Boris Johnson, the black marketeer

Brexit

We still don’t really know what Boris Johnson’s allegedly generous offer to the European Union was. But what we’re seeing now[1] certainly fits a pattern of seeking to blame the EU for any failure to reach a deal. But the Europeans have every reason to suspect that what Johnson seeks would create a pathway for a black market, which is precisely why the Irish backstop is so contentious.[2] And as we learned with Saddam Hussein, black markets can be incredibly lucrative for those who facilitate them, which leads to me to suspect that this is in fact Johnson’s plan.

Owen Bennett and James Crisp, “Fury as EU demands more Brexit concessions,” Telegraph, October 13, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/13/fury-eu-demands-brexit-concessions/


Catalonia

Pamela Rolfe and James McAuley, “Spanish Supreme Court sentences Catalan separatists to prison, sparking protests,” Washington Post, October 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/spanish-supreme-court-sentences-catalan-separatists-to-jail/2019/10/14/a0590366-ee59-11e9-89eb-ec56cd414732_story.html


Jeff Bezos

Charles Duhigg, “Is Amazon Unstoppable?” New Yorker, October 10, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/10/21/is-amazon-unstoppable

Franklin Foer, “Jeff Bezos’s Master Plan,” Atlantic, November 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/11/what-jeff-bezos-wants/598363/


Kurdistan

I guess Donald Trump did an oopsie.

Tobias Hoonhout, “U.S. Set to Impose New Sanctions on Turkey in Response to Syria Incursion: Report,” National Review, October 14, 2019, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/u-s-set-to-impose-new-sanctions-on-turkey-in-response-to-syria-incursion-report/

Saleha Mohsin, Jennifer Jacobs, and Ryan Beene, “U.S. Urges Immediate Cease-Fire in Syria as It Sanctions Turkey,” Bloomberg, October 14, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-14/u-s-sanctions-turkey-after-trump-opened-way-for-move-into-syria


  1. [1]Owen Bennett and James Crisp, “Fury as EU demands more Brexit concessions,” Telegraph, October 13, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/13/fury-eu-demands-brexit-concessions/
  2. [2]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Could Boris Johnson’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit break up the United Kingdom?” Washington Post, July 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/could-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-crack-up-the-united-kingdom/2019/07/29/b871ebac-b1e6-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Daniel Boffey, “However you look at it, the logic of a Brexit backstop refuses to yield,” Guardian, June 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/24/however-look-logic-brexit-backstop-refuses-to-yield-irish; British Broadcasting Corporation, “Irish deputy PM Coveney: No deal Brexit would mean customs checks in Ireland,” July 21, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-49062367/irish-deputy-pm-coveney-no-deal-brexit-would-mean-customs-checks-in-ireland; Amanda Ferguson and William Booth, “Northern Ireland’s politicians don’t agree on much. Except that Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit would be a disaster,” Washington Post, July 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/northern-irelands-politicians-dont-agree-on-much-except-that-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-would-be-a-disaster/2019/07/31/c209affa-b2eb-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Peter Foster and Camilla Tominey, “Boris Johnson warned that ‘no deal’ Brexit will require return of ‘direct rule’ in Northern Ireland,” Telegraph, July 26, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/26/boris-johnson-warned-no-deal-brexit-will-require-return-direct/; Katy Hayward, “Can technology and ‘max fac’ solve the Irish border question? Expert explains,” Conversation, May 23, 2018, http://theconversation.com/can-technology-and-max-fac-solve-the-irish-border-question-expert-explains-96735; Conor Humphries, “Irish PM says hard Brexit would raise issue of Irish unification,” Telegraph, July 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-ireland-nireland-idUSKCN1UL280; Séamas O’Reilly, “Hard Brexiters’ stance on the Irish border is nonsense – I can tell you, I grew up there,” Guardian, August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/northern-ireland-hard-border-brexit-customs; Kate Proctor, “Irish border after Brexit – all ideas are beset by issues says secret paper,” Guardian, September 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/02/irish-border-after-brexit-all-ideas-beset-by-issues; Steven Swinford and Henry Zeffman, “Backstop protects stability in Ireland, Macron tells PM,” Times, August 22, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/find-an-alternative-to-irish-backstop-and-brexit-deal-is-possible-angela-merkel-tells-boris-johnson-dmtfzf9gz

A Pennsylvania high?

Pennsylvania

State legislator David Delloso has introduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania[1] following the governor’s expression of support.[2]

If the drug were to be sold in Pennsylvania, it would be “well taxed and well regulated to protect the kids,” [David] Delloso said in a phone interview with Lancaster Online. “When I was a kid, you knew what bars would sell you a six-pack, but you knew that no matter how hard you tried, you weren’t getting out of a state store with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.”[3]

This would be nothing like California. If passed, personal cultivation would remain illegal and marijuana sales would be legal only through Pennsylvania’s generic “state stores,”[4] presently branded “Fine Wines and Good Spirits,” the only places in the state where hard liquor may be obtained. I’m not seeing here who would cultivate the marijuana or under what conditions.

Hunter Moyler, “Pennsylvania proposes sale of recreational marijuana just days after governor says he supports legalization,” Newsweek, October 2, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/pennsylvania-proposes-sale-recreational-marijuana-just-days-after-governor-says-he-supports-1462756


Brexit

Daniel Boffey and Heather Stewart, “Dismay in Brussels as Boris Johnson finally reveals Brexit plan,” Guardian, October 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/02/boris-johnson-unveils-brexit-plan-for-alternative-to-backstop


Elon Musk

Elon Musk appears to be treating Mars as terra nullius before we have ruled out the existence of some microbes somewhere on the planet and it appears unlikely that colonists can be adequately protected from radiation.[5]

Samantha Rolfe, “Elon Musk’s Starship may be more moral catastrophe than bold step in space exploration,” Science X, October 2, 2019, https://phys.org/news/2019-10-elon-musk-starship-moral-catastrophe.html


  1. [1]Hunter Moyler, “Pennsylvania proposes sale of recreational marijuana just days after governor says he supports legalization,” Newsweek, October 2, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/pennsylvania-proposes-sale-recreational-marijuana-just-days-after-governor-says-he-supports-1462756
  2. [2]Kara Seymour, “PA Governor Calls For Legalizing Recreational Marijuana,” Patch, September 25, 2019, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/baldwin-whitehall/s/gutg4/pa-governor-calls-for-legalizing-recreational-marijuana
  3. [3]Hunter Moyler, “Pennsylvania proposes sale of recreational marijuana just days after governor says he supports legalization,” Newsweek, October 2, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/pennsylvania-proposes-sale-recreational-marijuana-just-days-after-governor-says-he-supports-1462756
  4. [4]Hunter Moyler, “Pennsylvania proposes sale of recreational marijuana just days after governor says he supports legalization,” Newsweek, October 2, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/pennsylvania-proposes-sale-recreational-marijuana-just-days-after-governor-says-he-supports-1462756
  5. [5]Samantha Rolfe, “Elon Musk’s Starship may be more moral catastrophe than bold step in space exploration,” Science X, October 2, 2019, https://phys.org/news/2019-10-elon-musk-starship-moral-catastrophe.html