The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. June 26, 2016: “The EU has been an entity closely supported by the United States, both economically and politically. It was finaolized in 1993 and was comprised of all of Europe with the exception of Norway and Switzerland. From an American point of view, the EU, like Nato, served as a balance against Russia, whom the US has always viewed as its chief rival for world power.
It was not necessary for the US to control the EU as long as they were able to influence it, mainly through the American banking community.
A failed American attempt to get control of Russian natural resources, such as oil and gas, failed when the US-supported Russian oligarchs were neutralized by Vladimir Putin.
From that point on, Putin has been viewed by Washington as man who challenged the American expsnsionist programs and emerged victorious.
As Russia gained in stature, the US, always one step behind, tried Nato threats to Russia, easily persuaded its EU puppets to slap economic sanctions on Russia for its successful reuniting with the Crimea.
The upheaval in the Ukraine was engineered by the CIA and resulted in the the economic collapse of that country.
Instead of becoming a forward base for American anti-Russian activity, the Ukraine became a whining beggar.
In the Brexit disaster, one thinks of Galatians 6:7. ‘Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.’”
The Müller Washington Journals 1948-1951
At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.
His name was Heinrich Müller.
Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.
This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.
When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.
Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.
The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.
Sunday, 11. February, 1951.
After Mass today (I spent the night at the club because of the meeting today) I had a talk with someone from the Vatican about the Croat problems. Pavelic’s people will certainly be a welcome addition at this end. (Ante Pavelic, the Poglavnik or Chief of State, of Croatia, was a German ally during the war and members of his Ustacha party were heavily in demand by Frank Wisner’s group. They were also in demand by other people who wanted to execute them but they were heavily protected in America. ed.)
The CIA has taken over the so-called “rat lines” or escape routes from Europe to Syria and South America and are now directing many of the wanted people here instead of these two countries. Bishop Hudal has done an excellent job, under U.S. direction of course, and ought to be able to retire filled with satisfaction with a job well done.
I have used the excuse of her pregnancy to tell Bunny that she ought not to travel to Cuba with me and she seems willing to stay on the farm and work with her horses. I have found that once my leg muscles got accustomed to the work, I can ride without any discomfort although I do not like wild gallops around the grounds. A nice trot and a canter are just fine with me. I have already lost ten pounds this way but I am told that if I build up my saddle muscles, I will have to continue riding or they will turn to blubber after a time.
Monday, 12. February, 1951.
While talking on the telephone with Behn, the subject of the “Flying Discs” came up. I had discussed the Roe Company and the possible future of these craft with him earlier. He has looked into it and is not sanguine about the projects they are working on. We have one of the developers of this here but there are problems because he only did a part of the work and the other one is in Russia. Still, it if works, it will revolutionize air travel being far safer and faster than the jet engine.
Later: When Viktor called about his family (all is well there) we talked about this and he is going to come together with me this week because there are things he wants to talk about concerning this disk business. Not on the phone of course.
Cuba next week!
Friday, 16. February, 1951.
Viktor and I went to lunch today at a Chinese restaurant in DC where the music is so loud no one can overhear you.
Much of interest to talk about, especially about the disk problem. Viktor, who works in the Pentagon, tells me that a number of these objects have been seen, aside from the reports in the papers. The Army, he says, has tracked some of these on radar as have the Air Force, and they are very fast indeed. Thousands of miles an hour in some cases!
Naturally, they do not belong to this country so the immediate assumption, in the Pentagon, is that they are Russian. On the other hand, Viktor assures me that they are not Russian and must be ours! We exchanged views and I was able to assure him that the only thing I knew about these were the German developments made during the war.
This he knew something about but he reiterated that Moscow is certain that these objects, which they too have observed and tracked, are not theirs.
I have no problem with Viktor who is honest enough with me in most matters and in this business, I absolutely believe him.
What, in fact, are these objects? The Luftwaffe boys reported seeing similar objects during the war, tracking their formations and I now understand that American units had the same experiences. Each side thought the other was responsible!
It couldn’t be the British because the cost of making such craft would be way beyond them in their present bankrupt state. Not the French either. If they are not American or Russian, where, indeed, do they come from? Are these viewings by the public, mass hysteria?
Well, I can think about them in Havana next week while I am getting tanned on the beaches!
The Great Rice Disease Plot
by Harry von Johnston, PhD
Ever since the times of the great Malthus, it has been well recognized that since all species must eat to continue living, the existence of food sources is vital to the survival of any species, be it homosapiens or others.
Food may, in short, be seen as a weapon as effective as a bullet or a bomb in an attack on a perceived enemy.
We therefore now consider the production of food stuffs as a weapon in a war, formal or informal.
I speak now of a growing struggle between the PRC (China) and the United States in which the PRC can clearly be seen as a challenger to the United States both in the military and economic spheres.
For example, the PRC has purchased very large financial holdings of the United States such as official U.S. Treasury bills and then also as holders of billions of American dollars worth of other financial holdings and long term investments.
These acquisitions are not intended for financial gain to the PRC but to be used as an economic and political lever when, and as, needed.
The PRC has also purchased from the U.S. Treasury, billions of dollars worth of gold belonging to foreign entities.
German holdings alone totaled 53 billion dollars and other nation’s deposits greatly increased this amount.
The sale generated capital used to pay down an enormous American national debt, mostly stemming from military development and deployment worldwide.
Also, the PRC has been known to be conducting a form of economic warfare against the United States by the production of counterfeit gold items, such as coinage and, most dangerously, as faked copies of American official U.S. Treasury gold bars. This has the dual purpose of enriching the PRC with badly-needed items such as oil and raw material it cannot, by itself, possess.
It is evident that the United States intelligence organs are entirely aware of these dangerous PRC activities and have been assiduously working both to blunt the economic warfare and then to counter with other methods.
The most important of these latter methods deals with the issue of food.
It is not certainly a secret that China has a number of growing, and potentially fatal, problems with her population and the care and feeding of it.
China’s basic supply of fresh water comes from the glaciers of the Himalayan mountains but these glaciers are not only melting rapidly but renewal of them does not occur due to obvious and growing planetary climate changes. The shrinking of glacial waters also strongly effects the hydroelectric programs of China.
Another of the PRC’s growing problems is the unchecked increase in population; the shrinkage of arable food (i.e. rice) production areas, a domestic and foreign economic “bubble” that is obvious will probably cause a disastrous implosion.
This brief study of the problems of the PRC then moves on to the methodology by which the United States, the PRC’s main global economic rival, can either neutralize or destroy the capacity of the PRC to wage economic warfare and to neutralize her future endeavors.
Let us now consider the basic Achilles Heel of the PRC; food.
The Unied States is capable of feeding its own people, though with problems of organized production and distribution but the PRC, and most of Asia, is dependent very heavily on a single crop: rice.
Rice is the seed of the monocot plant Oryza sativa. As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in East and South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the West Indies. It is the grain with the second-highest worldwide production, after corn.
Today, the majority of all rice produced comes from China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, and Japan. These Asian farmers account for 92-percent of the world’s total rice production
The peoples of the PRC, we then are fully aware, have rice, both domestic and imported, as a basic food staple. Should this stable become seriously interdicted by, let us say, some kind of a disease that would impact not only on the PRC but other Asian areas as well, growing starvation and the attendant civil dissoloution can well be postulated. Major rice diseases include Rice ragged stunt, Sheath Blight and tungro. Rice blast, caused by the fungus Magnaporthe grisea, is the most significant disease affecting rice cultivation. There is also an ascomycete fungus, Cochliobolus miyabeanus, that causes brown spot disease in rice.
A most serious threat to rice crops would be Rust disease, xanthomonas compesteris pv.oryzae
Xanthomonas oryzae is a species of proteobacteria. The major host of the bacteria is rice
The species contains two pathovars which are non-European: Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae and Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzicola.Host resistance gene, Xa21,from Oryza longistaminata is integrated into the genome of Oryza sativa for the board range resistance of rice blight disease caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae
In the America of today, unpleasant tasks, the revelation of which might redound against the government, are generally made the province of the United States Department of Defense, the United States Department of Homeland Security, and the United States Intelligence Community, including the National Security Agency, as well as other U.S. Government civil agencies.
These agencies, in turn, look to the civil, business sector for special development and preparation of weaponry, both conventional and bio-weaponry.
One of the main institutions for this development is SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation), which has been headquartered in Tysons Corner in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, near McLean, since September of 2009.
Their Board of Directors has included many well- known ex-government personnel including Melvin Laird, Secretary of Defense in the Nixon administration; William Perry, Secretary of Defense for Bill Clinton; John M. Deutch, President Clinton’s CIA Director; Admiral Bobby Ray Inman who served in various capacities in the NSA and CIA for the Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations.
Opinion: Brexit from EU leaves Donald Trump triumphant
The Brexit result is cause for caution in the United States. Donald Trump’s single-note mixed message might just have a serious chances of success, DW correspondent Ines Pohl writes in Washington.
June 25, 2017
Just a few days ago, almost nobody in the United States had been interested in the possibility of a Brexit – apart from professionals in industries that might be affected. There are very few people in the United States who make an effort to understand how the EU works. The fact that Great Britain doesn’t use the euro and will remain an EU member until the details are worked out does not make the European Union more comprehensible to Americans.
News of an affirmative Brexit result, however, has caused a stir in the United States – though the reason for this is, of course, very American: Donald Trump. Once again, the Republican presidential candidate has managed to exploit an international development for his own ends.
Trump had cunningly planned a visit to one of his golf courses in Scotland for the morning following the referendum. The past few weeks had not worked out so well for the New York billionaire, and criticism from within the Republican ranks has been growing stronger. So the Brexit was a godsend for him. The arguments used in the successful “Leave” campaign are the same as the ones that Trump himself uses: “Immigrants are to blame for economic problems. We have to focus more on our interests and spend less time and money on international relations and alliances.”
The success of Britain’s EU opponents is now a doubly bitter pill to swallow for the Democrats. What is possible in the land from which the United States declared its independence now seems possible in the former colony; now that Brexit is a reality, a President Trump could be, too.
Obama did it?
Trump can exploit Barack Obama’s previous support for the campaign for Britain to remain in the EU. He can show that the current US president obviously has no influence on people in other countries: Trump has even gone so far as to claim that Obama’s visit to the United Kingdom in April had harmed the “Remain” campaign.
When he visited London in the spring, Obama spoke in favor of Britain’s staying in the EU, backing up his views with economic and strategic military arguments. Great Britain is still the US’s strongest and most reliable military partner. This alliance will be called into question after the Brexit vote, however.
The United Kingdom has provided Trump with new ammunition. At the same time, the Democrat Hillary Clinton’s camp must be thinking the same thing that Chancellor Angela Merkel is: How can the advance of insurgents such as Trump or Alternative for Germany be stopped in a world filled with injustice and insecurity? Such empty sayings as “we’re on the right track” or “we can do it” have been exhausted. Too many people feel that no one is listening to their worries about their difficulties in life. Now, Brits have demonstrated one possible result of this perceived neglect.
Brexit is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions
June 25 2016
by Glenn Greenwald
The decision by UK voters to leave the EU is such a glaring repudiation of the wisdom and relevance of elite political and media institutions that – for once – their failures have become a prominent part of the storyline. Media reaction to the Brexit vote falls into two general categories: (1) earnest, candid attempts to understand what motivated voters to make this choice, even if that means indicting one’s own establishment circles, and (2) petulant, self-serving, simple-minded attacks on disobedient pro-leave voters for being primitive, xenophobic bigots (and stupid to boot), all to evade any reckoning with their own responsibility. Virtually every reaction that falls into the former category emphasizes the profound failures of western establishment factions; these institutions have spawned pervasive misery and inequality, only to spew condescending scorn at their victims when they object.
The Los Angeles Times‘ Vincent Bevins, in an outstanding and concise analysis, wrote that “both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for thirty years”; in particular, “since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt.” The British journalist Tom Ewing, in a comprehensive Brexit explanation, said the same dynamic driving the UK vote prevails in Europe and North America as well: “the arrogance of neoliberal elites in constructing a politics designed to sideline and work around democracy while leaving democracy formally intact.”
In an interview with The New Statesman, the political philosopher Michael Sandel also said that the dynamics driving the pro-Brexit sentiment were now dominant throughout the west generally: “a large constituency of working-class voters feel that not only has the economy left them behind, but so has the culture, that the sources of their dignity, the dignity of labour, have been eroded and mocked by developments with globalisation, the rise of finance, the attention that is lavished by parties across the political spectrum on economic and financial elites, the technocratic emphasis of the established political parties.” After the market-venerating radicalism of Reagan and Thatcher, he said, “the centre left” – Blair and Clinton and various European parties – “managed to regain political office but failed to reimagine the mission and purpose of social democracy, which became empty and obsolete.”
Three Guardian writers sounded similar themes about elite media ignorance, stemming from their homogeneity and detachment from the citizenry. John Harris quoted a Manchester voter as explaining that “if you’ve got money, you vote in. If you haven’t got money, you vote out,” and Harris added: “most of the media . . . failed to see this coming. . . . The alienation of the people charged with documenting the national mood from the people who actually define it is one of the ruptures that has led to this moment.” Gary Younge similarly denounced “a section of the London-based commentariat [that] anthropologised the British working class as though they were a lesser evolved breed from distant parts, all too often portraying them as bigots who did not know what was good for them.” Ian Jack’s article was headlined “In this Brexit vote, the poor turned on an elite who ignored them,” and he described how “gradually the sight of empty towns and shuttered shops became normalised or forgotten.”
Though there were some exceptions, establishment political and media elites in the UK were vehemently united against Brexit, but their decreed wisdom was ignored, even scorned. That has happened time and again. As their fundamental failures become more evident to all, these elites have lost credibility, lost influence, and lost the ability to dictate outcomes.
Just last year in the UK, Labour members chose someone to lead Tony Blair’s party – the authentically left-wing Jeremy Corbyn – who could not have been more intensely despised and patronized by almost every leading light of the British media and political class. In the U.S., the joyful rejection by Trump voters of the collective wisdom of the conservative establishment evidenced the same contempt for elite consensus. The enthusiastic and sustained rallying, especially by young voters, against beloved-by-the-establishment Hillary Clinton in favor of a 74-year-old socialist taken seriously by almost no DC elites reflected the same dynamic. Elite denunciations of the right-wing parties of Europe fall on deaf ears. Elites can’t stop, or even affect, any of these movements because they are, at bottom, revolts against their wisdom, authority and virtue.
In sum, the west’s establishment credibility is dying, and their influence is precipitously eroding – all deservedly so. The frenetic pace of online media makes even the most recent events feel distant, like ancient history. That, in turn, makes it easy to lose sight of how many catastrophic and devastating failures western elites have produced in a remarkably short period of time.
In 2003, U.S. and British elites joined together to advocate one of the most heinous and immoral aggressive wars in decades: the destruction of Iraq; that it turned out to be centrally based on falsehoods that were ratified by the most trusted institutions, as well as a complete policy failure even on its own terms, gutted public trust.
In 2008, their economic worldview and unrestrained corruption precipitated a global economic crisis that literally caused, and is still causing, billions of people to suffer – in response, they quickly protected the plutocrats who caused the crisis while leaving the victimized masses to cope with the generational fallout. Even now, western elites continue to proselytize markets and impose free trade and globalization without the slightest concern for the vast inequality and destruction of economic security those policies generate.
In 2011, NATO bombed Libya by pretending it was motivated by humanitarianism, only to ignore that country once the fun military triumph was celebrated, thus leaving a vacuum of anarchy and milita rule for years that spread instability through the region and fueled the refugee crisis. The U.S. and its European allies continue to invade, occupy and bomb predominantly Muslim countries while propping up their most brutal tyrants, then feign befuddlement about why anyone would want to attack them back, justifying erosions of basic liberties and more bombing campaigns and ratcheting up fear levels each time someone does. The rise of ISIS and the foothold it seized in Iraq and Libya were the direct by-products of the west’s military actions (as even Tony Blair admitted regarding Iraq). Western societies continue to divert massive resources into military weaponry and prisons for their citizens, enriching the most powerful factions in the process, all while imposing harsh austerity on already suffering masses. In sum, western elites thrive while everyone else loses hope.
These are not random, isolated mistakes. They are the by-product of fundamental cultural pathologies within western elite circles – a deep rot. Why should institutions that have repeatedly authored such travesties, and spread such misery, continue to command respect and credibility? They shouldn’t, and they’re not. As Chris Hayes warned in his 2012 book Twilight of the Elites, “given both the scope and depth of this distrust [in elite institutions], it’s clear that we’re in the midst of something far grander and more perilous than just a crisis of government or a crisis of capitalism. We are in the midst of a broad and devastating crisis of authority.”
It’s natural – and inevitable – that malignant figures will try to exploit this vacuum of authority. All sorts of demagogues and extremists will try to re-direct mass anger for their own ends. Revolts against corrupt elite institutions can usher in reform and progress, but they can also create a space for the ugliest tribal impulses: xenophobia, authoritarianism, racism, fascism. One sees all of that, both good and bad, manifesting in the anti-establishment movements throughout the U.S., Europe, and the UK: including Brexit. All of this can be invigorating, or promising, or destabilizing, or dangerous: most likely a combination of all that.
The solution is not to subserviently cling to corrupt elite institutions out of fear of the alternatives. It is, instead, to help bury those institutions and their elite mavens and then fight for superior replacements. As Hayes put it in his book, the challenge is “directing the frustration, anger, and alienation we all feel into building a trans-ideological coalition that can actually dislodge the power of the post-meritocratic elite. One that marshals insurrectionist sentiment without succumbing to nihilism and manic, paranoid distrust.”
Corrupt elites always try to persuade people to continue to submit to their dominance in exchange for protection from forces that are even worse. That’s their game. But at some point, they themselves, and their prevailing order, become so destructive, so deceitful, so toxic, that their victims are willing to gamble that the alternatives will not be worse, or at least, they decide to embrace the satisfaction of spitting in the faces of those who have displayed nothing but contempt and condescension for them.
There is no one, unifying explanation for Brexit, or Trumpism, or the growing extremism of various stripes throughout the west, but this sense of angry impotence – an inability to see any option other than smashing those responsible for their plight – is undoubtedly a major factor. As Bevins put it, supporters of Trump, and Brexit, and other anti-establishment movements “are motivated not so much by whether they think the projects will actually work, but more by their desire to say FUCK YOU” to those they believe (with very good reason) have failed them.
Obviously, those who are the target of this anti-establishment rage – political, economic and media elites – are desperate to exonerate themselves, to demonstrate that they bear no responsibility for the suffering masses that are now refusing to be compliant and silent. The easiest course to achieve that goal is simply to demonize those with little power, wealth or possibility as stupid and racist: this is only happening because they are primitive and ignorant and hateful, not because they have any legitimate grievances or because I or my friends or my elite institutions have done anything wrong
Because that reaction is so self-protective and self-glorifying, many U.S. media elites – including those who knew almost nothing about Brexit until 48 hours ago – instantly adopted it as their preferred narrative for explaining what happened, just as they’ve done with Trump, Corbyn, Sanders and any number of other instances where their entitlement to rule has been disregarded. They are so persuaded of their own natural superiority that any factions who refuse to see it and submit to it prove themselves, by definition, to be regressive, stunted and amoral.
Indeed, media reaction to the Brexit vote – filled with unreflective rage, condescension and contempt toward those who voted wrong – perfectly illustrates the dynamics that caused all of this in the first place. Media elites, by virtue of their position, adore the status quo. It rewards them, vests them with prestige and position, welcomes them into exclusive circles, allows them to be close to (if not themselves wielding) great power while traveling their country and the world, provides them with a platform, fills them with esteem and purpose. The same is true of academic elites, and financial elites, and political elites. Elites love the status quo that has given them, and then protected, their elite position.
Because of how generally satisfied they are with their lot, they regard with affection and respect the internationalist institutions that safeguard the west’s prevailing order: the World Bank and IMF, NATO and the west’s military forces, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, the EU. While they express some piecemeal criticisms of each, they literally cannot comprehend how anyone would be fundamentally disillusioned by and angry with these institutions, let alone want to break from them. They are far removed from the suffering that causes those anti-establishment sentiments. So they search and search in vain for some rationale that could explain something like Brexit, or the establishment-condemning movements on the right and left, and can find only one way to process it: these people are not motivated by any legitimate grievances or economic suffering, but instead they are just broken, ungrateful, immoral, hateful, racist and ignorant.
Of course it is the case that some, perhaps much, of the support given to these anti-establishment movements is grounded in those sorts of ugly sentiments. But it’s also the case that the media elites’ revered establishment institutions in finance, media and politics are driven by all sorts of equally ugly impulses, as the rotted fruit of their actions conclusively proves.
Even more important, the mechanism that western citizens are expected to use to express and rectify dissatisfaction – elections – has largely ceased to serve any correction function.
But that is exactly the choice presented not only by Brexit but also western elections generally, including the 2016 Clinton v. Trump General Election (just look at the powerful array of Wall Street tycoons and war-loving neocons which – long before Trump – viewed the former Democratic New York Senator and Secretary of State as their best hope for having their agenda and interests served). When democracy is preserved only in form, structured to change little to nothing about power distribution, people naturally seek alternatives for the redress of their grievances, particularly when they suffer.
More importantly still – and directly contrary to what establishment liberals love to claim in order to demonize all who reject their authority – economic suffering and xenophobia/racism are not mutually exclusive; the opposite is true: the former fuels the latter, as sustained economic misery makes people more receptive to tribalistic scapegoating. That’s precisely why plutocratic policies that deprive huge portions of the population of basic opportunity and hope are so dangerous. Claiming that supporters of Brexit or Trump or Corbyn or Sanders or anti-establishment European parties on the left and right are motivated only by hatred but not genuine economic suffering and political oppression is a transparent tactic for exonerating status quo institutions and evading responsibility for doing anything about their core corruption.
Part of this spiteful media reaction to Brexit is grounded in a dreary combination of sloth and habit: a sizable portion of the establishment-liberal commentariat in the west has completely lost the ability to engage with any sort of dissent from their orthodoxies, or even to understand those who disagree with them. They are capable of nothing beyond adopting the most smug and self-satisfied posture, then spouting clichés to dismiss their critics as ignorant, benighted bigots. Like the people of the west who bomb Muslim countries and then express confusion that anyone wants to attack them back, the most simple-minded of these establishment media liberals are constantly enraged that the people they endlessly malign as ignorant haters refuse to vest them with the respect and credibility to which they are naturally entitled.
But there’s something deeper and more interesting driving the media reaction here. Establishment journalistic outlets are not outsiders. They’re the opposite: they are fully integrated into elite institutions, are tools of those institutions, and thus identify fully with them. Of course they do not share, and cannot understand, anti-establishment sentiments: they are the targets of this establishment-hating revolt as much as anyone else. These journalists’ reaction to this anti-establishment backlash is a form of self-defense. As NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen put it last night, “journalists today report on hostility to the political class, as if they had nothing to do with it,” but they are a key part of that political class and, for that reason, “if the population — or part of it — is in revolt against the political class, this is a problem for journalism.”
There are many factors explaining why establishment journalists now have almost no ability to stem the tide of anti-establishment rage, even when it’s irrational and driven by ignoble impulses. Part of it is that the internet and social media have rendered them irrelevant, unnecessary to disseminate ideas. Part of it is that – due their distance from them – they have nothing to say to people who are suffering and angry about it other than to scorn them as hateful losers. Part of it is that journalists – like anyone else – tend to react with bitterness and rage, not self-assessment, as they lose influence and stature.
But a major factor is that many people recognize that establishment journalists are an integral part of the very institutions and corrupted elite circles that are authors of their plight. Rather than being people who mediate or inform these political conflicts, journalists are agents of the forces that are oppressing them. And when journalists react to their anger and suffering by telling them that it’s invalid and merely the by-product of their stupidity and primitive resentments, that only reinforces the perception that journalists are their enemy, thus rendering journalistic opinion increasingly irrelevant.
Brexit – despite all of the harm it is likely to cause and despite all of the malicious politicians it will empower – could have been a positive development. But that would require that elites (and their media outlets) react to the shock of this repudiation by spending some time reflecting on their own flaws, analyzing what they have done to contribute to such mass outrage and deprivation, in order to engage in course correction. Exactly the same potential benefit was generated by the Iraq debacle, the 2008 financial crisis, the rise of Trumpism and other anti-establishment movements: this is all compelling evidence that things have gone very wrong with those who wield the greatest power, that self-critique in elite circles is more vital than anything.
But, as usual, that’s exactly what they most refuse to do. Instead of acknowledging and addressing the fundamental flaws within themselves, they are devoting their energies to demonizing the victims of their corruption, all in order to de-legitimize those grievances and thus relieve themselves of responsibility to meaningfully address them. That reaction only serves to bolster, if not vindicate, the animating perceptions that these elite institutions are hopelessly self-interested, toxic and destructive and thus cannot be reformed but rather must be destroyed. That, in turn, only ensures that there will be many more Brexits, and Trumps, in our collective future.
Opinion: Brexit winner Putin
Moscow’s official reactions to Brexit will likely be marked by diplomacy, but secretly, the Kremlin is rejoicing: Its risky gamble has paid off the first time, writes DW’s Ingo Mannteufel.
June 26, 2016
UKIP’s Nigel Farage and other prominent euroskeptics in EU, such as Geert Wilders in The Netherlands, or France’s Marine Le Pen, are not the only winners of the Brexit decision. Russian President Vladimir Putin also benefits from the Brexit referendum.
However, it is unlikely that Putin will express this stance. He places far too much value on presenting himself as an international statesman who responds with moderate, diplomatic words. But schadenfreude and crocodile tears clearly dominate the tone in the Kremlin-controlled media channels, as Russian state media has been long propagating the negative image of a decaying European Union.
Putin’s international populist hymn
Britain’s desire to leave the European Union reminds many Russians of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Brexit decision is undoubtedly a historic turning point. But it will not result in a total collapse of state and economic order, as seen after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This reality is being withheld from Russian television viewers, as Kremlin propagandists will prefer to tell tales about the oh-so-broken Europe. That way, the Russian population can be distracted from its own domestic crisis and Russia’s ruling elite can cement its power monopoly.
Russian politics cannot be seen as the cause of rising populist sentiments in Europe or the USA – if one thinks of Donald Trump supporters. The reasons can be found in an assortment of demographic, political and socio-economic factors. Nonetheless, in recent years, the Kremlin has distinctively increased its support for populist and euroskeptic groups, be it in the form of a loan to Marine Le Pen’s National Front from a Russian-Czech bank or in the form of extremely benevolent media coverage by Russia’s international state broadcaster of Nigel Farage’s UK independence Party or the Scottish independence movement in 2014.
Europe’s stability and capability to act are undermined by the reinforcement of populist tendencies in Europe – mostly right-wing movements, but also left-wing ones as well. The reasoning behind this is that growing discord in Europe can create opportunities for Russia to attain better results in negotiations with the EU, especially with regard to Russia’s present hopes of loosened European sanctions.
Maximum target in foreign policy met
The Brexit decision actually indicates that Russian foreign policy has reached its highest goal: In the coming years, the EU will focus on itself. EU enlargements are currently no longer conceivable. The bad news for all Ukrainians, Moldovans and Georgians today is that EU enlargement embracing post-Soviet states or Balkan States has now been delayed to a faraway time in the future. And even swift visa waiver approval for Ukraine and Georgia is still hard to imagine.
The prospect of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia joining the EU has been destroyed until further notice. Indirectly, it means that these countries will be pushed back into Russia’s historic sphere of influence, even though no one in the European Union would openly admit it. And so, Russia’s President Putin is clearly one of the Brexit winners.
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Soros warns of EU disintegration
June 25, 2016
Billionaire investor George Soros has warned that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union makes the disintegration of the bloc “practically irreversible”.
However, he called for thorough reconstruction of the EU in an attempt to save it.
Before Thursday’s UK referendum, Mr Soros had warned of financial meltdown if Britain voted to leave.
In his latest comments, he said the effects of the decision would damage Britain.
“Britain eventually may or may not be relatively better off than other countries by leaving the EU, but its economy and people stand to suffer significantly in the short- to medium term,” he wrote on the Project Syndicate website.
Mr Soros made huge profits in 1992’s “Black Wednesday” by betting against the British pound as it crashed out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
Before Friday’s vote he warned of a similar meltdown, predicting a Brexit victory would send the pound down by 15-20%. In the event, sterling fell about 10% to a 31-year low.
“Now the catastrophic scenario that many feared has materialised, making the disintegration of the EU practically irreversible,” wrote Mr Soros in his latest article.
“The financial markets worldwide are likely to remain in turmoil as the long, complicated process of political and economic divorce from the EU is negotiated.”
He said the consequences for the economy would be comparable to the financial crisis of 2007-2008.
“After Brexit, all of us who believe in the values and principles that the EU was designed to uphold must band together to save it by thoroughly reconstructing it,” he wrote.
“I am convinced that as the consequences of Brexit unfold in the weeks and months ahead, more and more people will join us.”
What is Article 50 of the EU Treaty?
◾In force since 2009 but never tested
◾Allows governments to notify intent to leave. Talks then begin on a range of issues between the leaving nation and other EU members
◾If no deal is reached, membership will automatically cease two years after notification
◾The article is only a basic template for leaving, settling the date and some other matters. It does not automatically include issues such as movement of people or trade. The latter could take years to conclude
Brexit crisis tops off rough stretch in Obama’s push for legacy
April 25, 2016
by Roberta Rampton
The financial and political fallout from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has added to a string of setbacks for President Barack Obama as he works to burnish his legacy before his presidency ends in January 2017.
The Brexit decision came after a deadlock in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday effectively ended Obama’s push to overhaul immigration rules, and the week after the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
For Obama, the reversals heighten pressure on him and fellow Democrats to work harder for the Nov. 8 elections – particularly for the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, who represents his best shot at making sure more of his policies are not rolled back.
Speaking at two fundraising events in Seattle on Friday night, at the end of an arduous day that saw global markets plunge after the Brexit vote, Obama acknowledged the shifting political winds four months from the vote.
“If you didn’t think the stakes were high before, you should think the stakes are pretty high right now,” Obama said at an intimate fundraising dinner at the home of tech executive Steve Singh. Guests, arranged in two long tables, paid $10,000 to $66,800 per couple.
Obama has argued technology and globalization can increase opportunities for all, but conceded that recent events show many people are frightened by global competition and feel left behind.
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and political novice, has tapped into those concerns about the economy, trade and immigration – fears that also figured into the UK campaign to leave the EU.
“Unfortunately, when people are anxious and scared, there are going to be politicians out there who try to prey on that frustration to get themselves headlines and to get themselves votes,” Obama told about 3,000 people who paid $250 and up to attend a campaign-style event on Friday for Washington State’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee.
Clinton regained a double-digit lead over Trump this week, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Friday that showed 46.6 percent of likely American voters supported Clinton while 33.3 percent backed Trump.
‘THE NINTH INNING’
In April, Obama had taken the unusual step of traveling to London to help the “Remain” camp of the referendum for his friend and ally, Prime Minister David Cameron, who will now leave office before Obama does.
The financial uncertainty from Brexit threatens to weigh on the strong U.S. economy and undo some of the recovery seen since Obama took office in early 2009 at the height of the financial crisis.
Earlier this week, Obama’s plan to remove the specter of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants was quashed when the Supreme Court deadlocked over lifting a hold on the action.
And two weeks ago, the nation’s worst mass shooting in modern history, at a gay nightclub in Orlando, raised questions about how Obama is dealing with home-grown extremism – and served as a reminder of his failure to convince the U.S. Congress to tighten gun laws.
The setbacks show the limits of action that any president can take unilaterally, said Justin Vaughn, a political scientist at Boise State University.
“I don’t think Obama’s legacy has taken a hit so much as it came back to earth,” Vaughn said.
Still, the impression that his administration is unable to control its own political destiny could weigh on how history views Obama’s time at the White House, said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at University of Houston.
“Presidents are often judged by what happens in the ninth inning, so President Obama’s last few months in office are important to cementing and enhancing his legacy,” Rottinghaus said.
(Additional reporting by Ayesha Rascoe in Washington; Editing by Mary Milliken)
Brexit: Scotland and N Ireland reconsider ties to UK
Nationalist leaders in both Scotland and Northern Ireland ponder independence referendums following Brexit.
June 25, 2016
A second Scottish independence referendum is “highly likely” and should take place before Britain leaves the European Union, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
Scotland voted to stay in the EU by 62 to 38 percent in a referendum on Thursday, putting it at odds with the United Kingdom as a whole, which voted 52-48 in favour of leaving.
“It is a statement of the obvious that the option of a second independence referendum must be on the table and is on the table,” Sturgeon told a news conference on Friday
“As things stand, Scotland faces the prospect of being taken out of the EU against her will. I regard that as democratically unacceptable,” she added.
“I think an independence referendum is now highly likely.”
Scots rejected independence from the rest of the United Kingdom by 55 to 45 percent in a 2014 referendum, but since then Sturgeon’s pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) has surged, winning several elections.
EU membership was one of the key issues in 2014, with those campaigning for Scotland to stick with the United Kingdom arguing that an independent Scotland would not be able to remain a member of the bloc.
Sturgeon said many Scots who had voted against independence for that reason were now re-assessing their decision.
“I want to make it absolutely clear today that I intend to take all possible steps and explore all options to give effect to how people in Scotland voted [on Thursday], in other words to secure our continuing place in the EU and in the single market,” she said.
“If [Scotland’s] parliament judges that a second (independence) referendum is the only way to protect our place in Europe it must have the option to hold one within that timescale,” Sturgeon said.
She said it was “inconceivable” that Britain’s central government in London would stand in the way of a second referendum if it was the will of Scotland’s devolved parliament, which the SNP dominates.
Splitting Scotland from the UK would end three centuries of shared history, upending another successful economic relationship shortly after the now-impending divorce between Britain and the EU.
Nationalists call for Northern Ireland border poll
In a separate development, Irish nationalist leaders in Northern Ireland also called for a poll on leaving the United Kingdom and uniting with Ireland.
Most voters in Northern Ireland also voted to remain in Thursday’s referendum.
Declan Kearney, Sinn Fein’s national chairman, delivered a strongly worded statement after the referendum in which he said English voters had “dragged Northern Ireland out of the EU.
“English votes have overturned the democratic will of Northern Ireland.”
The party will now press for the calling of a border poll under the under the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement, he said.
Deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness, also strongly stated that his country wants to remain in the European Union and a border poll may be on the cards.
“The people of the north of Ireland, nationalists, republicans, unionists and others have made it clear at the polls that they wish to remain in the EU,” he said.
“Sinn Féin will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Irish government, the European institutions and also with our counterparts in Scotland to discuss how we move forward in the best interests of all of our people.”
On the other hand, Northern Ireland’s pro-British First Minister dismissed the calls by Irish nationalists for a referendum on Irish unity as “opportunistic” and said there is no way such a poll would be approved.
“There is no way, even if there was a border poll, that it would be in favour of a united Ireland,” Arlene Foster, the leader of the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party, told Radio Ulster.
A brutal week for Obama and his liberal vision of an interconnected world
June 25, 2016
by Greg Jaffe and David Nakamura
The Washington Post
PALO ALTO, Calif. — It has been a tough week for President Obama’s politics of inclusion and “we’re all in it together” globalization.
First came the Supreme Court’s deadlock that blocked his plan to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. Then, just hours later, Britain voted to withdraw from the European Union, a move that Obama had worked hard to stop.
The two events provided the backdrop as Obama appeared Friday at a White House-sponsored global technology and entrepreneur summit here that was intended to tout the merits of an interconnected world.
Instead, Obama began his remarks to an auditorium packed with 1,700 business leaders by acknowledging some of the forces pulling that world apart.
“I do think yesterday’s vote speaks to the ongoing changes and challenges raised by globalization,” Obama said to an audience representing 170 countries.
“I believe we are better off in a world in which we are trading and networking and communicating and sharing ideas,” he continued. “But that also means that cultures are colliding, and sometimes it is disruptive, and people get worried.”
At least for the moment, worry, disruption and fear seemed to have the upper hand.
Obama has been preaching for months now — both at home and abroad — that the United States and its allies must resist the impulse to “pull up the drawbridge” on the rest of the world. That belief led him to push for big, multilateral trade deals, reforms to the nation’s broken immigration system, and to advocate that the United States provide a haven for refugees fleeing war-torn Iraq and Syria.
Such policies not only reflect America’s values but also are critical to the nation’s success and the success of its allies in a world that is being remade by automation and advances in technology, the president has argued.
These past few weeks provided some strong evidence that the current might be running against his progressive and inclusive vision.
“The post-World War II liberal project is under siege right now. It’s under siege here and in Europe,” said Simon Rosenberg, founder of NDN , a liberal think tank. “For those of us who believe in it, the stakes in this fight are very high. We have to recognize this election is going to be about a lot of things in the U.S., but one of things it will be about is . . . whether or not we are entering a different age.”
Even Hillary Clinton, a staunch defender of such internationalism, has felt the need to edge away from some aspects of it on the campaign trail, disavowing a major Pacific trade deal that Obama is pushing and that she helped negotiate when serving as his secretary of state.
Meanwhile, in one forum after another covering a variety of issues, Obama has felt compelled over the past few weeks to take on challenges to that liberal order.
He addressed them in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting, when Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, reiterated his calls for a temporary ban on Muslim immigrants to the United States.
“We are now seeing how dangerous this kind of mind-set and this kind of thinking can be,” Obama railed following a meeting with his national security team. “Are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently? . . . Do Republican officials actually agree with this?”
He took a similar tone after the Supreme Court’s nondecision on immigration Thursday, the biggest legal defeat of his presidency.
“Immigration is not something to fear,” he told reporters. “We don’t have to wall ourselves off from those who may not look like us right now, or pray like we do, or have a different last name. Because being an American is about something more than that.”
And he returned to the subject on Friday at Stanford University following Britain’s vote, fueled by immigration worries and anti-trade sentiment, to leave the European Union.
Before he took the stage, Obama spoke on the phone with two like-minded allies. He and British Prime Minister David Cameron talked about the need for an “orderly transition out of the E.U.” for Britain and Cameron’s soon-to-come transition out of office. Obama expressed “regret” at Cameron’s decision to step aside following the leave referendum, aides said. The British prime minister had fought hard to make the case for staying in the E.U. and had concluded that he was out of step with the country he was leading.
Obama then called embattled German Chancellor Angela Merkel, his closest ally on the European continent, who has faced heavy criticism at home for her decision to take in large numbers of Iraqi and Syrian refugees.
All three leaders have been buffeted by the same forces: growing income inequality, the aftershocks of the Great Recession, refugee flows, terrorism fears and a rising nationalism that has eroded the liberal international order.
The trends have turned the United States into “increasingly a marginal player” on the world stage, said Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, a global political-risk consulting firm.
This spring Obama traveled to Europe to rally support for an expansive transatlantic free-trade pact and to urge British voters to stay in the E.U
“It had absolutely zero impact on the polls,” Bremmer said. “The United States is not the global leader, but nobody else is either.”
Such a state of affairs “leads to geopolitical destruction,” Bremmer said. “Everyone is upset with the establishment, and out they go.”
Obama, by contrast, views the anger, fear and anti-immigrant sentiments as a temporary blip. For him, Friday’s White House-backed Global Entrepreneurship Summit offered a glimpse of the future he had spent the past seven years working to build.
The president shared the stage with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and three young technology entrepreneurs from Egypt, Rwanda and Peru.
In the audience were 11 budding business leaders from Cuba, the long-isolated communist nation that has been a major foreign policy focus for the president in his second term.
“Hola! Mucho gusto,” Obama called out in Spanish to the Cubans. “They’re ready to help create new opportunities for the Cuban people.”
The young leaders from Cuba, Asia, Africa and the Middle East represented the antithesis of the anti-globalization and nationalist sentiments that had propelled Britain to leave the E.U. “You’re the bridge, you’re the glue who can help lead towards a more peaceful and more prosperous future that provides opportunity for everybody,” Obama told the crowd.
This week, though, even Obama acknowledged that future seemed a little more distant.
Pound plummets: London markets lose $164 billion in 10 minutes
June 25, 2016
London’s FTSE index lost $164 billion in the space of 10 minutes of trading on Friday, when sterling dropped to its lowest mark in 31 years, trading up to 12 percent lower against the dollar.
Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s threatened to downgrade the UK’s rating, which is currently triple A.
Moody’s agency echoed the warning, saying Brexit “heralds a prolonged period of policy uncertainty that will weigh on the UK’s economic and financial performance.”
The financial collapse in the UK is now worse than any crisis over the past three decades. The country – as well as EU countries – lost billions in the space of one morning.
London’s FTSE fell six percent in early deals, having shed USD$164 billion in 600 dramatic seconds. The city’s banking stocks lost $60 billion, USA Today reported.
Thousands flooded the streets, forming long queues to buy currency ahead of vacation time. Travel giant Thomas Cook even put a £1,000-per-person limit on exchanges.
Germany and France’s CAC 40 dropped by 7.5 and nine percent respectively on Friday. Brexit dealt an even bigger blow to southern European economies, as Italian and Spanish markets fell by over 11 percent.
The pound is now seven percent lower against the dollar, languishing at $1.3782.
The central bank expressed its readiness to provide £250 billion in additional funds to support the markets, according to the governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney.
Another threat is looming for the City of London, as it risks losing its so-called ‘EU passport’, which allows UK banks to operate freely with European banks.
The European Central Bank’s Governing Council member, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, told France Inter radio that if the UK leaves the EU, the country wouldn’t be able to keep the passport, and continue relations with the bloc’s banking sector unhindered.
There is a solution that would still require the UK to comply with European rules.
“There is a precedent, it is the Norwegian model of European Economic Area, that would allow Britain to keep access to the single market, but by committing to implement all EU rules,” he said.
“It would be a bit paradoxical to leave the EU and apply all EU rules, but that is one solution if Britain wants to keep access to the single market,” de Galhau added.
However, not everyone is prophesying doom and gloom. Jeremy Leach, chief executive officer at asset managers Managing Partners Group, told the Telegraph that eventually, sterling “will strengthen against the euro because the UK’s economy is in much better shape than many of its European peers.”
British EU exit turmoil alarms Asia, deepens party conflicts
June 26, 2016
by Elizabeth Piper and Ben Blanchard
LONDON/BEIJING-Turmoil unleashed by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union heightened anxiety in Asia on Sunday, with China, Japan and South Korea fretting over the risk to global financial stability a few hours before markets reopen.
In Britain, open conflict spread from the ruling Conservatives to the opposition, and senior Labour lawmakers attempted a coup against their leader after traditional supporters rejected the party’s pro-EU stand in droves at Thursday’s referendum.
Splits widened across the nation. Over three million Britons signed a petition calling for a re-run of the referendum, with the number climbing by the hour, and an opinion poll showed a strong majority of Scots now want to break with the United Kingdom.
Scotland’s leader even raised the possibility of blocking legislation that the British parliament must eventually pass to seal the country’s exit from the world’s biggest single market.
The 52-48 percent vote marked the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity.
Prime Minister David Cameron resigned on Friday after voters ignored his passionate appeals to stay in the EU, but left formally notifying Brussels of Britain’s exit to his successor, who is unlikely to be in office for about three months. That signals a long period of limbo.
Sterling fell as much as 10 percent against the dollar on Friday to levels last seen in 1985, while world stocks saw more than $2 trillion wiped off their value. The weekend gave some respite from the turmoil, but apprehension grew as Monday’s reopening approached.
Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said the vote “will cast a shadow over the global economy”.
“It’s difficult to predict now,” he said at the first annual meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Beijing. “The knee-jerk reaction from the market is probably a bit excessive and needs to calm down and take an objective view.”
Central banks promised through their global forum to do as much as they could to limit volatility on the markets.
“With good cooperation at the global level, I am confident that uncertainty can be contained and that adjustments will proceed as smoothly as possible,” Jaime Caruana, head of the Bank for International Settlements said.
Nevertheless, Japan fretted over the effect on the global currency market and contemplated official action.
“Speculative, violent moves have extremely negative effects,” said Tomomi Inada, policy chief of the ruling LDP party, according to Nikkei daily. “If necessary, the government should not hesitate to respond, including currency intervention.”
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has tried to engineer a weaker yen to encourage exports to help revive the Japanese economy. But after initial success, investors have sought safety in the yen this year due to stock market turmoil and now the Brexit vote, pushing the currency back up.
South Korea’s finance minister also said he feared markets will remain volatile throughout negotiations on the British exit, while Hong Kong’s finance chief promised his government was keeping a close eye on developments after what he described as “a big surprise” from the referendum result.
Beyond Asia, the United States – which during campaigning made clear it wanted Britain to stay in the EU – also showed signs of unease. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet EU foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini in Brussels and British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond in London on Monday.
The visit is largely meant to offer symbolic reassurance at a critical juncture for Europe, but a senior U.S. official said Kerry would also stress the importance of other members not following Britain’s lead and further weakening the EU.
Despite the international expressions of concern, respite from the uncertainty is unlikely for months, at the very least.
Cameron has offered to remain as a caretaker, but refused to invoke Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which allows for two years of exit negotiations. Instead he left that job to his successor, who is due to be elected by his Conservative Party sometime before its annual conference in October.
Only after the new leader has invoked Article 50 can work on thrashing out Britain’s new relationship with the bloc begin. The man widely tipped as the next prime minister is former London mayor Boris Johnson, the most prominent member of the campaign to leave the EU.
Cameron’s Conservatives have been at war with each other for years over whether to quit the EU. But the vote to leave a bloc that Britain joined 43 years ago also pushed Labour into chaos.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sacked a top colleague on Sunday, setting off a wave of resignations from his “shadow” cabinet. Dismissed foreign affairs spokesman Hilary Benn called for Corbyn, who was elected last year largely by left-wing party members and supporters, to go. “He is a good and decent man but he is not a leader,” Benn told BBC television.
Many of Corbyn’s fellow Labour lawmakers believe his left-wing policies and low-key style mean the party is heading for a disastrous defeat at the next election, due in 2020.
But they also accuse him of half-hearted campaigning for a “remain” vote in the referendum, and of failing to win over traditional Labour voters who were more receptive to the anti-EU UK Independence Party.
NO LYING DOWN
Signs are growing that not all the 16 million Britons who voted to stay in the EU are willing to take the result lying down. Backing for the online petition demanding a second vote more than doubled in 24 hours, with signatures exceeding 3.2 million on Sunday afternoon.
The petition, posted on parliament’s website before the referendum, said there should be another vote if the outcome was close on a turnout of less than 75 percent – three points above Thursday’s figure.
It will have to be considered for debate by lawmakers, but has no legal force and its backers compare with the 17.4 million who voted “leave”.
The referendum has also re-energized support for Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, to break away from the United Kingdom instead.
An opinion poll in The Sunday Post said 59 percent of respondents backed independence, rocketing from 45 percent of votes cast in a referendum in 2014.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said a fresh independence referendum is possible, and suggested on Sunday that the devolved parliament in Edinburgh would consider blocking legislation making a Brexit legally binding.
Under the United Kingdom’s complex arrangements to devolve some powers to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, legislation generated in London to give effect to the vote to leave the EU would have to gain consent from the three devolved parliaments.
Asked on BBC television whether she would consider asking the Scottish parliament to block a motion of legislative consent, Sturgeon said: “Of course.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I care about the rest of the UK,” she said. “But my job as First Minister, the Scottish parliament’s job, is to judge these things on the basis of what’s in the interest of people in Scotland.”
(Additional reporting by Christine Kim, Donny Kwok, Estelle Shirbon, William Schomberg, Minami Funakoshi, Francois Murphy and Warren Strobel; Writing by David Stamp; Editing by Anna Willard)