Monthly Archives: June 2016

Lesson of Brexit

Much to the dismay of the leadership of the UK, the citizens of the UK have voted to leave the European Union. Not by much. The vote was 51.8% in favor of leaving. A scant majority. But enough to overturn an established economic order.

Still, entire regions of the UK voted NOT to leave. Scotland was overwhelmingly in favor of staying joined (62%). London also overwhelmingly in favor (60%). Northern Ireland wanted to remain (56%). But the majority in the rest of Britain did not. And the majority ruled.

Link to map of voting:

No one knows the long term results of this separation. The pundits are having a field day. Mr Obama was sad. Fox News was joyous. As was Donald Trump. Doom and gloom and happiness and joy.

Some see this as a catastrophe for the economy of the UK. With repercussions throughout Europe and even the USA. Nothing investors fear more than instability. No one wants to put their money where it may be unsafe. Especially big investors. Will London cease to be the financial capital of Europe?

Others see this as a strike against globalization and free trade agreements. A strike for independence and freedom for the Brits. The end of the EU. A triumph of nativism and nationalism. Will the rest of the EU follow suit and secede, fragmenting Europe once again?

Of course, the Brits were never fully integrated into the EU anyway. They kept their own currency. They kept control of their borders, except for the flow of capital. And the Brits have always seen themselves as a nation apart (superior to? ) the rest of Europe.

So, what is the lesson learned?

For me the lesson is simple. Representative democracy is not a terribly effective system, but it is the best system human beings have been able to devise. Brexit is an example of what happens when elected leaders refuse to lead. They let emotions, rather than reason, prevail.

Brexit is a good  example of  “direct democracy” in action. A referendum. Letting the people decide. Absolutely idiotic. Referendums are emotional snapshots. They are not the way to make major decisions about longstanding relationships. Run a few more commercials and some people change their vote. Take the same vote next week and have a different result. Appeal to the anti-immigrant sentiment and the complexity of the issue becomes lost.

People are easily swayed by emotional and nationalistic slogans. Make the UK Great Again! Freedom from Tyranny! The EU is taxing us and we get nothing in return!

I can guarantee that most of the people who voted in this referendum know as much about the EU-UK relationship as you or I. Whether they voted for or against, how many actually understood the ties that bind the UK to the EU? How many actually understood the London financial markets and the effect on the pound and euro? How many knew the long  term effects on trading partners like the USA and China?  How many anticipated the slowing of growth over the next 10 years and how that will effect their jobs and income?

Put 10 economists in a tree and shake it. Each one that hits the ground will have a different theory of the effects of Brexit, with all kinds of “data” and predictions. And only one, perhaps none, will be correct.

So, how is the average citizen supposed to understand the complexity of this UK-EU relationship? He simply cannot.  So, he votes based on emotion.

This direct democracy is a failure. Because no matter which side of the issue you were on, the economists and politicians in Parliament and 10 Downing Street understood the issues much better. That is why they were elected. To lead. To make decisions. Not to pass the buck.

So, my lesson learned? We should never have a referendum on the law. Or other important issues. While representatives may not always represent us as we want them to, at least a good portion of them understand issues. And while they USUALLY act slowly, it is better than giving into the whims of emotion. (Think of the Patriot Act as the exception that proves the rule).

The lesson of Brexit? Stick to the awful system of “representative” government. It is still better than the alternatives.

 

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Filed under economics, Elections, Free Trade, Politics, Secede

Things I Don’t Care About

Some Americans seem to care about a lot of things that are really none of their business. And they often want to dictate and make LAWS about the behavior of others. Busybodies.

There are many things I care about. And some things I don’t care about. Here are some things I don’t care about.

  1. Your sexual orientation. I don’t care if you are straight, gay, bi, trans, multiple or none of the above or all of the above. Why should I ?
  2. Your surname. Is it Martinez? Warschowski? O’Flanigan? al-Muamar? von Sternum? Papadopolis? Jones? Takanami? Swennson? Dilorenzo?  Achebe? Sitting Horse? Chou? What does it matter?
  3. Where you were born. New York City, New York . Bumblefuck, Iowa. Oslo, Norway. Campeche, Mexico. Nairobi, Kenya. Xian, China. Mumbai, India. Who cares? Did you CHOOSE to be born in that particular spot on the Earth?
  4. Your marital status. Married. Divorced. Single. Common law married. Annulled. Multiple married. Group married. Why should I care?
  5. How much money you make. Are you a millionaire? A billionaire? On welfare? A day laborer? A silver spoon baby? ? Minimum wage earner? Retired and living off the government (like me) ?  Does your income impact me?
  6. Your skin color. Look at your arm. Is it White? Off-White? Pink? Black? Brown? Brownish? Reddish? Yellowish? Freckled? Does the color of your skin tell me anything useful about your personality?  Whether you are nice or mean? Smart or dumb?
  7. Your religious beliefs. Do you worship Allah? Or Yahweh? Or Jesus? Or the Buddha? Or nothing? Or Vishnu? Or the “Almighty Dollar”? As long as you don’t try to make others  worship what you worship, why should I  care?
  8. What bathroom you use. Do you use the men’s room? The women’s room? The handicapped room? What does it matter to me? As long as you use SOME bathroom,  please.  Just flush.
  9. What you do with your own adult body. Pierce it? Paint it? Tatoo it?  Fatten it up? Run it down? Starve it? Share it with the community? Keep it to yourself? Make babies with it? Don’t make babies with it? End it? It’s your body. It is the only one you are likely to ever have. It should belong to you and you alone. Treat it well. But it’s up to you.

So, I don’t bother caring about things that belong to you and you alone. I have plenty of my own things to care about.  Will my next batch of beer turn out ok? Can I finally get my golf score down to bogey golf?  Will I have to cut the lawn this week? Will Betsy find out where I hid the Hershey kisses? I have enough on my plate. Don’t need to care about everyone else’s personal issues.

And I certainly don’t want to make LAWS about them.

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Filed under government, Politics, Society, US

Throw Down: The Donald vs. Bill

A Throw Down Between The Donald and Bill. With apologies to the cast of “Hamilton” and, well, everyone else with rapping talent. (You have to rap this out loud for full effect)

 

(Moderator)

How does a millionaire billionaire abomination

Win the Republican Party nomination?

He does it with a nasty attitude

He does it with rude, he does it with crude

He does it with bigotry, does it with fear

He tells the Tea Party what they want to hear

He’s Donald Trump the celebrity

The candidate for the G O P

 

Now the former first lady is his opposition

How did a woman put herself in this position?

She worked for the government along with her mate

New York Senator, Secretary of State

She took a lot of crap from multiple sources

In the end she proved she had the resources

To come out on top, she did not stop

She won the nomination, she rode the right horses

She’s the Hillary, the female hope

She’s Hillary, ain’t no dope, nope

 

(Enter Donald Trump)

My name is the Donald so just step away

When I start talking I got something to say

I whipped Little Rubio, took him right down

Stepped on Jeb, made him look like a clown

I’ll say anything, so I can’t lose

If you don’t believe me you can ask Ted Cruz

They are all losers and I am a winner

I ate those chumps for Sunday dinner

Yo…Is that you Bill?

 

(Enter Bill Clinton)

 

My wife is Hillary and she’s on top

She gets inspiration and she just won’t stop

She works all night, she labors all day

She’s always in the office, no time to play

She’s devoted, promoted and working is her tonic-ah

Why do you think I turned to Monica?

Whoa…sorry about that…

 

(Back to Trump)

If Hill wants to know what I am thinking

Here’s how her ship of state I’ll be sinking

Talking bout Bill, how she found him whores

And she must be a lesbo, that’s for sure

Hillary’s a maniac, Hillary’s a liar

By the time I’m done she’ll want to retire

She’s a pimp for Bill, a shill for the Street

She does nasty women stuff. She’ll be easy to beat

Nasty women stuff…she’s got cooties…..

 

(Back to Bill Clinton)

OK Donald you continue talking trash

But Hill’s gonna whip you, gonna kick your ass

It’s true that my life is far from perfection

Many ladies have benefitted from my affection

But Trump, you’re a chump if you think you get away

With talking that trash. I got something to say

I know I’ve done many things that I shouldn’t oughta,

But I never fantasized about my own daughter.

I may have bragged that Chelsea was a cutie

But you talked about banging your own kid’s booty

You is sick man…Really sick…..

 

(Back to Trump)

People like hearing all the things I say

Like rounding up Mooslims – sending them away

Keeping out the immigrant Mexican slime

By building a wall nobody can climb

I’ll be doing what the people say I oughta

Like shooting to kill at the Mexican border

One more issue, blown out of proportion

Put women in the bin if they want an abortion

The Roe v Wade don’t mean nothing to me

I’m the king who decides who‘s in jail and who’s free.

The people want a leader who preaches hate

Isn’t that what made America Great?

Black Lives Matter…but not to me….

 

(Back to Clinton)

Donald you are dreaming if you think you can

Undo all the good things we have in this land

Women have rights to control their own body

Even though you don’t know what they do in the potty.

Freedom of Religion – it’s the Bill of Rights , say,

So you ain’t gonna drive no Muslims away.

You can fool the fools and the Fox News sheeple

But you ain’t gonna fool the American people

Your message of bigotry is losing fast

Your words of hate are from a long dead past

People aren’t buying your denial of diversity

Go home. Build yourself another phony university.

Hillary’s got the moxey, Hill has the brains

Hill’s gonna bury you – I feel your pain’

You claim to be a financial wiz

Even though your businesses tend to fiz

I’m not trying to be a mean-oh

But who goes bankrupt running a casino?

Bottom line Donald, you are nothing but a brand

You live in a castle but it’s built on sand.

So…now…you know what you know….

 

(Moderator)

So now we’re back to the moderator

We won’t know, the results come later

You best take a moment of deep reflection

Cuz this is a monumental election

Either Donald or Hillary will be the next president

Either Donald or Hillary — a White House resident.

In November you’re gonna have to choose

One’s gonna win, one’s gonna lose

The world wants to know, who is going to be

The commander-in-chief of the land of the free

So…don’t be a dope..when you vote..think about it

A lot…then .. think some more

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Filed under candidate, Clinton, Democrat, Elections, GOP, Hillary, jeb bush, Politics, POTUS, president, Republicans, Trump