Brits Vote on EU Exit, House Democrats Sit
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Vol. 5, No. 175
Brexit: Voters in Great Britain went to the polls today to decide whether the country will leave the European Union, separating its economy from the rest of Europe. Leaving the EU might rock the European economy and change the relationships of power.
Polling suggests that the measure might fail, but it’s too close to call and a lot of people are nervous. European leaders have issued warnings that the EU could severely punish Britain if it leaves, and that there may be dire economic consequences as well.
European Council President Donald Tusk has said, “No one can foresee what the long-term consequences would be. As a historian, I fear that Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the E.U., but also of Western political civilization.”
One of the Brexit slogans is “Let’s Take Back Control,” which, translated to American English, reads something like “Make Britain Great Again.” Much of the enthusiasm for getting out comes from people upset that European immigrants are taking jobs from native-born citizens, even though unemployment is low. Independence from the EU would allow Britain to have more control over immigration. But Prime Minister David Cameron has said, “It would be madness to try to do that by trashing our economy and pulling out of the single market.”
Britain does half its trade with the EU, a market of 500 million people. A Reuters poll of foreign exchange experts found that the British pound would sink 9 percent against the dollar if Britain exits the EU.
But also at the heart of the Brexit movement is that the British have never really felt like they are a part of Europe. Separated by language, culture, a rough body of water — even beer vs. wine — many British citizens just don’t feel part of it.
For celebrity guidance; London’s mop-haired former mayor Boris Johnson is for leaving the EU; tattooed soccer god David Beckham and his stylish wife Victoria are for staying with the EU.
House Sitting: Democratic members of the House staged a sit-in the House chamber yesterday demanding a vote on gun control bills. It’s not a filibuster, it’s a sitibuster.
The House cameras were shut off, denying C-Span addicts a view of the spectacle. Members used their smart phones to continue streaming the sit in online.
Former civil rights activist John Lewis, a longtime Congressman, demanded, “We’re calling on the leadership of the House to bring common sense gun control legislation to the House floor. Give us a vote!”
Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed it all as a “publicity stunt.”
Late Delivery: After six years of Republican demands for the repeal of Obamacare without offering an alternative, House Speaker Paul Ryan yesterday released an outline of what the Republicans would do if they get a Republican president.
A lot of it is familiar stuff including health savings accounts, high-risk pools, and interstate sales of insurance. The Republicans would
gradually increase the eligibility age for Medicare (and Social Security) to 67. They would also replace Obamacare insurance subsidies with tax credits. All this, of course, depends upon winning the election.
It’s Political: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio reversed his decision to leave the Senate at the end of the year and announced that he will run after all. Republicans fear that losing the Florida seat could lose them control of the Senate.
Buried Elephant: Golfer Rory McIlroy, who was supposed to tee off for Ireland, has withdrawn from the Rio Olympics because of the Zika virus. He’s the 4th rated golfer in the world.
It’s Pat: In the continuing struggle to linguistically deal with the growing phenomenon of gender fluidity, the American Dialect Society has voted the word “they” as its word of the year. The Society’s website says, “‘They’ was recognized by the society for its emerging use as a pronoun to refer to a known person, often as a conscious choice by a person rejecting the traditional gender binary of ‘he’ and ‘she’.”
The effort to find a gender-neutral pronoun goes back as far as 150 years with such candidates as “ne”, “nis”, and “nim,” and “hiser,” a mashup of “his” and “her”. American colleges in recent years have asked entering students to declare their preference. At the University of Vermont, the choices are “none”, “he”, “she”, “they”, “ze” and “name only.”
Down at the DKE house, it’s “Bro.”