, and it's oozing. Blood clots and stuff. Yuck. I stopped my Warfarin, and it's slowed down, but I have to miss a meeting, etc. Luckily I went shopping yesterday and have yogurt and such to eat.
So I'm caught up on Brexit to date. This is a warning to us in the U.S. not to fall for the nativist and anti-immigrant pitch. What's going to happen to all the British ex-pats in the EU countries now? Will they be punished? Will rich foreigners come in and buy up British assets at firesale prices, as the pound loses its value? What will happen to National Health? Pensions? Did these voters really think about the consequences?
There are parts of Spain that are Britain in a better climate. What will happen now?
Turning away from that misery, I thought I would try to figure out Bitcoin. Almost have it. Setting up the system is elaborate, but using it is simple. Not something I want to do but a moderately interesting topic to while away the down time in Laz-i-Boy Central (my ugly, comfortable rocker/recliner).
Sure is a lovely day here, though, and if I can get this bleeding to stop, I'm going swimming at Richardson Beach. (Photo I found on the Internet.) I was there a couple of days ago, and it was perfect!
Brexit wins. I can't believe they did this. If I were living in Britain I would be working on figuring out a way to leave. They just destroyed their future. It's clear to see that from the perspective of the U.S. I guess they were so propagandized with nativist resentment that they fell for this. These are a people who spread all over the earth. The sun never set on them. Now they have turned their backs on the world.
More: Just finished watching the BBC live stream and saw Cameron announce his decision to step down from his office as Prime Minister in October.
I enjoyed this little video about Joyce Carol Oates at home. Unlike me, she hardly relates to her body at all and seems to exist most of the time in an ethereal mental world. I wonder if never having had children makes the difference here, but that is a lot to say without knowing more about her. I do get the feeling from her stories that when it comes to the body, the less the better, as far as she's concerned. She depicts female bodies as a locus of discomfort and embarrassment, or that's the impression I get from her stories. She is tall, and she looks very fit, with upright posture and a good stride.
I confess that it's her early work that interests me the most. For a while, we were leading similar lives, or at any rate had similar interests, and we are about the same age.
On her often whimsical tweets she describes the inner life and behavior of her cat, Cherie. Fred wishes he could meet her, but when I point out that he would have to endure hours of travel in his carrier he decided against it. Besides, she is an aristocat and he is a commoner.
My orchids are very lovely these days. They are such expressive flowers.
Doesn't this look exciting? Those spears stuck in the sand let you know that this is Hawaii and not some other place.
Brandon was asking about where to find out about the rich on the Big Island. Bloomberg News comes through in this fascinating article about the tsuris at Hualalai and the Four Seasons here. Billionaires are trying to keep the millionaire rabble out. As my mother always liked to say, "We forget that the rich have problems too."
A poor soul says,
He had done everything possible to be in a situation where the answer to every question would be yes.
Wow. I want that, too. When I need my teeth fixed, I want the dentist to say, "Yes."
More than anything, perhaps, it’s about humiliation. These are wealthy people unaccustomed to being put in their place by someone even wealthier. “We’re smart, we’re mature, we run hedge funds,” says Karen Witesman, who bought her Hualalai condo in 2013. “And then Dell and this group are telling us what to do. And it goes against the grain of who we are. We’re so big and so wealthy, and we’re still working with that little contract.”
According to me with my math skills, the 1% is one out of 100 people in the U.S. One out of 1% of 320,000,000 is 3.2 million people. They and theirs expect only the best but are annoying the .001%, who believe that the world belongs to them and them alone, because they are so superior to the rabble. It may be that buying an island is getting too expensive for the out of sight billionaires, forcing them to associate with the merely rich. The 1% that are not part of the .001% are very upset about the loss of their freedoms. It's mostly about the money, but not entirely.
Yes. Being treated like the little people. How humiliating indeed. This article is so full of ridiculous quotables to share, but I have to stop somewhere. We personally have known the kind of millionaires who have founded startup companies, had 1/2 hour audiences with Steve Ballmer, maybe rubbed shoulders with the Waltons. They are the ones really feeling the pressure now, as the expenses of leading their fancy lives soar out of sight. God. Next thing they may have to be sharing a beach with the locals.
This resort confines people to a few authorized rich people activities. Chris Hayes said that the rich are boring, and here's the proof. The Big Island is full of delights that over-entitled people shun. They could find themselves in territory that does not belong to them or their kind. Hence their rage when they get treated like "those people."
This banal resort, the ultimate in banal tropical resorts, exists on an island where thousands are doing without basic amenities like sewers, running water and garbage collection. And this is the United States, not some "Third World" country.
We don't go over to Kona much, because we feel it's a waste of money to pay steep prices for hotel rooms there. It's nice to rent a condo at Christmas when the family comes, and we make the occasional Costco run. I just remembered that "Tex," the woman at the voter registration training session yesterday, was indignant that there was no Costco on the east side. What hardship she endures. Maybe she'll go back to Texas, where they know how to do things right.