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 The year 2018

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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

The year 2018 Empty
PostSubject: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyTue Dec 11, 2018 12:43 am

As the year winds down, it is time for reflection on past events – the good, the bad and the ugly.
I believe that Trump has been a positive influence for public awareness.  He has shown us what self-serving and greed can do to a person and even a country.  He has demonstrated what lack of compassion means.   He has also shown the effectiveness in using religion and the flag for political purposes.  He brought attention to the need for critical thinking to prevent the repetition of lies from being accepted as truth.   And finally, he has made us aware of the importance of education.  In the age of information, one can find the answers to most any question by searching.  In my view, reading is the best way for learning. 
It is not just problems in the USA, but there are problems in other countries affecting the lives of citizens.  In the UK, the problems associates with Brexit are still being debated.  In France, people are taking to the streets in protest against the government’s lack of attention to the welfare of its citizens.  In the Middle East, the devastating effects of military operations in Yemen with people starving to death is still an unresolved dilemma.  In Gaza, the Palestinians continue to suffer from Israeli occupation.   Migrants fleeing poverty and persecution in South America are heading to the US border seeking safety.  Climate change is affecting the lives of people over the globe with dire predictions of a future calamity.  There is unrest in Germany gaining momentum expected to surface in an ugly way within the coming year.  The reasons are numerous with a common thread – quality of life.  Most of these events, in my view, is power and greed, a subject that needs discussion. 
Why do people seek a position of power?  Is winning everything?  How do good intentions evolve into evil?  What role does religion play in today’s problems?   Is it our duty to be actively involved in seeking solutions or do we remain passive as observers?
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12624
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyTue Dec 11, 2018 3:15 am

They say we get the governments we deserve by electing them. The government the UK elected is in danger of falling apart. We have a prime minister who is determined to pursue "her deal or no deal". Sounds like something President Trump might say. "I'm going to build that wall..." from him, "It's my deal or no deal ..." from her.

Strong leadership has its downside. Theresa May says she is a bloody difficult woman, which she has proved over and over again. Unfortunately, her stubbornness is against her own cabinet, and her weakness all too evident in negotiations with the EU.

When cabinet discussed the draft Withdrawal Agreement, they allowed the difficult woman to browbeat them into accepting the term of the Withdrawal Agreement when, instead, they should have sent her back to the EU with an amended agreement that parliament would pass. Having failed to stop her, the task of renegotiating the terms of the agreement are more difficult than they would have been.

I have been posting tweets on twitter stating that the PM still believes that her Chequers proposal will form the basis of a trade deal. Today, a treasury committee expressed its concerns that the government's predictions for the economy after Brexit are predicated on the Chequers proposal, and not on a trade deal as outlined in the Political Declaration of the Withdrawal Agreement. More evidence that the PM believes that her plan will succeed after the UK leaves the EU, but there's nothing to support this outcome. We watch as things unfold, wondering what will happen next.

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Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
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Abe F. March
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

The year 2018 Empty
PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyTue Dec 11, 2018 7:04 am

Interesting, Shelagh.  I watched the session in the British Parliament yesterday and it appears that the PM does not have full support of her negotiated exit plan.  Some members are suggesting another referendum vote while others insist on staying with the existing referendum as “The will of the people”.  Her planned trip to the EU for another round of talks doesn’t appear wise without some prior consensus with the members of Parliament.  It should be understood that an outside view, such as mine, it simply an impression.  The few Brits I have met in Germany are opposed to Britain leaving the EU.  Their concern is primarily based on how it will affect them personally.  I get the impression that the exit has more to do with power, politically and economically, than with what is best for the citizens. I was intrigued watching the activity and debate within the Parliament.
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12624
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Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyTue Dec 11, 2018 4:58 pm

This evening, Mary-Lou McDonald, told Theresa May the backstop was “non-negotiable” and demanded an Irish unity referendum in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

She and Pearse Doherty, the Sinn Féin Irish parliament member, spoke to May for about 20 minutes on Tuesday. McDonald said:

"We raised concerns that we are facing into a no deal or a crash Brexit which would be a disaster for Ireland. And we reminded Mrs May that, in those circumstances, a unity referendum must be called as a matter of urgency."

This is blackmail. It's unacceptable that a prime minister should be open to this kind of threat. Mrs. May should resign.

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Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
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Abe F. March
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

The year 2018 Empty
PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyWed Dec 12, 2018 12:37 am

Theresa May’s trip to European leaders produced nothing, according to the news.  No new negotiations are possible, they say.  With the uproar in the British Parliament, there is the possibility that she will receive a “no confidence” vote and be on her way out.  It seems that the “shit has hit the fan” and is stinking.  There are questions being raised about the political propaganda leading up to the Brexit referendum to influence the vote.   Now that there is more information available to the public concerning the ramifications in leaving the EU, I suspect that another vote would have different results.  Having said that, there is still the responsibility of the government to honor agreements as well as govern according to the will of the people.
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12624
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Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyWed Dec 12, 2018 4:13 am

This evening's vote of no confidence is a defining moment in the Brexit process. Without the support of those 48 MPs who submitted letters to trigger the no confidence vote, the Withdrawal Agreement cannot pass through parliament. Whether the PM narrowly wins or not, she cannot govern without the support of her MPs.

The EU will not reopen negotiations with the PM; at least 48 MPs will not vote through the Withdrawal Agreement. The only outcome is to leave without a deal. The PM therefore has no authority to lead the party. Go or stay,  she is a lame-duck leader who has lost control of her party and Brexit negotiations. She doesn't even have the guts to resign. A bloody difficult woman, but a weak one.

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Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
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Abe F. March
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

The year 2018 Empty
PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyWed Dec 12, 2018 5:52 am

So sad to see a once celebrated leader discarded.  I wish that the US had a similar policy of "no confidence" to eliminate Trump.  The only process available in the US is impeachment or better still, annullment of his Presidency that would reverse all the things he did.
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12624
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyThu Dec 13, 2018 6:31 am

Jacob Jonker posted this comment on the LSE (London School of Economics) blog on November 16, 2018. It sums up my thoughts.

Yes, I’ve been thinking about this. Obviously, the then Cameron government never expected to “lose” the referendum. Cameron was never content to allow the country a free vote. As I said afterwards, the government should have taken a neutral position on the matter, beyond laying out the issues, the basic parameters and the consequences of the binary choice. Virtually the entire Establishment was, and is, in favour of the UK’s EU membership and the inevitable, as it then appeared, EU federalisation project.

As we know, both the government and most of the Establishment campaigned hard to convince people to vote remain. Most of the bureaucracy also put in their tuppence worth against Leave. This, imo, poisoned the referendum. It is one thing for the government to state its position as it lays out its case and warn of the, perhaps dire, consequences of voting against what the government fairly, genuinely or otherwise believes to come to pass if people vote against what the govment deems wise. Cameron and the elites from everywhere went further. They played hard ball and thought they could easily prevent the people voting Leave. It looked a real surprise when it went Leave. They were not prepared, and they were not preppared to honour the result, despite all the noises they had been making and continued to put about, from May downwards the official line was Brexit means Brexit, not counting the remain dissenters in government and the political arena.

The plan to fool the people must have been hatched at once, we now know. Honestly, in hindsight, how could one conclude otherwise. Were the Remainers in government mesmerised by the globalisation meme and the EU federalisation project to the degree they could not see what they were doing? No, they are not as daft as they appear to be cabbage-looking. The Remainers in government and the body politic UK are on the same wavelength as the EU apparatchiks and the wider globalisation thing -- the nation-state, in the West at least, they are hell-bent on destroying. Democracy must go, and it is clear, many citizens in the West, even allowing for trolls and shills, appear to be convinced that democracy is dead, or ought to be.

So, Cameron did a runner and May the politburo bot took on the project to level Brexit back into some kind of Remain. The alternative scenario, that the May government were to and could negotiate a forward promise of a deal to be done after Brexit is really rather far-fetched. Surely, they could not be as stupid as that? Sure, everybody, almost, who has been interested in Brexit and followed what happened, has been infected and seemingly totally imbued with the notion that the UK should and could negotiate a deal while still tied to the apron strings of the EU Commissariat, or whoever really calls the shots there. Don’t tell us the .EU parliament socalled drives this project.

So, May put the UK in an impossible negotiating position. I think, on purpose. Brexit proper, the Establishment had already determined, was never going to happen. May was perhaps well-suited to take the UK out, had she wanted to, and, had she indeed wanted to, she would have had to think about how to do it, which was not on her list of things to do. So, it was a complete balls-up if they meant for Brexit to happen, but I think they fudged it on purpose. However much UK business hated it, they should have chosen to allow a proper negotiating position for the UK. Get out first, prepare the ground, let the EU come to you with proposals,etc.,etc, and come the day of freedom, the package to be offered to the EU should be ready, should have been ready. Two years have been wasted in that regard. However, now the people, here, there and everywhere, for evermore, know what duplicitous and mendaciously Machiavellian bar stewards most politicians really are.

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I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
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Abe F. March
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyThu Dec 13, 2018 11:06 am

Wow, Shelagh.  That was a mouthful.  You obviously thought this thing through, unlike those in government. Democracy has taken a hit in many countries as we are witnessing in the US.  The German bubble has burst and Merkel is on her way out.  Too much power for too long a period blinds politicians to the needs of the people as Macron is finding in France.  Intelligent people are not easily duped.
2019 promises to be an eventful year.
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

Number of posts : 12624
Registration date : 2008-01-11
Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyTue Dec 18, 2018 4:58 am

The PM survived the vote of no confidence, and now faces the same from the opposition party. Jeremy Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence in the prime minister, but the government won't allow a debate this week, so his hopes of forcing a meaningful vote on the withdrawal agreement before Christmas have been squashed.

The government is now actively ramping up preprations for a no-deal exit from the EU. It's the least liked option on both sides: EU and UK. Leave voters are the only ones in favour of leaving without a deal in place, mainly because they have become desensitised to project fear. The present threats about the effect of a no-deal outcome on jobs and the economy have low impact. Unemployment is at an all-time low and despite all warnings, the economy is strong enough for the chancellor of the exchequer to announce in the autumn budget that austerity was coming to an end, which means more spending on public services. Even though he said that this all depended on achieving a deal with the EU, after eight years of austerity government spending, the threat of that continuing is not likely to have much impact.

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Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
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Abe F. March
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

The year 2018 Empty
PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyTue Dec 18, 2018 7:40 am

I was watching the debate on CNN.  It is a dilemma to be sure, however there is now a more informed citizenry that influences decisions of their government representatives.  Reporter commentaries suggest that outside influence played a role in the referendum vote, namely Putin. It is clear that Russia influenced American elections.  Subsequently, the breakup of the EU was endorsed by both Trump and Putin further denigrating the existence of NATO.  The UK has been an integral part of the NATO alliance that was established for Western security.  “The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. NATO was the first peacetime military alliance the United States entered into outside of the Western Hemisphere.” (Wikipedia).
It is difficult for those outside the UK not to be concerned about UK’s domestic politics.  Brexit has become an international concern with the unknown ramifications viewed as the weakening  of Europe.  Fear of the unknown is alive.  While some are concerned about short-term benefits, others are concerned about the long-term effect.  The “divide and conquer” strategy goes back to the days of Julius Caesar and has been used effectively by strategists since that time.  We have even heard songs using the words, “united we stand, divided we fall…” The ulterior motives of major changes come into question.  Being part of a program with just one foot in lacks total commitment and can be viewed as a weak link lending itself to division.
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

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Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyTue Dec 18, 2018 8:13 am

The government backed the remain campaign in the referendum, and spent £9 millon on distributing a leaflet to every household supporting remaining in the EU. Anything the leave campaign did was up against the government, media and remain campaign. Persuading leave voters to not change their mind became the biggest difficulty facing the leave campaign. If Putin did that, he only helped to confirm the minds of leavers, not to persuade remain voters to vote leave. I suspect the same is true of the US presidential election.

The biggest divide in the UK is between the rich and the poor. The financial sector provides incomes many times above the national average, whereas European migrant workers are paid the minimum wage. Affluent British citizens sit in the sunshine at Wimbledon eating cheap strawberries by the mega ton, picked by migrant workers. We live in a lopsided world.

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Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
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Abe F. March
Five Star Member
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyTue Dec 18, 2018 9:38 am

You hit on the major problem - inequality. 

Status is still an active issue.  People are referenced as belonging to “upper class”, “middle class” and “lower class”.  I doubt that we will ever have a classless society.  The “upper-class” will fight to protect their status and they have the resources to do it. 
“Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” (Aristotle)
“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."  (John F. Kennedy)
The lower class – the have-nots, will take only so much before they revolt.  I expect revolution to occur within my lifetime.    It is not something I want, but see it inevitable unless there is some drastic change in government.   Democratic socialism may be the solution.
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Abe F. March
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Abe F. March

Number of posts : 10720
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 80
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyWed Dec 19, 2018 2:46 am

Tony Blair has jumped into the Brexit fray.  He is an intelligent person and one that I respect.  He was duped into supporting GWB’s invasion of Iraq, but apologized for it.  That is a rare, but an honorable trait for someone in government.  As of this day, GWB has never apologized for his actions nor has Cheney.  I believe that Cheney was put placed in position as VP because Bush Senior didn’t believe that his son had the capacity to function as President.  Cheney became the proxy President, however his greed led to the invasion for Iraq’s oil.  His company made billions with the Iraq fiasco.  The loss of lives, both Iraqi and that of the coalition forces, can be blamed on the GWB administration.  Forgiveness cannot be given unless there is admission of guilt.
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Shelagh
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Shelagh

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Location : UK

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PostSubject: Re: The year 2018   The year 2018 EmptyWed Dec 19, 2018 8:30 am

Even if parliament agreed to a second referendum, and sufficient numbers in support are not there at the moment, the present situation would not be resolved. The remain camp want remain as an option on the ballot. To be truly democratic, leave would have to be the alternative option. If leave won again, nothing will have changed and nothing will have been resolved. This is put foward as an argument for putting the Withdrawal Agreement as one option and remain as the other.

A referendum would only take place if the Withdrawal Agreement failed to pass through parliament. Asking the electorate to vote to change a parliamentary vote is absurd. MPs would be admitting that they had failed, and would be asking the electorate to tell them what to do next, after giving them a clear mandate in 2016 to leave the EU, with or without a deal.

Leaving without a deal is unpopular with most MPs, but leave voters think it's better than the deal Mrs. May negotiated. It is unlikely that the EU will allow the UK to leave without a deal. The primary purpose of the backstop is to prevent the UK leaving on WTO terms. The only deal possible, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, would prevent a hard Irish border. That means the UK cannot leave on WTO rules, which would create a requirement for some kind of customs checks. The UK would have to agree to allow Northern Ireland to remain aligned with the EU, on separate rules to the rest of the UK. This is unacceptable. It is also blackmail, which is why the prime minister is being forced to go back to the EU to renegotiate.

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I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
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