Brexit might not happen for a long time

Updates

  1. Originally published, March 20, 1:44 pm.
  2. March 21, 10:29 am:
    • At the New Yorker, Sam Knight catches well some—only some—of the sense of the farce that Brexit has become.[1]
  3. March 21, 7:58 pm:
    • Theresa May went to Brussels to ask for a Brexit delay. She got one, but not the one she asked for. The European Union is giving her a deadline to pass the deal she previously negotiated. Otherwise it will, if the E.U. approves (corrected[2] March 22, 1:07 am), be a longer delay, which she explicitly was not asking for, but only if the United Kingdom agrees to participate in upcoming EU elections.[3] Absolutely none of this should be surprising. I was struck, on the contrary, by how sensible it all seems. I expect it will all be for naught, that Britain still crashes out with a hard Brexit. But that, I’m guessing by design, will be the fault of delusional British politicians, not the European ones.
  4. March 22, 1:07 am:
    • The Telegraph has the blow-by-blow on how it all went down with Theresa May in Brussels.[4] (Brexit)
  5. March 23, 1:17 am:
    • It’s a wrap. Robert Mueller has submitted his report. We know almost nothing of its contents, although it has been said to be comprehensive, and it apparently recommends no further charges.[5] (James Comey)
  6. March 24, 7:16 am:
  7. March 24, 2:42 pm:
    • Attorney General William Barr reports that Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign. As to obstruction of justice, Mueller’s team apparently did not reach a conclusion, either to exonerate or to accuse Trump. Some Democrats are claiming “knowledge” of “collusion” and have vowed to find out why Mueller isn’t filing charges accordingly.[6] (James Comey)
  8. March 25, 6:28 pm:
    • I’m finally starting to see less heated reaction to William Barr’s summary of Robert Mueller’s report now. This,[7] by Henry Olsen in the Washington Post, seems sober enough. (James Comey)
  9. March 25, 9:51 am:
    • Brexit is still in the sideshow phase, but Parliament will now be taking a series of “indicative votes” to see what sort of deal might gain majority support. Meanwhile, Theresa May continues to flog her plan, you know, the one everybody—except her—rightly said was dead months ago and really still is.[8] Folks here continue to forget that the European Union will still need to agree to any proposal, which probably means hope of a negotiated settlement is dead, at least until Parliament recognizes it has lost confidence in May. It all reminds me of a saying apparently attributed incorrectly to Winston Churchill: “The United States can always be relied upon to do the right thing — having first exhausted all possible alternatives.”[9] Except we’re talking about Parliament, not the United States (which can generally be counted on to do the wrong thing) and we don’t know what they’ll do, let alone what “the right thing” to do even is.
    • Binyamin Netanyahu faces both a re-election challenge and corruption charges.[10] In a fairly blatant attempt to boost Netanyahu’s re-election prospects, Donald Trump recognized Israeli control of the Golan Heights.[11]
    • At some point soon, Parts-Unknown.org, my main site, will be going down while I move the site off my home server and back to virtual hosting. (Among other things, the site hosts materials related to my dissertation and should remain on line for at least two more years.)
  10. March 26, 12:29 pm:
    • I have to stop my self from making claims like “Donald Trump is the most obnoxious president ever” or that he “is the worst president ever.” They tempt me, but from what I gather, there have been pretty heinous individuals who occupied that office over the centuries and I simply haven’t done the historical research necessary to 1) identify usable criteria for selecting which contender would be the worst president ever and 2) figure out which cretin best fits that criteria. That said, it goes without saying for anyone except Trump’s base, that he is a terrible president who ought to be removed and I don’t see a serious argument for keeping Trump in office. Now that we have William Barr’s summary of Robert Mueller’s report,[12] the case for impeachment appears weak and Nancy Pelosi’s caution on the matter appears warranted.[13] But we need to see the actual report[14] and we should remember that Trump’s legal difficulties extended far beyond Mueller.[15]
  11. March 26, 1:01 pm:
    • Boris Johnson (remember Little Mikey?) hates everything about Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Also, the (Northern Irish) Democratic Unionist Party favors delay over May’s deal.[16]
  12. March 27, 12:32 pm:
    • In a last ditch attempt to pass her Brexit deal, Theresa May has promised to stand down. Critics argue she has made this promise before. Meanwhile, the indicative votes have begun; some might see this as a sign of political malpractice: it is unclear that any Brexit proposal garners majority support in Parliament.[17]
    • There are many steps in the server migration; the downtime has not yet begun for parts-unknown.org:
      1. Copy data (mostly done; can only be completed when I actually begin)
      2. Get satellite photo script working (currently in progress).
      3. Configure database
      4. Load database
      5. Get database backups working
      6. Configure web site. This is the downtime. Not only do I have to convert the configuration from FreeBSD to Debian Linux, with changes in how I’m arranging things on the Google Cloud virtual machine, but I have to set up an SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt. In order to even test this, I have to change the DNS entries to point to the virtual machine.
  13. March 27, 4:33 pm:
    • The script that generates 72-hour gifs of satellite photos from around the world appears to now be working. The downtime has not yet begun for parts-unknown.org:
      1. Copy data (mostly done; can only be completed when I actually begin)
      2. Get satellite photo script working (complete).
      3. Configure database (complete)
      4. Load database. I will need the database backup that includes the update at this time. (Database backups currently being uploaded.)
      5. Get database backups working from the new system.
      6. Configure web site. This is the downtime. Not only do I have to convert the configuration from FreeBSD to Debian Linux, with changes in how I’m arranging things on the Google Cloud virtual machine, but I have to set up an SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt. In order to even test this, I have to change the DNS entries to point to the virtual machine.
    • Robert Mueller might be done but his grand jury lives on and “continu[es] robustly”[18] I’m thinking of unexploded ordnance.
  14. March 27, 5:52 pm:
    • So far at least, Theresa May’s offer to resign appears to have backfired as the Democratic Unionist Party insists that her deal “threatens the union.”[19]
    • Database backups are still uploading to the virtual machine.
  15. March 28, 9:19 am:
    • Data uploads are now nearly complete and I am now freezing updates to the web site. I just got through updating the Dokuwiki portion of the site; I have not yet begun looking at email or catching up on news for today.
  16. March 28, 12:28 pm:
    • All data is now copied as of 12:09 pm.
    • The database is loaded as of 12:15 pm.
    • DNS has been changed as of 12:27 pm. Parts-unknown.org should now be considered down. (If your DNS cache still points to the old location, it will continue to work.)
  17. March 29, 8:45 am:
  18. March 29, 11:29 am:
  19. March 30, 1:45 am:
    • A third vote was not the charm for Theresa May’s Brexit deal.[20] Among other things, this means Theresa May’s offer to resign[21] is now null and void. As parliament has failed to approve any plan in its indicative votes, she is now alluding to the possibility of a snap general election.[22]
  20. March 31, 2019, 11:45 am:
    • Theresa May will not be able to call a snap general election.[23] What I suggested of Boris Johnson above, that he reminds me of “Little Mikey” in cold cereal advertisements (“He won’t eat it! He hates everything!”) of a while ago, would seem to apply 1) to the Tories, and 2) to Parliament generally.

James Comey

WashingtonPost-TomToles
Tom Toles in the Washington Post, March 25, 2019, fair use.[24]

Donald Trump now says Robert Mueller’s report should be made public.[25] I dimly recall that at one point he promised the public could see his tax returns, too.

Now, honestly, I couldn’t care less about Trump’s tax returns. He’s rich so I’m already pretty clear that, one way or another, he’s a thief. The question here is about transparency. Will the evidence be publicly available or not?

Stephen Collinson, “New Mueller probe revelations explain Trump’s rage,” CNN, March 20, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/20/politics/donald-trump-russia-investigation-michael-cohen/index.html

Jordan Fabian, “Trump says public can see Mueller report,” Hill, March 20, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/434938-trump-on-mueller-report-well-see-if-its-legit

Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, “Mueller did not find evidence the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, attorney general says,” Washington Post, March 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/republicans-and-democrats-brace-for-renewed-battles-over-mueller-report/2019/03/23/56d9f214-4db3-11e9-b79a-961983b7e0cd_story.html

Henry Olsen, “Hold off on your victory laps, conservatives,” Washington Post, March 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/25/hold-off-your-victory-laps-conservatives/

Darren Samuelsohn, “Mueller grand jury ‘continuing robustly,’ prosecutor says,” Politico, March 27, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/27/mueller-grand-jury-1238861


Brexit

Guardian-BenJennings
Ben Jennings in the Guardian, March 25, 2019, fair use.[26]

Theresa May acts like the differences over Brexit are small and can easily be bridged. In reality, these differences are vast, between the European Union and hard Brexiteers, between Theresa May and those same hard Brexiteers, with Labour, with the (Northern Irish) Democratic Unionist Party, and with ‘remainers.’ For all the bullshit, and all the failure to recognize bullshit as bullshit, a hard Brexit is now, by far, the most likely outcome.

Gordon Rayner, Steven Swinford, and Christopher Hope, “John Bercow causes ‘major constitutional crisis’ by blocking third vote on Brexit deal,” Telegraph, March 18, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/18/john-bercow-causes-major-constitutional-crisis-blocking-third/

Steven Swinford and Peter Foster, “The ‘nuclear option’: Queen could be asked to close Parliament early to get around Bercow ruling,” Telegraph, March 19, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/18/can-theresa-may-secure-vote-brexit-deal-john-bercow-threatened/

William Booth and Michael Birnbaum, “Britain’s May asks European Union for a three-month Brexit delay,” Washington Post, March 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/britains-may-asks-eu-for-three-month-brexit-delay/2019/03/20/142de48a-4b05-11e9-93d0-64dbcf38ba41_story.html

Harry Yorke, James Crisp, and Jack Maidment, “Donald Tusk suggests EU will only grant Article 50 extension if MPs back Theresa May’s deal,” Telegraph, March 20, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/20/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-wont-seek-long-delay-article/

Sam Knight, “Theresa May Has Poisoned the Well of British Politics,” New Yorker, March 21, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-uk/theresa-may-has-poisoned-the-well-of-british-politics

Erin McLaughlin and Kara Fox, “Brexit delay agreed after tumultuous talks with Theresa May,” CNN, March 22, 2019, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/21/uk/brexit-delay-theresa-may-eu-gbr-intl/index.html

James Rothwell et al., “Brexit latest news: EU leaders offer UK delay to May 22 – if MPs back Theresa May’s deal,” Telegraph, March 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/21/brexit-latest-newstheresa-may-appeal-eu-leaders-time-article/

Gordon Rayner, “MPs back indicative votes to take control of Brexit process leaving Theresa May’s authority in shreds,” Telegraph, March 25, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/25/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-meet-cabinet-amid-pressure-leadership/

Jack Maidment and Harry Yorke, “Boris Johnson warns there is now ‘an appreciable risk’ that Brexit will not happen,” Telegraph, March 26, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/26/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-pressure-offer-mps-free-vote/

William Booth and Karla Adam, “Brexit: Theresa May bows to pressure and says she will resign before next phase,” Washington Post, March 27, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/brexit-votes/2019/03/27/d044bb28-4fcc-11e9-bdb7-44f948cc0605_story.html

Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “Theresa May’s Vow to Resign Doesn’t Yield Brexit Breakthrough,” Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/theresa-may-vows-to-quit-to-get-brexit-deal-through-parliament-11553708350

Associated Press, “British lawmakers reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a third time,” Los Angeles Times, March 29, https://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-brexit-uk-third-vote-theresa-may-20190329-story.html

Jack Maidment, “Brexit latest news: Theresa May’s deal defeated again by 58 votes – PM hints at general election to break deadlock,” Telegraph, March 29, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/29/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-final-push-mps-prepare-vote-withdrawal/


Golan Heights

Steve Holland and Jeff Mason, “Trump recognizes Golan Heights as Israeli, boosting Netanyahu and angering Syria,” Reuters, March 25, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-israel/trump-recognizes-golan-heights-as-israeli-boosting-netanyahu-and-angering-syria-idUSKCN1R61S6


Nancy Pelosi

John Bresnahan and Heather Caygle, “Pelosi wins breathing room on impeachment after Mueller findings,” Politico, March 25, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/25/mueller-report-impeachment-pelosi-1234093


  1. [1]Sam Knight, “Theresa May Has Poisoned the Well of British Politics,” New Yorker, March 21, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-the-uk/theresa-may-has-poisoned-the-well-of-british-politics
  2. [2]James Rothwell et al., “Brexit latest news: EU leaders offer UK delay to May 22 – if MPs back Theresa May’s deal,” Telegraph, March 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/21/brexit-latest-newstheresa-may-appeal-eu-leaders-time-article/
  3. [3]Erin McLaughlin and Kara Fox, “Brexit delay agreed after tumultuous talks with Theresa May,” CNN, March 22, 2019, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/21/uk/brexit-delay-theresa-may-eu-gbr-intl/index.html
  4. [4]James Rothwell et al., “Brexit latest news: EU leaders offer UK delay to May 22 – if MPs back Theresa May’s deal,” Telegraph, March 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/21/brexit-latest-newstheresa-may-appeal-eu-leaders-time-article/
  5. [5]Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, and Josh Dawsey, “Mueller report sent to attorney general, signaling his Russia investigation has ended,” Washington Post, March 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mueller-report-sent-to-attorney-general-signaling-his-russia-investigation-has-ended/2019/03/22/b061d8fa-323e-11e9-813a-0ab2f17e305b_story.html
  6. [6]Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, “Mueller did not find evidence the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, attorney general says,” Washington Post, March 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/republicans-and-democrats-brace-for-renewed-battles-over-mueller-report/2019/03/23/56d9f214-4db3-11e9-b79a-961983b7e0cd_story.html
  7. [7]Henry Olsen, “Hold off on your victory laps, conservatives,” Washington Post, March 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/25/hold-off-your-victory-laps-conservatives/
  8. [8]Gordon Rayner, “MPs back indicative votes to take control of Brexit process leaving Theresa May’s authority in shreds,” Telegraph, March 25, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/25/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-meet-cabinet-amid-pressure-leadership/
  9. [9]Garson O’Toole, “Americans Will Always Do the Right Thing — After Exhausting All the Alternatives,” Quote Investigator, November 11, 2012, https://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/11/11/exhaust-alternatives/
  10. [10]Oren Liebermann and Andrew Carey, “Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu to be indicted on corruption charges, pending hearing,” CNN, February 28, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/28/middleeast/israel-benjamin-netanyahu-indictment-intl/index.html
  11. [11]Steve Holland and Jeff Mason, “Trump recognizes Golan Heights as Israeli, boosting Netanyahu and angering Syria,” Reuters, March 25, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-israel/trump-recognizes-golan-heights-as-israeli-boosting-netanyahu-and-angering-syria-idUSKCN1R61S6
  12. [12]Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, “Mueller did not find evidence the Trump campaign conspired with Russia, attorney general says,” Washington Post, March 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/republicans-and-democrats-brace-for-renewed-battles-over-mueller-report/2019/03/23/56d9f214-4db3-11e9-b79a-961983b7e0cd_story.html
  13. [13]John Bresnahan and Heather Caygle, “Pelosi wins breathing room on impeachment after Mueller findings,” Politico, March 25, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/25/mueller-report-impeachment-pelosi-1234093
  14. [14]Henry Olsen, “Hold off on your victory laps, conservatives,” Washington Post, March 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/25/hold-off-your-victory-laps-conservatives/
  15. [15]Aaron Blake, “Virtually every organization Trump has run in recent years has been under investigation. Here’s where those probes stand,” Washington Post, February 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/02/05/big-investigations-trump-explained/; Jordan Fabian and Morgan Chalfant, “Trump’s legal woes worsen,” Hill, December 15, 2018, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/421491-trumps-legal-woes-worsen; Adam Serwer, “Trump’s Troubles Are Just Getting Started,” Atlantic, August 23, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/trumps-troubles-are-just-getting-started/568246/
  16. [16]Jack Maidment and Harry Yorke, “Boris Johnson warns there is now ‘an appreciable risk’ that Brexit will not happen,” Telegraph, March 26, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/26/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-pressure-offer-mps-free-vote/
  17. [17]William Booth and Karla Adam, “Brexit: Theresa May bows to pressure and says she will resign before next phase,” Washington Post, March 27, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/brexit-votes/2019/03/27/d044bb28-4fcc-11e9-bdb7-44f948cc0605_story.html
  18. [18]David Goodhand, quoted in Darren Samuelsohn, “Mueller grand jury ‘continuing robustly,’ prosecutor says,” Politico, March 27, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/27/mueller-grand-jury-1238861
  19. [19]Arlene Foster, quoted in Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “Theresa May’s Vow to Resign Doesn’t Yield Brexit Breakthrough,” Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/theresa-may-vows-to-quit-to-get-brexit-deal-through-parliament-11553708350
  20. [20]Associated Press, “British lawmakers reject Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal for a third time,” Los Angeles Times, March 29, https://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-brexit-uk-third-vote-theresa-may-20190329-story.html
  21. [21]William Booth and Karla Adam, “Brexit: Theresa May bows to pressure and says she will resign before next phase,” Washington Post, March 27, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/brexit-votes/2019/03/27/d044bb28-4fcc-11e9-bdb7-44f948cc0605_story.html; Max Colchester and Jason Douglas, “Theresa May’s Vow to Resign Doesn’t Yield Brexit Breakthrough,” Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/theresa-may-vows-to-quit-to-get-brexit-deal-through-parliament-11553708350
  22. [22]Jack Maidment, “Brexit latest news: Theresa May’s deal defeated again by 58 votes – PM hints at general election to break deadlock,” Telegraph, March 29, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/29/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-final-push-mps-prepare-vote-withdrawal/
  23. [23]Michael Savage and Toby Helm, “Furious Tory MPs tell May: we’ll block snap Brexit
    election,” Guardian, March 30, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/mar/30/furious-tory-mps-tell-theresa-may-they-will-block-snap-election
  24. [24]Tom Toles, “In Trumpland, ‘not exonerated’ means ‘complete and total’ exoneration,” Washington Post, March 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/25/trumpland-not-exonerated-means-complete-total-exoneration/
  25. [25]Jordan Fabian, “Trump says public can see Mueller report,” Hill, March 20, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/434938-trump-on-mueller-report-well-see-if-its-legit
  26. [26]Ben Jennings, [cartoon], Guardian, March 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/picture/2019/mar/24/ben-jennings-on-reports-that-michael-gove-could-act-as-caretaker-pm-cartoon

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