Open Thread for Thursday, June 23, 2016


As we wait for the votes to come in across the pond:

  1. EU referendum vote – long queues and bad weather — Apparently, we won’t learn what happened until sometime overnight. But you’ll be excited to know that I made up my mind that were I eligible to vote, I’d vote to remain. How did I decide? I Googled to see what my main man Tony Blair would do. So, that’s settled.
  2. Democrats end sit-in after chaotic 26 hours in House — Meanwhile the GOP got ticked off and went home. What was accomplished? Well, nothing, really, except for energizing the Democratic base, which eats up this sort of thing.
  3. Deadlocked justices block Obama on immigration — Notice how, while the Congress dithers and engages in symbolic actions, the judiciary actually goes out and does stuff? Not sure this is what the Framers had in mind, but this is how it works.
  4. Four more S.C. residents contract Zika virus — All were travel-related, but this is still just getting too close to home.
  5. Baltimore Officer Who Drove Freddie Gray Is Acquitted — As with Ferguson, we have another case in which what thousands of protesters just knew to be the case could not be demonstrated satisfactorily in the criminal justice system. Some dissidents will no doubt think this proves the system is rigged. To me, it demonstrates that people frequently take to the streets based on insufficient evidence.

14 thoughts on “Open Thread for Thursday, June 23, 2016

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    As I say, I’d vote to stay in the E.U. because that’s the rational, mature choice.

    But I have to confess that on a purely visceral, irrational level, I’d be kind of excited to see Britain go it alone.

    Which may seem weird, because normally, I am rationally AND emotionally opposed to separatist movements. I don’t want to see Scotland split off, or Quebec, either. I scoff at the 19th-century notion of nationhood that caused, say, Robert E. Lee to go with the Confederacy because he couldn’t fight against his “country,” Virginia. I was appalled to see what happened in the Balkans in the 90s.

    But this is different. Something about this brings out the Westphalian in me: The U.K. is a separate, sovereign nation as distinct from France, Germany, Italy and Spain as it could possibly be. And I feel a strong attachment to the things that make it different. I hate to think of the will of the people in my Mother Country being overridden by foreign bureaucrats in Brussels (even though I’m normally the guy who sticks up for bureacrats).

    It’s a weird sort of ambivalence I feel, unique to this situation…

  2. David Carlton

    “I’d vote to remain.” Glad to hear it. I would as well, probably chiefly on economic grounds; all the commentators I respect favor remaining, though for some it’s a close call. The way the financial markets have been “voting” also sways me, since I have a rather large retirement portfolio that I’m going to be living on within a couple of years. But most importantly I oppose xenophobia with a passion, and whatever strong arguments there are for Brexit (and there are some), the nasty tone the Leave campaign increasingly took lost me. As one fellow Harry Potter fan put it, Vernon Dursley would vote to leave; we know Jo Rowling voted to stay.

  3. Brad Warthen

    It’s looking like a real nail-biter. Early returns from Newcastle and elsewhere in the North seem stronger than expected for “leave,” but it’s soon to tell…

      1. Barry

        I think they “want their country back.”

        a silly phrase in many respects- but a powerful one.

        1. Tex

          Preview to what is happening in this country???

          Do you think Clinton/Trump winning the election will bring this country closer together? I see it driving a bigger wedge between the two parties. Obama’s election started it, either of these two will finish it. I’m not a doom and gloom guy, but I see absolutely nothing positive coming from this election. In fact, I can see assassination attempts (multiple if not successful) on either two of these candidates once elected… the hatred by some of these two people is that bad.

        2. Doug Ross

          You’ve got it, Barry. There are similar sentiments in this country that led us to Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Job losses in manufacturing, illegal immigrants who enter but don’t assimilate in the U.S. culture, the quest for “free” everything, class wars… the global economy ends up pulling down as many as it raises up.

          What do you think the vote would be in Texas if given the choice to secede? How about South Carolina? It might be a lot closer than many are willing to contemplate.

  4. Barry

    I’ve noticed how CNN and MSNBC barely mention the Baltimore verdicts now that they are coming in “not guilty. ”

    When the event happened, they talked for weeks about it. Now it’s not worth talking about.


  5. Assistant

    I think the sit-in helped fill in the scorecard, now they’re on record as being against three of the original ten amendments, the so-called Bill of Rights.

    Back in September, 2014, Senate Democrats voted to repeal the First Amendment, apparently because someone had the nerve to make a film critical of their current presumptive presidential nominee. There’s also the small matter of their treatment of the religious liberty of the Little Sisters of the Poor and some other groups.

    The sit-in signaled their displeasure with the Second and Fifth Amendments. Their high dudgeon over the Fifth puzzled me at first because Democrats do seem to take the Fifth a lot. But I then realized it was their objection to others’ right to due process that put them into a tizzy, so it all made sense.

    So should we start a pool to bet on what amendment they’ll try to gut next? My money’s on the Fourth, when they attempt firearms confiscations, the only gun control they really want.

    1. Mark Stewart

      I would say this is the face of fear. But I think we as a nation need to understand where this kind of angst is coming from; why it is so viral.

      It isn’t a good feeling to feel threatened. It’s a corrosive feeling, part of the universal human condition and not an illegitimate impulse. But it is a stark warning sign – and something not be be dismissed. I don’t think we – all of us as a society – have responded well to understanding the underlying causes; nor has anyone been able to fully articulate this sense of angst, where it stems from and how it can be deconflicted.

  6. Mark Stewart

    Well, the fearful classes won it appears. The old saw about South Carolina seems like a pretty good tag for the UK this am; not that any state or nation should ever willingly place itself in comparison with an insane asylum.

    Given that Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, following their own recent nail-bitter of an historic vote, it would seem a reasonable bet that Scotland revisits that vote; and elects to leave the UK for the EU.

    Great Britain just voted itself down to just Britain. They are lucky that while they will have irreparably harmed their global reputation, the referendum of the people isn’t technically binding. Except that it reflects the (misguided) will of the people. So what is Parliment to do?

  7. Bill

    The English have effectively voted to take the great out of Great Britain. The Scots voted by a nearly two-to-one majority not to follow their neighbors to the south into provincialism and will undoubtedly hold another vote to leave the UK. This was just plain recklessness on the part of Cameron: holding a national referendum in an attempt to deal with what was an internal conflict between Tories. A real cock up.

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