Thursday, March 30, 2017

Refugees, Citizens And Rentier-Monopolists


What should happen to the 16 year old Gambian youth, found clinging to debris, after the boat sank and 146 people died? Is he an object? An object of pity, of fear, of scorn?
Dozens of people are feared to have drowned after a rubber boat carrying migrants and refugees from Libya sank in the Mediterranean. The sole survivor – a 16-year-old Gambian boy – told rescuers that 146 other people were on board when the boat sank.

This article by a conservative Briton, a Member of European Parliament for the next almost-two years, walks a fine line of shading in many ways, but is also excellently written and with broad insights into just what is going on with populism/democracy-vs-oligarchy/globalism. Here's one:
"I spent part of last summer volunteering in a hostel for underage migrants in the south of Italy. The boys staying there had come mainly from West Africa, and some had undertaken truly Odyssean journeys across first the Sahara and then the Mediterranean. They were courageous, resourceful, optimistic lads, and the more time I spent with them, the more convinced I became that, in their position, I’d have done exactly as they had... When we met people being landed by the Italian coastguard, their first question was often “Where can I get Wi-Fi?” I don’t mean to suggest that, because they had smartphones, they weren’t in need. On the contrary, the phone was often their only possession of value. Smartphones are the key to the whole migratory phenomenon, making possible the transfers of credit and information that allow young people to move from Nigeria or Eritrea through Sicily or Greece into Northern Europe. To their grandparents, living on subsistence agriculture, such a trek would have been unthinkable."
(Do you think they want to tell their parents and grandparents that they are alive? I'm crying...)

What is the starting point for Brexit negotiation? Is it "You pay 60 billion Euros, then we talk", or is it "We'll talk about whether we have enough shared interests to come to an agreement"? Mish Shedlock makes the case that partners are equal here, and that Britain is better leaving with no deal than agreeing to  60 billion Euro debt at the outset, much better. It's what Theresa May said. It has been widely decried, but it's likely correct.

Each of the EU 27 (new name for EU minus UK) countries has specific national interests going into negotiation. They are detailed in this very useful rundown, country by country. All countries are interested in citizens at home and in other countries being well treated. Nobody wants sudden displacements, so that seems like something which might be agreed amicably. (I read that 86% of Britons want the rights of guest-workers in the UK respected, too.) The next issue is that Brexit happens in Spring 2019, but the current EU budget runs through 2020, and the UK is a substantial net-payer into a budget which is already committed. This can screw everybody, one way or another, big-time. The other net-paying countries really can't afford more. Sweden clearly states this. The net recipient countries, like Slovenia, will default on railroads being built without those funds. It looks to me like there will have to be some kind of transition through the 2020 budget period, not a hard 2 year cutoff. What do you think? There are a lot of specific national interests in play, which are divergent from EU 27 interests, and would tend to take precedence if the EU 27 looked likely to dissolve. Britain, itself could devolve if Ireland re-unified, which is an open option, which nobody wants to deny to the Irish. What about Scotland? Better vote again, quick, Scotland!

"What Working People Want, as Article 50 is Triggered" (Hey, she says what I said.)
"We want the negotiations to deal swiftly and fairly with the terrible uncertainty facing EU citizens living and working in the UK – making a valuable contribution to society and the economy, keeping the health and social care system going and paying their taxes – as well as UK citizens in the rest of Europe... And finally, we want an early recognition that negotiating a new relationship between the UK and the EU might take longer than two years, so a transitional period will be needed, with the current arrangements over workplace rights, single market membership and the role of the ECJ in place until the final deal is implemented."

US Federal Reserve graph and comment are presented here without further reflections.

Hidden Monopolies Raise Drug Prices: Important article about why drugs costs so much and pharmacists are getting screwed. Secretive, middle-man monopolies have taken over the payments for prescriptions, and nobody can tell what they are skimming. Pharmacists get paid less than their cost on many prescriptions, regularly, and can't tell what they will get paid until the computer spits it out, different each time. It's monopolies at work raising-rents again, and appears to be getting worse. North Dakota doesn't allow it, and North Dakota is doing great. (Outlaw North Dakota!)

Democrats Against Single Payer: Yeah, I need that explained to me again, too. Why are Democratic politicians closing ranks against something that most of their constituents want? Yeah, of course, "dance with who brung ya", and it isn't the "untouchables", er "detestables", um "human hairballs", or whatever it was that Hillary Clinton said.

Trojan Whores

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