One Year After Referendum, Brexit Questions Remain Unanswered

The Houses of Parliament in London, England, February 19, 2013
The Houses of Parliament in London, England, February 19, 2013 (Martin Robson)

A year has passed since Britain voted to leave the European Union and huge questions remain unanswered.

Jon Worth lists a few at his blog:

  • What’s going to happen to Britain’s £700 billion trade with the EU?
  • How many planes will be allowed to fly across the Channel once Britain exits Europe’s open-skies regime?
  • How long is it going to take to assess and renegotiate 759 international treaties Britain is currently part of as a member of the EU?
  • What will happen to the European Health Insurance Card and the 27 million Brits who have one?

The deadline for a Brexit deal is March 2019, but some of these questions need to be answered sooner. Businesses want to make plans. Airlines, health insurers, hospitals, logistics companies and merchants can’t wait and hope for the best. Read more

The United Republics: A Peace Plan for America

Clare Trainor's proposal for high-speed rail connections between seven American megaregions
Clare Trainor’s proposal for high-speed rail connections between seven American megaregions

The 2016 election was a turning point in American history. Cultural, political and regional differences have become so vast that the American political system is becoming unsustainable. There are two fundamentally different visions of what this country should be and the current federal system does not allow these differences to be reconciled.

For these reasons, I am proposing a new political system that would transform the United States of America into the United Republics of America.

This new government would still allow nationwide coordination of domestic and foreign policy, but it would devolve power to newly created republics. Read more

Europe Rises to the Challenge Posed by Trump

Paolo Gentiloni, Mariano Rajoy, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, the leaders of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, deliver a joint news conference in Berlin, June 29
Paolo Gentiloni, Mariano Rajoy, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, the leaders of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, deliver a joint news conference in Berlin, June 29 (La Moncloa)

I argued here last month that Donald Trump was inadvertently breathing new life into the EU — whose demise he has publicly wished for — by driving France and Germany closer together.

Now Politico reports that Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have agreed to:

  • Jointly develop a new generation of fighter jets;
  • Push ahead, together with Italy and Spain, to procure a European alternative to American drones (a “Eurodrone”);
  • Cooperate on military space surveillance; and
  • Beam data to the EU’s European External Action Service for use in missions around the world.

At a joint news conference, Merkel also left the door open to creating a eurozone finance minister and harmonizing French and German tax rates.

“It’s complicated, but it could boost the internal market,” she said. Read more

What’s Next in the Trump-Russia Scandal

American president Donald Trump makes an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 24
American president Donald Trump makes an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 24 (Michael Vadon)

We have entered a new phase in the Trump-Russia scandal.

Not only did the president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., met with a Kremlin-friendly lawyer last summer hoping to learn damaging information about Hillary Clinton; he did not seem at all surprised when a Russian contact told him Moscow was supporting his father.

This is the clearest evidence yet of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Which, despite what Trump’s apologists in the conservative media are saying, would be a crime.

But that doesn’t mean Trump is about to lose his job. Read more

Poland’s Ruling Nationalist Party Steps Up Assault on Judiciary

Prime Minister Beata Szydło of Poland listens to a reporter's question in Warsaw, June 28
Prime Minister Beata Szydło of Poland listens to a reporter’s question in Warsaw, June 28 (KPRM)

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party pushed through more changes to the court system on Wednesday:

  • One bill takes power to appoint members to the National Judicial Council, which is responsible for appointing lower-level judges, away from the judiciary itself and gives it to parliament, where Law and Justice has a majority.
  • The same law removes fifteen of the 25 judges currently serving on the National Judicial Council.
  • A second bill gives the justice minister the power to unilaterally replace court presidents. Read more

Republicans Think Democrats Are Worse Than Russia

Radio and television host Sean Hannity speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Radio and television host Sean Hannity speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

How can Republicans still support Donald Trump despite there now being proof of collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia?

Several users on Twitter have suggested that the right-wing media would have gone berserk if this story was about Hillary Clinton. I think they’re right. Instead of giving Donald Trump Jr. a softball interview, Sean Hannity would be screaming bloody murder.

We know, because that’s what he did during the phony Clinton email scandal.

And perhaps that’s part of the answer: To some on the American right, Democrats are such a threat that it justifies collaboration with a foreign power. Read more

Putin Has Already Got Most of What He Wanted from Trump

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras answers a question from a reporter in Moscow as Russian president Vladimir Putin looks on, April 8, 2015
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras answers a question from a reporter in Moscow as Russian president Vladimir Putin looks on, April 8, 2015 (Presidential Press and Information Office)

Collusion or not, Vladimir Putin has already got most of what he wanted from Donald Trump.

As Rachel Maddow reported on MSNBC last night:

  • Russia wants the West divided, not united.
  • It wants to be recognized as an equal partner to the United States in the war in Syria.
  • It wants to keep Bashar Assad in power.
  • It seeks to defang American diplomacy.
  • And it wants back the “diplomatic” (spy) compounds in Maryland and Upstate New York the Obama Administration seized in retaliation for Russia’s attack on the 2016 election.

Trump has given Putin all this. Read more