Meet the new Brexit, same as the old Brexit

Apologies to the Who, whose song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” supplies the lyric this post’s title is based on.


I’ve cleaned up the HTML, possibly exposing one or more videos that might have been lost before in the comparison, in my last blog post entitled, “Heil Trump.” I’ve also added citations for those videos now.


Brexit

Within seconds of the result [Boris Johnson’s victory] being announced, Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said he would work “constructively” with Mr Johnson to “facilitate the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement”.

There was no mention of any alternatives to that agreement despite Mr Johnson’s repeated warnings during the campaign that the Withdrawal Agreement was “dead” after being rejected three times by the British Parliament.[1]

Theresa May’s deal was dead from the start and the alternatives are what they’ve always been: An extremely unlikely British acquiescence, thereby remaining within the European Union; or the legal default: no deal.[2] But Boris Johnson was voted in on what seems to amount to magical thinking:

Now, Johnson gets the chance to prove that the manure in Britain smells different. He has vowed to push forward Brexit, break free of the tyranny of the European Union and lead a liberated Britain to its former global greatness. His supporters are willing to look beyond a cringeworthy record of gaffes, sordid peccadilloes and soft bigotry. Most analysts, though, reckon that he is in for a rude awakening.[3]

A senior source close the EU negotiations said that Europe would “wait and see” how Mr Johnson pitched his negotiation once installed in Number 10, but added that hard talk of ‘no deal’ and ‘binning the backstop’ would quickly see the EU disengaging.

“Boris Johnson has been many things to many people, so let’s wait and see, but campaign hasn’t been promising at all,” the source added.[4]

Other European politicians said much the same or worse.[5] Brexit remains what it was.

Peter Foster and James Rothwell, “Tepid Barnier welcomes Boris Johnson as EU takes ‘wait and see’ approach to Brexit talks,” Telegraph, July 23, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/23/tepid-barnier-welcomes-boris-johnson-eu-takes-wait-see-approach/


Donald Trump

So you thought Donald Trump was moving the country in an authoritarian direction (that it always has been authoritarian notwithstanding)? Perhaps that’s because he might think he’s a dictator.[6]

The constitutional theory of a very powerful president, with absolute control over the executive branch and all its departments, by the way, is known as the unitary executive. As one might expect, this theory, whether expressly or not, is enormously attractive to people once they are president.[7] But even this is less sweeping than Trump’s claim of “total power,” although he usually asserts it in the context of the Robert Mueller probe,[8] conducted under the auspices of the Department of Justice, an executive branch department.

Michael Brice-Saddler, “While bemoaning Mueller probe, Trump falsely says the Constitution gives him ‘the right to do whatever I want,’” Washington Post, July 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/23/trump-falsely-tells-auditorium-full-teens-constitution-gives-him-right-do-whatever-i-want/


Lunch shaming

So a school district here in Pennsylvania garnered national attention of the very wrong kind as well as attention, also of the very wrong kind, from the local agency in charge of foster placements when it threatened to put children in foster care over school lunch debt.[9]

It also attracted attention of the sort that wanted to help.[10]

But then it seemed if these generous sorts could even get through to talk to someone about helping with the kids’ school lunch debt, the response was rude.[11]

“This really isn’t about the money,” [Todd Carmichael] concludes. “I think it’s about teaching people who are struggling some sort of moral lesson they need to learn, no matter what the consequences are.”[12]

I don’t know how else to interpret this. And frankly, I think I need to see some heads roll.

Because it’s bad enough when schoolchildren bully other schoolchildren. I have lots and lots of experience of being on the receiving end of that. When school officials are also doing it, something needs to happen. Now. If not yesterday.

In the meantime, national coverage seems to have shamed the district into accepting the donations.[13] Heads still need to roll. Because none of this—absolutely none of this—should ever have happened in the first place. I don’t care what the district’s excuse is: It shouldn’t have happened and it is completely unacceptable that it did.

Bobby Allyn, “Offers Pour In To Cover Pa. Students’ Meal Debt, But School Officials Not Interested,” National Public Radio, July 24, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/07/24/744744051/offers-pour-in-to-cover-pa-students-meal-debt-but-school-officials-not-intereste

Bobby Allyn, “Pa. School District Reverses Course And Will Now Accept Donations To Cover Lunch Debt,” National Public Radio, July 24, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/07/24/745046246/pa-school-district-reverses-course-and-will-now-accept-donations-to-cover-lunch-


Migrants

Given the culture in evidence and the abuse it has spawned,[14] this claim needs to be scrutinized much more carefully:

“Not only did I self-report, I turned my entire Facebook account over,” [Customs and Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost] said before a House Appropriations subcommittee. “I gave them my log-in and my password.”

Provost denied knowing of the “highly offensive and absolutely unacceptable posts” ahead of the ProPublica investigative report that first exposed the Facebook group dubbed “I’m 10-15.” The name refers to Border Patrol code 10-15 for “aliens in custody.” Earlier this month, The Intercept reported Provost was a member of the Facebook group.[15]

We simply cannot accept claims of “a few rotten apples” at face value. The rot almost certainly pervades the agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, and their administrations.[16]

Geneva Sands and Kate Sullivan, “Border Patrol chief admits being member of controversial Facebook group,” CNN, July 24, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/24/politics/border-patrol-chief-controversial-facebook-group/index.html


Gig economy

Doordash’s claim that compensation model changes should not affect worker earnings[17] will be familiar at least to Uber and Lyft drivers and begs the question of why, if this is the case, they’re being introduced in the first place. So of course, many drivers are not convinced, particularly as they see their earnings drop, year after year after year.

Tom McKay, “DoorDash Says It’s Very Sorry You Noticed Its Tip-Skimming Scheme,” Gizmodo, July 24, 2019, https://gizmodo.com/doordash-says-it-s-very-sorry-you-noticed-its-tip-skimm-1836652047


James Comey

Robert Mueller testified today before two committees of the House of Representatives. I’m seeing lots of headlines and a lot of hot takes, only some of which seem to depend on partisan leanings. I realize they all need to get their stories out fast, but I’m still waiting for something sane.


  1. [1]Peter Foster and James Rothwell, “Tepid Barnier welcomes Boris Johnson as EU takes ‘wait and see’ approach to Brexit talks,” Telegraph, July 23, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/23/tepid-barnier-welcomes-boris-johnson-eu-takes-wait-see-approach/
  2. [2]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/; Peter Walker, “Could parliament’s latest amendment stop no-deal Brexit?” Guardian, July 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/18/could-parliaments-latest-amendment-stop-no-deal-brexit
  3. [3]Ishaan Tharoor, “Boris Johnson’s rise could be a preamble to his fall,” Washington Post, July 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/07/23/boris-johnsons-rise-could-be-preamble-his-fall/
  4. [4]Peter Foster and James Rothwell, “Tepid Barnier welcomes Boris Johnson as EU takes ‘wait and see’ approach to Brexit talks,” Telegraph, July 23, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/23/tepid-barnier-welcomes-boris-johnson-eu-takes-wait-see-approach/
  5. [5]Peter Foster and James Rothwell, “Tepid Barnier welcomes Boris Johnson as EU takes ‘wait and see’ approach to Brexit talks,” Telegraph, July 23, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/23/tepid-barnier-welcomes-boris-johnson-eu-takes-wait-see-approach/
  6. [6]Michael Brice-Saddler, “While bemoaning Mueller probe, Trump falsely says the Constitution gives him ‘the right to do whatever I want,’” Washington Post, July 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/23/trump-falsely-tells-auditorium-full-teens-constitution-gives-him-right-do-whatever-i-want/
  7. [7]Chris Edelson, “Exploring the Limits of Presidential Power,” American Constitution Society, December 2, 2013, https://www.acslaw.org/expertforum/exploring-the-limits-of-presidential-power/
  8. [8]Michael Brice-Saddler, “While bemoaning Mueller probe, Trump falsely says the Constitution gives him ‘the right to do whatever I want,’” Washington Post, July 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/23/trump-falsely-tells-auditorium-full-teens-constitution-gives-him-right-do-whatever-i-want/
  9. [9]Amir Vera, “Pennsylvania school district tells parents to pay their lunch debt, or their kids will go into foster care,” CNN, July 20, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/20/us/pennsylvania-school-lunch-debt-trnd/index.html
  10. [10]Bobby Allyn, “Offers Pour In To Cover Pa. Students’ Meal Debt, But School Officials Not Interested,” National Public Radio, July 24, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/07/24/744744051/offers-pour-in-to-cover-pa-students-meal-debt-but-school-officials-not-intereste
  11. [11]Bobby Allyn, “Offers Pour In To Cover Pa. Students’ Meal Debt, But School Officials Not Interested,” National Public Radio, July 24, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/07/24/744744051/offers-pour-in-to-cover-pa-students-meal-debt-but-school-officials-not-intereste
  12. [12]Bobby Allyn, “Offers Pour In To Cover Pa. Students’ Meal Debt, But School Officials Not Interested,” National Public Radio, July 24, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/07/24/744744051/offers-pour-in-to-cover-pa-students-meal-debt-but-school-officials-not-intereste
  13. [13]Bobby Allyn, “Pa. School District Reverses Course And Will Now Accept Donations To Cover Lunch Debt,” National Public Radio, July 24, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/07/24/745046246/pa-school-district-reverses-course-and-will-now-accept-donations-to-cover-lunch-
  14. [14]Priscilla Alvarez, “Lawmakers, including Ocasio-Cortez, lash out over conditions following border facility tours,” CNN, July 2, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/01/politics/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-clint-texas-facility/index.html; Josh Dawsey and Colby Itkowitz, “‘This is tough stuff’: At Texas detention facility, Pence sees hundreds of migrants crammed with no beds,” Washington Post, July 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pence-tours-detention-facilities-at-the-border-defends-administrations-treatment-of-migrants/2019/07/12/993f54e0-a4bc-11e9-b8c8-75dae2607e60_story.html; Caitlin Dickerson, “‘There Is a Stench’: No Soap and Overcrowding in Detention Centers for Migrant Children,” New York Times, June 21, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/21/us/migrant-children-border-soap.html; Adam Harris, “An Astonishing Government Report on Conditions at the Border,” Atlantic, July 3, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/07/government-report-details-inhumane-conditions-migrant-facilities/593242/; Miriam Jordan, “Judge Orders Swift Action to Improve Conditions for Migrant Children in Texas,” New York Times, June 29, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/29/us/migrant-children-detention-texas.html; Alejandro Lazo and Jacob Gershman, “Lawsuit Alleges Government Mistreatment of Migrant Children,” Wall Street Journal, June 27, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lawsuit-alleges-government-mistreatment-of-migrant-children-11561608969; Sam Levin, “‘Happy hunting!’ Immigration agents swapped cheery messages about raids, records reveal,” Guardian, July 3, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/03/ice-us-immigration-messages-raids; Katie Mettler, Mike DeBonis, and Reis Thebault, “Border agents confiscated lawmakers’ phones. Joaquin Castro captured photo and video anyway,” Washington Post, July 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/07/02/ocasio-cortez-says-dispute-with-border-patrol-agents-started-after-one-tried-take-stealth-selfie/; Geneva Sands and Nick Valencia, “2nd Customs and Border Protection-connected secret Facebook group shows mocking images,” CNN, July 5, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/05/politics/cbp-second-facebook-group-images/index.html; Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley, “Migrant kids in overcrowded Arizona border station allege sex assault, retaliation from U.S. agents,” NBC News, July 9, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/migrant-kids-overcrowded-arizona-border-station-allege-sex-assault-retaliation-n1027886; A. C. Thompson, “Inside the Secret Border Patrol Facebook Group Where Agents Joke About Migrant Deaths and Post Sexist Memes,” ProPublica, July 1, 2019, https://www.propublica.org/article/secret-border-patrol-facebook-group-agents-joke-about-migrant-deaths-post-sexist-memes
  15. [15]Geneva Sands and Kate Sullivan, “Border Patrol chief admits being member of controversial Facebook group,” CNN, July 24, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/24/politics/border-patrol-chief-controversial-facebook-group/index.html
  16. [16]Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (New York: Random House, 2008).
  17. [17]Tom McKay, “DoorDash Says It’s Very Sorry You Noticed Its Tip-Skimming Scheme,” Gizmodo, July 24, 2019, https://gizmodo.com/doordash-says-it-s-very-sorry-you-noticed-its-tip-skimm-1836652047

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