If Smartest Man Ever, Trump, Had No Idea What Brexit Was, How Could Average Brit Be Expected To Know?

 

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I hate to be writing about this Brexit disaster.  After all, the week began on such a promising note, with the NBA’s Cavaliers reminding us why sports has always been the truly great, original reality show that can delight and deliver the seemingly impossible.  Inexcusably mixing metaphors, Cleveland’s 2016 basketball miracle is about to give way to a Republican Convention that could end up adding to the one-word descriptions of previous sports-related disasters that plagued the city. “Believeland” is the ESPN documentary that chronicles those Cleveland failures… to be reedited by June 30!  The Fumble, The Drive, The Shot…. say hello to The Oaf. Synonyms include The lout, boor, barbarian, Neanderthal,fool, dolt, dullardidiotimbecile, moron, halfwit, lamer, cretin, ass, jackass, goon, yahooclodblockhead, meathead, butthead, meatball, bonehead, knucklehead, chuckleheadlamebrain, palooka, lug, bozo, hoser, boob, chowderhead, lummox, knuckle-draggergaloot, klutz, goofus, doofus, dork, turkey, or dingbat.

The week ended with the world holding its breath over what may turn out to be the worst British miscalculation since 1938. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had returned from sharing tea with Adolph Hitler and stoodScreen Shot 2016-06-26 at 12.22.58 PM in the same spot in front of 10 Downing St. that current PM David Cameron occupied while announcing his resignation last Friday. Chamberlain said:

We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again….My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is “peace for our time.” Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.

The major difference between the two decisions is that the Brexit vote was just that… a UK-wide referendum, not the judgement of one politician, as was Munich.  That doesn’t make it any better, wiser, or any less subject to regret.  It’s never a sure thing, but when given the choice, defendants often pick one judge over a jury of their so-called peers to decide their fate.  There’s no right answer, but the Brexit vote may actually disprove Winston Churchill’s quoting that “many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…”  It must be remembered, right now, that the world, led by the United States, decided two world wars emanating from Europe in the 20th Century was enough, and that economic ties via the European Union and its predecessors would go far to prevent a third.  The old adage that democracies don’t go to war with each other was a foundational idea.

I can’t recall in any election such a stark, generational divide.   From The Daily Mail in a perfectly headlined piece This vote doesn’t represent the younger generation who will have to live with the consequences’: Millennials vent fury at baby boomers for voting Britain OUT of the EU,” Lily Bowen wrote: ‘Older generations really don’t realize how badly this will affect our future #EUref.’…. While Matt Cooper tweeted: ‘Brilliant, once again the older generations get to decide what’s best and we’ve got to pickup the pieces #EUref.’  I can’t see how you keep a society together with grandparents voting what they think are their short-term interests at the expense of the grandkids.

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You had to know the Brexit outcome was a bad decision when delusional golf-course empresario Donald Trump flew to Scotland, where they voted heavily to remain, and ignorantly pronounced himself both prescient and understanding of what just happened. Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 11.32.19 AM

 

 

Only after November 8th will we know if Trump will have gotten away with this kind of garbage…. and that’s being nice to garbage…. blowing two full days of what’s left of his intellectually and financially bankrupt campaign– bigfooting his way to promote another business failure, with the world press in tow, for the free publicity.  As more and more of Trump’s con-man frauds, scams, and general Fleecing of America Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 11.17.07 AMschemes are revealed, your hopes rest with the truth punching through and hitting enough Americans upside the head that he gets slaughtered in the general.  Here’s another we’re just learning about: Cambridge Who’s Who. What? Huh?  The New York Times says Cambridge “generated hundreds of complaints that it deceptively peddled the promise of recognition in a registry, as well as branding and networking services of questionable value. Dozens of people who paid Trump-endorsed businesses were also sold products by Cambridge, which benefited from its partnership with Donald Trump Jr. through “leveraging relationships built by the Trump empire,” according to Cambridge.  Trump is like the John Wayne Gacy of politicians: every time you think you’ve found all the dead bodies buried beneath the floorboards, a few more gruesomely appear.

Is it possible for a huge swath of a country to make a move based on a miscalculation based on misinformation resulting in mass buyers’ instant remorse and regret?  It may be, in this case.  Millions have already signed petitions calling for a second vote, and many of those are people who voted to leave. It’s quite clear that disinformation, ignorance, and nationalistic emotion took hold with a whole new level of sticking it to the man, to the intellectuals, to anyone in power with no regard to the consequences. The Bregretters! How some voters who backed Leave vote now claim they want to STAY in the EU . . . ‘I didn’t think my vote would count’ 

Sorry, Brits.  You’re not going to get a do-over anymore than the Republican Party is going to get a do-over in Cleveland.  The difference, so far, is that Brexit has immediate and long-term damage components to it; the nomination of Trump as the Republican candidate is not a final decision by the entirety of the American electorate.   There are no Lincolns in British politics, and we have none here right now.  Lincoln said this in December of 1862:

We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.

Brexit: The Next Year in the UK

June 30, 2016–In a tragic misunderstanding, The Duchess of Cambridge throws Prince William‘s wardrobe and personal effects onto the front lawn of Kensington Palace, saying that she had to expedite the process, as, in the future, there would be fewer immigrants to help her with the task

July 4, 2016–Donald Trump produces a gigantic American-themed fireworks show near the London Eye, complete with John Philip Sousa marches blaring to the crowd and free nachos for everyone. Many people who voted for the Brexit seem happy, but a little confused by the celebration

July 5, 2016–Trump declares his intention to stick around for a few days in England to help dismantle the NHS. This offer is roundly rejected, but Trump saves face by giving out coupons for free rounds of golf

Credit: CNN
Credit: CNN

August 13, 2016–In another misunderstanding, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley ships the entire state surplus of confederate flags to Queen Elizabeth

September 10, 2016–Sir Paul McCartney briefly considers renouncing his British citizenship and becoming Canadian, but quickly decides it’s not that bad

November 12, 2016–Following Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election, the President-Elect phones the Queen and asks if there’s anything that would not allow him to also be Prime Minister. Queen Elizabeth faints, but, fortunately, is caught by three servants before she can suffer a concussion

December 15, 2016–President-Elect Trump threatens to bomb Scotland if they decide to stay in the European Union. White House aides change the nuclear codes for the sixth time that day

February 9, 2017–Former Prime Minister David Cameron is seen weeping as he strolls through the streets of London mumbling “What went wrong? Who am I? Why am I here?”

Cameron

March 21, 2017–The English Tourism Commission releases their new slogan “Still Zika Virus Free”

April 8, 2017–A special commission releases it’s findings that the alarming lack of violence at football matches is due to a national malaise over the Brexit. Fortunately, a majority of Britons still think Manchester United are rubbish

May 26, 2017–After being taunted by Germany for the better part of a year over the effects of the Brexit, England bans German porn. This triggers an economic crisis, but President Trump promises that America will step in to consume even more than ever before

 

Why Brits and US Republicans Should Just STFU About Obama’s Brexit Stand

 

 

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I have no idea how this important vote will go.  Passionate views about immigration, Muslims, Britishness, sovereignty, borders, assimilation or lack of it…. the issues revolving around whether Britain should stay in the European Union or should it go touch every third rail ever forged.  It’s their choice.

The President of the United States, not surprisingly, has an opinion on which way he would like the vote to turn out. Back in April, he appeared alongside Prime Minister David Cameron urging stay, and even penned a column in the UK Telegraph that was titled: Barack Obama: As your friend, let me say that the EU makes Britain even greater that began this way:

“In 1939, President Franklin D Roosevelt offered a toast to King George VI in the White House. “I am persuaded that the greatest single contribution our two countries have been enabled to make to civilisation, and to the welfare of peoples throughout the world,” he said, “is the example we have jointly set by our manner of conducting relations between our two nations.”

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Not surprisingly, the first polls taken after the president’s “intervention” in British domestic affairs (having an opinion qualified as intervention for the purposes of public opinion polling) showed backlash movement against Obama’s urging to stay in the Union and anywhere from 55-60% disapproval that he even would render a public view in the first place. How dare he, of course. This may have been payback, 52 years in waiting, for the negative reviews seen here when the Beatles first arrived in America in 1964.  World-renowned rightwing music critic William F. Buckley had written in September of that year: The Beatles are not merely awful; I would consider it sacrilegious to say anything less than that they are god awful. They are so unbelievably horribly, so appallingly unmusical, so dogmatically insensitive to the magic of the art that they qualify as crowned heads of anti-music, even as the imposter popes went down in history as “anti-popes.”  

Even more not surprisingly, Republicans lectured President Obama for his unpresidential, out-of-line, possibly illegal, maybe impeachable-offense-level buttinsky tactics. On Monday 6/20, the Hill reported that…

Senators Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah) and Jeff Sessions (Alabama) warned the President in a Monday letter not to try to influence Great Britain’s Thursday referendum to stay in the EU or leave, dubbed the Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 10.12.39 AM“Brexit.” The senators wrote that the U.S. should take “no official position” on the referendum, objecting to comments Obama made about it in April.“Regardless of the outcome of the United Kingdom’s referendum,” the senators wrote, “we firmly believe that the United States and the United Kingdom should continue to work closely together for the benefit of all.”

Just how upset were those three Senators when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was invited over-the-head of the President to lobby the US Congress about the Iran nuclear deal?  Not very.  In fact, they were thrilled.  Was Netanyahu’s an “official position,” that could be construed as intervention in our domestic politics?  The answer is that of course Netanyahu was trying to influence the congressional vote… he did nothing illegal.. he was allowed to have an opinion… but ultimately failed and the deal went through.  Same rules apply to the President of the United States being perfectly within his rights to opine on the crucial Brexit vote.  So the Obama Double Standard stands…. and is not to be defied by any Republican Senator, ever. Let the hypocrisy and disrespect drip all the way to January 20, 2017.

In the end, no matter the outcome of the vote, we’ll be by the Brits’ side and they will be by ours.  As we were 75 years ago in WWII.

The British hardly have clean hands here.  Hang in with me. Much of the current American voter anger, strife, racial animus, and distrust of government goes far back in American History. You could even make the case that Donald Trump is the living embodiment of every divisive grievance you can think of, rolled into one, going back hundreds of years…..  that brings us to the US Civil War, more than 150 years ago.  Military History Monthly reminds us that

“When the South seceded in early 1861, it possessed at most 10% of the industrial base of the former Union. The young Confederacy would go on to make heroic efforts to create an industrial base, but even at its best could produce only a small fraction of the needs of a nation at war.

‘How, then, did the Confederacy fight on so long and bitterly? The output of British factories, mills, shipyards, and arsenals flooded through the Union blockade of Southern ports to provide the bulk of Confederate needs. Without that massive support, the Confederacy would surely have collapsed within 12 to 18 months. Given that the bloodiest years of the war were 1863-1865, it was British material support that allowed the vast majority of the blood-letting to occur.”

It could be just me, but I consider British military and industrial support for the South in the Civil War just a bit more explicit and interventionist than a politician, even a president, merely having an opinion on an upcoming vote.  It took Teddy Roosevelt, some 50 years later, to put the Civil War animosity to bed, forging the partnership we’ve had for more than 100 years.  Let the Brexit fish and chips fall where they may.

 

 

Litmus Test Questions For 2016 Know-Nothing Party Nominee Donald J. Trump

  • John W. Traphagan, Professor of Religious Studies and Human Dimensions of Organizations, University of Texas, Austin describes the Know-Nothing Party like this, via Huffington Post:

In the middle part of the 19th Century a political party, formally called The American Party, but known widely as the Know Nothing Party operated on a national scale in the U.S. promoting nativist, anti-immigration sentiments. Members of the Know Nothings were elected to Congress and they even nominated former President Millard Fillmore for the 1856 election, despite the fact that he was neither a party member nor a nativist.

The party’s platform emphasized purifying American politics using anti-Catholic, nativist rhetoric that pandered to popular fears about the German and Irish Catholic immigrants. The Know Nothings claimed that Catholicism was contrary to the values of a republic, because Catholics owed ultimate allegiance to the Pope. They could not be loyal American citizens. The party, whose membership was limited to Protestant men, feared the growing flow of immigrants from Europe and elsewhere and claimed these immigrants undermined American lifestyles and values and stole jobs from “native born” Americans.

Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it?  Donald Trump proved once more (in case you weren’t sure) that he knows nothing about anything beyond the repetitive droning of cheap, unsustainable, lowest-common denominator, populist applause lines from his White Man’s Burden menu.  He was asked by Hollywood Reporter journalist Michael Wolff for his position on Brexit, a top-of-mind international issue the past 6-months.  His answer, via Marketwatch:

“Huh?” 

“Brexit,” Wolff continued. 

“Hmm,” Trump said. 

“The Brits leaving the EU,” Wolff prompted.

“Oh yeah,” Trump then said. “I think they should leave.”

 Trump’s position on the issue isn’t new. In early May, he said Britain would be better off without the EU. “I would say that they are better off without it, personally, but I’m not making a recommendation, just my feeling,” he said in an interview on Fox News. The position put him at odds with both U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama. But Trump’s unfamiliarity with the term left some scratching their heads.

Was asking about Brexit a trick question?  An unfair ambush like the ones that creep specializes in on Bill OReilly’s show?  Something that Trump could and should hardly be expected to know about?  Similar or different than candidate George W. Bush whiffing on being quizzed in 1999 about who the leaders were of Chechnya, Singapore, Pakistan, and Taiwan? Equal to or even more biased than Katie Couric asking Trump cheerleader Sarah Palin what newspapers she read?

The answer is that, of course, Trump oughta know about this important vote, instead of looking like one of those people Jimmy Kimmel’s show interviews on the street in his Lie Witness News segments.  People have a mic shoved in their face and are asked a completely nonsensical question, to which they confidently respond because they don’t want to show they don’t know the subject matter.  Here they are asked about Supreme Court nominees Sammy Hagar, George Harrison, and Whitey Bulger:

Trump is a brilliant, scheming, calculating, con-man, phony-baloney, media-savvy, media-hogging, demagogic, race-baiting, power-hungry fraud who at heart is a simple ignoramus.  So, I’ve prepared some fairer but ultimately revealing NEW gotcha questions for him that aren’t really gotcha questions.  But as Trump might say, I’m a “horrible person” who’s “not nice.”

LeBron or Steph?

How Much is a gallon of whole milk today? A gallon of regular gas, too.

Paper or plastic….. and why?

Big Mac or Whopper?

Brexit or Xarelto? And name as many celebs who endorse it as possible. (Chris Bosh, Arnold Palmer, Kevin Nealon, Brian Vickers)

Capital of Kentucky (1000 to 1 he says Louisville)

Ginger or Mary Ann and why…

Orange Crush was the name of what famous football team’s defense?

Who was Goldwater’s VP?

What is your favorite Jewish Holiday that you celebrate with your daughter Ivanka and her family?

Favorite Salsa:  Pace, Tostitos, Newman’s Own, or name another

Favorite Mexican Beer:  Corona, Modelo, Dos Equis, or name another

Favorite American Star of Mexican Descent:  Fergie, Demi Lovato, Uma Thurman, Louis CK, or name another