Anglo Blog 4, July 6, 2020

Coronavirus Update



In Britain, pubs opened up at the weekend, where social distancing and use of mask was basically abandoned, whereas other countries are still being much more vigilant about following medical advice about using a mask and observing social distancing where possible.

While some countries seem to be out of the woods, like Italy and Spain, other countries, such as Brazil, India and Mexico, are getting clobbered by the virus and have yet to see any downturn in infections and deaths. The US, after seeing steep declines in the major Covid-19 epicenters, such as New York, has registered alarming increases in infection rates in regions previously largely unscathed by the disease. The World Health Organization says that we are nowhere near the end of this scourge, so brace yourselves for more online everything.

Black Lives Matter

The shocking filming of George Floyd being murdered by policemen sparked a global reaction against institutional racism and treatment of minorities in many countries. The movement, Black Lives Matter, previously considered somewhat peripheral, has gained mainstream acceptance and politicians and public figures are running to embrace it.


In Bristol, protesters tore down the statue of a notorious slave trader and threw it into the river. Winston Churchill’s statue was targeted in London but remains standing. Are there any national heroes without flaws?

This has led to a resurgence in the bringing down of statues of figures considered unsavory and unworthy of the kind of public reverence that statues afford individuals. In the United States, protestors once again have been targeting generals and others considered heroes in the South for their participation in the US civil war of 1861-1865. There people were, after all, fighting to break up the United States and therefore were committing treason. More difficult are the cases of other important figures in US history, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. While pivotal in the creation of the United States, both of these men owned slaves and only Washington freed his slaves upon his death.

In Great Britain, protestors in Bristol pulled down a statue of a notorious slave trader who had also been a benefactor of the city. Others had their eyes on statues of Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University, the infamous colonialist/imperialist whose name was given to the country then known as Rhodesia, later Zimbabwe. Students from all over the world receive the Rhodes Scholarship to study at that venerated university and have included people such as Bill Clinton and three former prime ministers of Australia.


Other targets were Winston Churchill and Horacio Nelson, both of whom were instrumental in saving Britain from aggressive foreign powers. Churchill is accused of contributing to a massive famine in Bengal and generally being a racist. But does this undo the fact that he almost single-handedly saved Europe from the biggest racist of all time? Assessing history with current values is extremely difficult.

Hong Kong

Things in Hong Kong have been heating up over the last 4 or 5 years as China seeks to tighten its grip on the former British colony. After the opium wars in which Britain defeated a decadent and weak China, Hong Kong passed to British control for the next 150 years. In this time, despite being a colony, certain democratic guarantees were afforded to the population. When Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997, China agreed to preserve these democratic guarantees and shrouded this anomaly as “one country, two systems.”


However, China has made very aggressive moves to curb these freedoms which has produced mass protests and adversely affected the economy of this previously very successful capitalist enclave. Young people are exasperated by the fact that their right to things like freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are being curbed and could be decimated altogether in the near future. The world seems to accept the inevitability of this, showing just how effective China has been in making itself an indispensable economic force in the globalized world. And also, how countries in the west, however much they may decry the human rights abuses that China commits (locking up of hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, quashing any dissent in Tibet, etc.), economic interests are paramount and trump all others.

Transgender rights


US Supreme Court rules to protect the rights of transgender people.

The US Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, ruled that discrimination in the work place of transgender people was illegal and companies that practice this would be liable for it. Thus, the transgender community is protected by the same guarantees that women, African Americans and gays have had to protect them in the working environment. Groups throughout the US celebrated this ruling although there are still likely to be heated debate about what gender entails, exemplified by JK Rawlings being eviscerated for her supposedly anti-transgender remarks concerning what it biologically means to be a woman. These kinds of conflicts are not likely to peter out anytime soon.

Nominated Minister of Education resigns before assuming post


Carlos Decotelli, president Jair Bolsonaro’s pick to become the new education minister, was forced to resign after it was proven that he had lied on his CV about his educational attainments. He listed a PhD from an Argentine university and post-doctoral work in Germany as part of his qualification, both of which were false. This resulted in him withdrawing his name for consideration.


Ministers Ricardo Salles and Damares Alves both lied on their CVs but continue to exercise posts of high responsibility. Did Carlos Decotelli’s swift removal have something to do with his color?

Questions about Decotelli’s race, he is an Afro-descendent, were raised because several other ministers also lied about their qualifications but are still serving in active roles in the present government. Some are asking why they were allowed to continue whereas Decotelli was pressured to resign. Experts point to a tendency in society to judge black people harder than whites so that any negative behaviors can be pointed at as having to do with race, rather than just individual shortcomings. When a white person does something heinous, sociological explanations are offered, whereas when a black person behaves anti-socially, racial explanations are often offered implicitly or explicitly. Imagine if Barack Obama had had the same kind of corruption and incompetence being shown by the current Trump administration. How would he be judged.

Corona Blog 3

It is easy to forget that there are other events occurring around the world other than coronavirus. So consumed are we and the media with this frightening phenomenon that other things happening of significance and import are hardly considered.

The death of Little Richard

This may seem trite to start off with this, but when Richard Penniman, better known as Little Richard, died last week at age 87, the world lost one of the most important creators of rock and roll whose incredible influence still infuses contemporary music. His resonance also can be felt in terms of his non-binary sexuality, a taboo subject when he came onto the scene in the middle of the last century but which has become, if not mainstream, at least an acceptable notion to large swathes of the population.


Richard Penniman, better known as Little Richard, one of the true kings of rock and roll, died last week aged 87.




Penniman’s death also reminds us of the debt rock and roll as a musical genre to black Americans, who invented the blues and thus created the bedrock for most rock and roll songs. Most people credit Elvis Presley, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones and others as the pioneers who spread the gospel of this music to the world. The slights the many black musicians, Little Richard and Chuck Berry being paramount, who, in segregated United States of the 1950s, could not even appear on the cover of LP record, and whose music was suddenly making white musicians a lot of money.

So credit must be given where it’s due and Little Richard deserves all the accolades that have come his way upon his death, which were, nonetheless, less omniscient when he was alive. He never won a Grammy.

Another racist killing

The ugly nature of the killing of young, unarmed, black men in the US has once again reared its head. In Georgia, USA, Ahmaud Arbery, was shot and killed by a father and son pair when out for a jog in February of this year. They alleged to have been trying to make a citizen’s arrest after a series of break-ins in the neighborhood, and suspected Arbery of being the perpetrator, for no other reason than that he was black.


Ahmaud Arbery was killed while going out for a run.

What is perhaps more scandalous than this heinous act was how long it took to arrest anybody. One of the perpetrators, Gregory McMichael, had been an investigator for the local police and managed to delay the process of justice taking its proper course through his network of law enforcement contacts. Both and his son, Travis, have now been apprehended and charged with murder.

Even having had a black president, too many Americans regard young black men as criminals and to be feared. When this occurs in places of historical racial turmoil, such as the US south, where guns are plentiful and laws give citizens extensive powers to supposedly defend themselves, a recipe for disaster is created. If the footage of the film had not been available, who knows if anyone would have been held to account for the murder of an innocent young man going outside to exercise.

Farcical coup attempt in Venezuela

The Venezuelan opposition was further discredited after a comical attempt by 60 men, on May 3, to overthrow the government, kidnap the country’s president Nicolas Maduro, and bring him back to the US where he is wanted for drug trafficking and has a heavy price on his head. A former Green Beret and highly decorated combat veteran, Jordan Goudreau, led the effort that resulted in its humiliating defeat by Maduro’s forces even before it landed in the country.


A failed coup attempt in Venezuela leaves president Nicolas Maduro stronger.

Maduro claimed that he knew all along what had been planned. That wouldn’t have been hard since Goudreau tweeted and recorded videos about the upcoming invasion, hardly a way to surprise a government always wary of and thus prepared for coup attempts, having suffered several brazen attacks since 2017. To call it amateur would be to give it too much credit, was the way the whole catastrophe was described by one expert.

Since 1998, Venezuela has been ruled following the “socialist” ideas of the Bolivaran Revolution led initially by Hugo Chaves and later Nicolas Maduro. Many would argue that the country, now an economic basket case despite having the largest oil deposits in the world, has been grossly misgoverned. The population is suffering extreme hardship as a result.

But the opposition, led by Juan Guaido, has been ineffective in its may attempts to dislodge Maduro. With his name on the organizational document for this fiasco, and tape recorded saying he had reservations but supported the invasion attempt, Guaido plays into Maduro’s script of him being nothing but a US pawn who would deliver the oil fields to the hemispheric behemoth. Things don’t look set to change any time soon.

Is motherhood/fatherhood a job?

Anyone who has been a parent understands that a wide skill set is needed to guide one’s offspring through this messy and complicated life. Mental agility, physical ability, psychological counseling skills, dexterity as a cheerleader, an enforcer, a leader, a team player, have a tolerance for long hours and a whole bunch of other competencies required of parenthood, are valued assets in the workplace.


Should parenting count as job experience?

Yet motherhood or fatherhood still can’t be listed on your CV as something that might give you an advantage over someone who hasn’t done it and be beneficial to who might employ you. It’s rather absurd, as is the fact that societies tolerate the idea that it is normal for a woman to suffer in her career because she takes time off to have a child.

Maybe, after being shacked up for weeks with families, those who hadn’t contended with 24-hour contact with children will be more sympathetic and put a higher value on parenting, even if it can’t be measured in dollars and cents.

Coronavirus blog

The corona virus had been ravaging the planet for three months now. There are things we know, but still many more unanswered questions whose resolution will take weeks, months or even years to determine their significance.

What we do know: countries can beat this modern plague if their governments have clear strategies and a population that complies with the suggestions or rules. New Zealand has managed to extirpate the virus; Taiwan largely avoided it with laudable preventative measures, Denmark and Finland have largely controlled it and are taking steps towards normalcy. While Europe was castigated generally, Germany, despite large infection numbers, has suffered a quarter of the fatalities of France and Great Britain.


What will happen to the economy?

All these countries are led by woman, and while speculating of the implications of this is prickly, the direct, clear and humane way these respective leaders presented and acted on the crisis has proven very effective. The Finnish prime minister had a news conference just for children, no adult journalists were allowed. Kindness, shared responsibility and a sense of fun have been key tools in this protracted fight.

The US and the UK have been pummeled by Covid-19, and projected dates for US fatalities top 100,000. Britain, with a fifth of the US population had already lost around 29,000 people and the curve has not yet started to descend. In both cases, the country’s respective leaders chose to at best ignore the impending threat, at worst claimed it was the work of political enemies and for that was baseless. This failure to react quickly enough, nor very effectively to manage the situation once its dire nature became apparent, has been lethal.

The countries initially most decimated by the virus, Italy and Spain, are seeing a steady decline in numbers of victims and will soon be reopening, albeit slowly and incrementally. Other countries such as Brazil, however, have not yet bourne the brunt of this beast and face huge challenges in the immediate future. With a leadership that blatantly ignores the directives of public health officials, inevitable challenges become even more complicated.


People stand outside the Caixa Economica bank to collect government support, now their only source of income.

The chilling unknown economic consequences of the world economy basically coming to screaming halt have spawned often vicious debates about what had been done and what to do. I had a rather unsettling conversation with an English school friend of mine and his argument went something like this.

“Firstly, the disease has been overblown from the start by the media, which is benefitting enormously from it. Secondly, who does the disease kill? Old people and unhealthy people. Many of these people had only months more to live anyway. We have to isolate them, take proper precautions since this reaction has been extreme.”

“And look what we have, an economy on the verge of collapse, propped up by money from who knows where. What about that woman in a small council flat (government housing) with her four kids not being able to work? This economic catastrophe will be much worse than if the virus was left to follow its natural course.”

This man has been my friend for 45 years and he’s one of the nicest people I know. And, therefore, I can’t discard out of hand for its cold-hearted nature. He’s a successful entrepreneur, who feels the system in which he thrived is under threat from a wave of hysteria, undermining capitalism’s basis. That is definitely food for thought.

Corona blog

Corona Blog One: Thoughts on the Corona Onslaught

This is an experience unlike any I have been through over the last 56 years. My mother and father, 85 and 86 respectively, have also never passed through anything similar, even though they were alive in the Second World War, albeit from the comfortable safety of being 5000 kilometers away.


It is hard to find anything in the news other than that related to coronavirus. With princes, prime-ministers and potentially millions contracting this virus, it is the plague of our times and is testing and will further test the structure of our society and its capacity for survival and self-preservation.

To overstate its drastic impact is difficult. The figures of those contaminated and those killed by it gallops along on news broadcasts with eerie and macabre upward projection. We do know that things are bound to get worse, just not the proportion or degree of the imminent hardship. This is slightly terrifying.

But to dwell on the implicit horror of the “current events,” while cloistered at home, essentially, deprived of our freedom of movement, is to invite relentless mental anguish. We must stay positive, at all costs.

One aspect of this crisis that has mitigated general despair is the fact that everybody is in the same boat. Emotional pain is relative, and when someone feels they are suffering alone, it is surely magnified. In other words, we cannot feel sorry for ourselves. There are just no grounds for it.

To condemn the authorities for their often seemingly lackadaisical approach is easy and many times justified. But those who offer such criticism should remember that this situation is unprecedented and administering effectively a disaster of such magnitude hasn’t been done in over 75 years.

Sadly, partisanship can already be observed in how the crisis is being interpreted and how that has influenced the policies enacted to combat it. Up until late January, US president Donald Trump derisively dismissed it as another plot by his opponents to unseat him. Brazilian president said it was a small cold. He doesn’t understand why kids are not in school.

Behind Trump’s and Bolsonaro’s argument about the virus being over-hyped (partly to try and damage them) is the idea that a destroyed economy will kill more people than the disease itself. Defenders of this view claim that since the disease does not kill most of us (it has a 5% mortality rate), those not in danger, taking the proper precautions, should be able to go back to work/school and live normal lives. Isolate those who are vulnerable and let’s save the economy at all costs.

There is no doubt that the economy is taking a huge hit and the longer this blight goes on, the more dire the situation becomes. Tackling this will be a herculean task.
What the argument misses, however, is that the practical result of such a precipitous return to normal would be massive contamination and, because of this, the collapse of the health system. It’s the devil’s choice.

Over the next weeks, I will be writing a weekly blog, trying to incorporate “what’s going on in the world” into updates on corona virus and thoughts about life. I will attach a vocabulary list with new words below. The text will always be one page or less.

Corona Blog Two: Week Two of Lockdown

The coronavirus continues to ravage the world and the center of its destructive path now seems to have fallen on the United States. If there is any good news, it is that infection and death rates have started to level off in Italy and Spain though a couple of days of this trend is not enough to breathe east yet. But clearly, the dire reality of spending 99% of our time within the walls of our homes is likely to endure for some time.


New York is currently being bludgeoned by the disease and war-like metaphors are being used to describe it. President Trump has repeatedly said that between 100,000-240,000 people in the country could die from the disease, although experts are unclear where he got his numbers from. Every day the US president gives a press conference, in which he spouts half-truths and urges people to take medicine that has not been proven to be effective. He is followed by his medical experts who basically contradict everything he says. This seems acceptable to Trump though it is unclear how long he will put up with this subordination.

Meanwhile in Britain, prime-minister Boris Johnson has been hospitalized due to the virus. Also, in that country, the owners of the main football clubs in the Premier League have suggested that their players take a 30% pay cut and funnel the money back into the club. This has sparked discord and tensions as the players argue that the billionaire owners could delve into their own pockets first. Wayne Rooney argued, in a recent newspaper article, that players like him are perfectly willing to donate money to the National Health Service (NHS), but would prefer to give the money directly to the NHS rather than to the government or the owners themselves.

Analyzing the death rates, what is interesting is the difference between countries which have similarly rich economies. Germany has a death rate of 1.4%, whereas the rate in France and the United Kingdom is around 10%. There are several explanations for this.

Firstly, those infected in Germany are significantly younger (around 49 compared to 62 in France and Italy). Secondly, free testing was made widely available so asymptomatic people were identified and appropriately isolated. Thirdly, there is a strong, public health system with 34 hospital beds per 100,000 people compared to other European countries (seven per 100,000 in the Netherlands.) A fourth reason is that people have overwhelmingly adhered to the restrictions, which has not been the case in the UK where people are flouting social distancing rules and the government is threatening to ban outdoor exercise. Finally, there is Angela Merkel who has been calm yet firm and has the trust of the population.

As is the case with most people, confinement has resulted in a massive increase in television watching in my case. Two series I would recommend are: Narcos Mexico and Trotsky. Narcos Mexico shows how the drug dealers there managed to reduce the Colombians to mere producers as they took over the distribution of the drugs to the US, the main consumer of illicit narcotics.

Trotsky, a Russian mini-series, portrays one of the main actors in the 1917 Communist Revolution in Russia who ended up in exile in Mexico City, where he had a dalliance with Frida Kahlo before being murdered by one of Stalin’s henchmen. My prior impression of Trotsky was that if the idealistic revolutionary, yet what comes out is a brutal egotist, ready to kill and maim for the larger cause.

O Poço, a Spanish film, also comes highly recommended, and shows the brutality of the class system where those at the top, desperate to preserve their position of primacy, do everything to keep those below them down. This is not a light film, though an important one.

Corona Blog Three: Tedium, Anxiety and Speculation

We are now into the third week of Covid-19 lockdown and keeping spirits up after being at home for so long is proving difficult. There is a general feeling of fatigue and yearning to get back to normal life, although normal life may not be as we have previously envisaged it.


There are several theories being bandied about as to how the world will have transformed after this virus has been properly controlled. And the scholars are basing many of their projections for this future on the manner in which governments have handled the outbreak of the virus.

China, the virus’ first target, was initially loathe to admit it had a problem. This is typical of a totalitarian-style government that tries to project an all-powerful image onto its population whereby any incident that might reflect weakness of the regime is hidden. One of the main doctors trying to sound the alarm about the disease was arrested.

Having realized the real danger posed by the regime, however, the Chinese took draconian steps and have apparently been successful in controlling the virus’ spread. Imposing these kinds of strict measures in a dictatorship is much easier than in a democracy since short of arresting people for breaking curfews or restrictions, governments in these more open systems must rely on the public’s better nature rather than its fear.

However, it is not only authoritarian governments that have been successful in this fight. South Korea and Taiwan, the latter with intricate trade links to mainland China and therefore seemingly vulnerable to widespread infections, have both been effective in fighting the virus. They are democracies, but some argue that the cultural legacy of Confucianism, which stresses obedience to authority, has helped these governments considerably. In Europe, Germany is held-up as an example of sound crisis management, and one of the reasons cited is the populace’s propensity to follow rules.

In democracies where debate is encouraged and questioning assumptions considered fundamental, confronting extreme social distress is perhaps more difficult. Putting aside for a minute the shortcomings of political leadership, people might think they know better than governments and act accordingly. In London, with the onset of spring, people were ignoring social distancing rules to catch some of the year’s first sunshine. Freedom of thought can therefore potentially be an impediment to fighting against an invisible enemy like coronavirus.

Over the last 30 years, western democracies have been questioning the role of the state in the economy and more often or not, reduced its role to approach the minimum state ideal proposed under neo-liberal economic thinking. However, when major catastrophes hit, it is only governments that have the wherewithal to manage the crisis. After World War II, Great Britain elected its most left-wing government, based on the fact that the government had successfully managed the war and so could be effective in managing the society (in this case, transferring wealth to the less fortunate). This debate rages on.

Two models of societal management are emergent: China style, based on autocratic leadership or western style democracies, where problems are resolved through non-violent dialogue. After the crisis, many may question how much freedom is worth if we are all shut up in our homes.

Anglo Blog, February

The Road to the White House

The race for the Democratic representative to face Donald Trump in a general election this November has exposed the Party’s weaknesses and increased the possibility that the incumbent president will prevail.


The first caucus, was held in Iowa, deep in the Midwest farming belt of the US, of which 90% of the population is white, hardly representative of an increasingly less white country as a whole. It was a disaster. They couldn’t even count the votes correctly and couldn’t even declare a winner, though Bernie Sanders and Buttigieg seemed to have come out neck and neck.

Next was the New Hampshire primary, another 90% white enclave whose motto on its licence plates is “Live free or die,” was won by Sanders but with Buttigieg not far behind.

Buttigieg is the first openly gay person to compete for the presidency, Bernie Sanders who lost the nomination last time round to Hillary Clinton, is a so-called Democratic Socialist, thus considered radical within the US political spectrum. Neither of them is given much of a chance of beating Trump in the fall.

Much hope was vested in Elizabeth Warren, a senator from Massachusetts whose blueprint for how to guide the US economy was lauded for its thoroughness and practicality. Yet she has stumbled and failed to gain any kind of momentum, scoring poorly in the first two contests. 

The race now moves to the south, where other factors come into play, mostly in terms of the much larger African American presence and their involvement in the process. Blacks make up the most loyal voting bloc for the Democratic Party (something like 93% of black women voted against Trump) and so their allegiance is coveted by the candidates.

Neither Sanders nor Buttigieg have made inroads into the black community. Former vice-president Joe Biden, once considered a favorite, fared badly in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and is flailing. He does, however, appear to have deep support among African Americans, indelibly associated as he is with Barak Obama’s presidency.

Looming above the race is the entrance of Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York and a multi-billionaire, who appeals to many moderates within the party but also, in some people’s minds, can gain traction with swing voters, who will ultimately decide the election. Bloomberg is pouring millions of his own money into the race. Since he is an outsider and once a Republican, he is distrusted by many in the Democratic Party establishment.

The results of South Carolina’s primary may clarify the jumbled mess that now constitutes the race, but there are still big divides within the Party between its liberal and moderate wings. The former argue that the focus on clawing back the working class white men who voted for Obama (often twice) but switched to Trump in the last election, is misplaced.

What is needed, they argue, is the consolidation of the various spheres within the party under new and bold government-sponsored programs. Many of Sanders’ and Buttigieg’s supporters are young and passionate, and without a motivated youth, Democrats have little hope of regaining the White House.

The moderates argue that Sanders’ is too far from the mainstream to have a chance against Trump, and Buttigieg’s sexual preference an impediment to his progress towards the ultimate prize. They might not say that out loud.

Swing voters, perhaps fed up with Trump’s general crassness rather than his policies (the economy is booming) are the key to the race. Trump is so polarizing that the great majority of the population have already made up their mind long ago and are unlikely to be swayed either way. It’s the 20% of people who could be coaxed to vote Democratic that will win the election, they would posit.

These same might add: beware of going too far to the left. Look what happened to the hapless Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, whose program that included the re-nationalization of some industries, and who was trounced by the Conservatives, who now hold an unassailable majority. It seems that left-wing ideas when an economy is doing well and most people have jobs are less attractive than in times of hardship.

To beat Trump, the Democrats must come up with a strong, inspiring candidate who can expose him for the fraud that he is, while maintaining some dignity and civility. This is a Herculean task, and one which none of the candidates seem capable of at the moment.

Anglo Blog, October-November

Twitter no longer to allow political advertising

Jack Dorsey, of the social media platform Twitter, has said his app. will no longer carry political advertising on the platform that he created, citing the danger of false information undermining the democratic process. His move has been lauded by those who think that recent shocks in the political world, specifically the decision of Britain, through a referendum, to leave the European Union, and the election of Donald Trump, both of which occurred in 2016 were influenced by fake news. The amount of false information placed on social media is legend, much of it on Facebook. Unfortunately, Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has refused to rule out accepting political advertisement, even if it is blatantly false. He claims users of Facebook will people able to surmise what is real or fake.


While media companies have to adhere to strict standards concerning the veracity of information they publish, social media companies are under no such restrictions. This has created a situation whereby fake news proliferates unhindered and does indeed influence the minds and decisions of many voters. Similarly, there are legal limits on how much money can be funneled towards campaigns, but no such limits are established for how much people can give towards political advertising on social media. Society always lags behind technological advances and has yet to adequately deal with the fake news phenomenon, which has had profound, and often nefarious, effects on the practice of democracy.

Official is whipped due to law he helped put into practice

In the Indonesian province of Aceh, an official who was instrumental in implementing Shariah (Islamic) Law there, received a dose of his own medicine. Convicted of having an affair with a married woman, he received 28 lashes with a whip while the married woman received 23.


Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world. The government is ostensibly secular and Aceh is the only province to adopt Shariah law. Breaching this law includes such offenses as stealing (amputation of hands), apostasy (crucifixion), illicit sex (public flogging or death by stoning), drinking alcohol (40-80 lashes) among others.

Flat Earth Convention in São Paulo

The city of São Paulo in Brazil will hold the first ever flat earth convention where people who believe that the earth is in fact flat will gather to exchange ideas and theories. According to Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo, 7% of Brazilians believe that the earth is flat.


Adherents to this view, that most people might find incredulous, believe the fact that what we see in our daily lives, walk on, drive on, etc. proves the world is flat. Antarctica is believed to be a kind of wall which protects the earth and prevents the seas from spilling over to some other undefined place. The internet has given a boost to this belief, which has also been bolstered by conspiracy theories about NASA and the idea that the missions to the moon were staged in Hollywood studios to bilk taxpayers out of money.
Groups advocating theories based on faulty science, such as the anti-vaccination movement, have found fertile ground on the internet where the veracity of things tends to take second place to their impact or the impression they leave.

Trump impeachment

The House of Representatives of the US Congress has voted to impeach Donald Trump for conduct considered criminal. In a phone call with the president of Ukraine, of which a transcript exists, Trump suggested that US military aid to that country, close to US$400 million, would only be released if an investigation was launched into Hunter Biden, son of former vice-president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden. Soliciting help from a foreign government to investigate or destabilize a political opponent is illegal and it seems Trump has done this.


The Democrats were wary of launching this impeachment process since in an already polarized country, such a process could further divide people. They argued, however, that after this latest intervention by Trump, they had no choice. If found guilty in the House, the case moves to the Senate whereby the president would be tried by this body. In order to be removed from office, the senate must confirm his guilt with a 2/3 majority. In political terms, this is an almost impossible result since that would mean that 15 Republican Senators would have to vote affirmatively, an extremely unlikely outcome.

Proponents of impeachment argue that Trump’s ethical breaches are almost serial, his relationship with the truth tenuous, and his respect for the institutions that underlie US democracy non-existent. The latest Ukraine episode is just one in a series of the president’s attacks of democratic process which illustrates his unfitness to be president.

Defenders of the president say that from the start of his presidency, there has been a witch hunt to remove Trump from office from Democrats who cannot accept that he won the election in 2016. Even if there was “quid pro quo” in the Ukraine affair, that is not an impeachable offence according to Trump supporters. And they question how Hunter Biden, a lawyer with no experience in the energy sector, got a job on the board of one of Ukraine’s biggest energy companies. Did that have something to do with his father being vice president at the time?

The Trump saga continues.

Pollution in India

The government of the city of New Delhi, India’s second biggest urban center with over 11 million inhabitants, has distributed over 5 million masks to students in the school system due to the toxic pollution enveloping the city. Authorities have been forced to declare a public emergency. The pollution is 20 times that which the maximum level recommended by the World Health Organization. According to the BBC, all construction work has been halted, the circulation of cars heavily reduced and fireworks banned.


Two factors have contributed to the current state of pollution. At this time of year farmers burn off crop stubble to clear their fields. This state is compounded by the Diwali Festival, an event accompanied by smoke spewing fireworks. The smoke is so intense that it is being picked up by satellite photos.

The no-fur queen

Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom´s longest reigning monarch, has decided to forsake using fur vestments, a move applauded by several animal rights groups as well as segments of the general population. This follows the move by two major fashion brands, Gucci and Prada, who have recently pledged to give up fur. The queen will now wear fake fur at any events she attends where the temperature requires heavier clothes.


For years, activists have been badgering the fashion industry and clamoring for it to give up using fur. Especially vocal and forceful in their actions has been PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) who have been known to throw fake blood on models who use fur. Opponents to fur cite the cruelty inflicted on animals to produce fur, and according to FAADA (Foundation for Counselling and Action in Defense of Animals), 45 million animals are slaughtered annually. It takes between 60-80 minks to make a mink coat. This is progress.

Anglo Blog Post, September/October 2019

The Anglo-Saxon world, comprised of Great Britain and the United States, is being ruled, in the minds of many, including this author, two incendiary and divisive leaders, prime minister Boris Johnson and president Donald Trump, respectively. While critics abhor their aggressiveness, truculence, general disregard for political conventions, and unwillingness to ever admit mistakes, their defenders extol this approach as being effective and in contrast to the anodyne talk of politicians who are anyways corrupt and ineffective.


Do they do to the same barber?

Donald Trump’s rise stunned the political world and until the eve of his electoral triumph in 2016, few predicted he would gain the presidency. That having occurred, it was hoped that Trump, humbled by the stature of the office, would temper his contentious rhetoric and attempt to heal the wounds of a deeply divided country. This has not proven the case, and Trump continues to use language that is deeply offensive to minorities and others with whom he disagrees.

Given Trump’s history, this is hardly surprising. He came to prominence as a real-estate tycoon in the 1980s, a time when greed was deemed to be “good” and ostentation celebrated. Trump embodied that storyline, naming gaudy buildings and establishments after himself, ditching his wife for a super model, and then her for another one, and with his mane of bleached blond hair, became a caricature of nouveau money.

More nefarious and a premonition of what was to come occurred in 1989. After four black teens were arrested for the brutal rape of a white woman in Central Park in 1989, Trump took out of a full page advertisement in several New York newspapers, including the New York Times, demanding the death penalty be brought back, specifically for these boys.

These teenagers, on scant evidence, were convicted and sentenced to long prison terms. Eventually their innocence was proven and they were released. Trump has never apologized for this egregious act. Similarly, during the Obama presidency, Trump aggressively peddled the falsehood that Obama hadn’t in fact been born in the US, and thus was an illegitimate president (presidents have to be born in the country.) Even after Obama’s birth certificate was produced, Trump refused to back down.


It is thought that after Obama goaded him at a press dinner, making him appear ridiculous, he decided to run for president. The rest, as they say, is history.

Boris Johnson is sometimes called Britain’s Trump, with some degree of accuracy though in many ways he is quite different. Johnson’s approach to politics is similar to his counterpart across the ocean, a take-no-prisoners approach, refusing to compromise, maligning opponents as traitors and appealing to the baser instincts of his followers.

However, their trajectories have been very different. Johnson attended Britain’s most elite schools and university, with a degree in ancient history and displays considerable erudition when called upon. He became a journalist, where he was based in Brussels and propagated many of the myths about the excesses of the European Union regulations and harm the institution was doing to Britain. In fact, an early indicator of his mendacious nature was when he made up quotes for an article, for which he was fired. No matter, he moved to another paper and impugned the European Union at every opportunity.

He entered politics in 2001 and eventually became London mayor in 2008. Even critics admit that Johnson was effective in this mostly ceremonial role, his charisma and ability for self-deprecation (in contrast to Trump, who modestly calls himself a “very stable genius”) making him popular with Londoners who saw him as a kind of likeable buffoon.

His buffoonery, however, masked a searing ambition and his very right-wing mindset, and when Brexit came along, he saw a perfect opportunity to seize the issue and head the leave campaign which was eventually successful. The quagmire into which Britain plunged after this vote has seen the demise of two prime ministers and the assumption of this position by Johnson himself.

Both Trump and Johnson are facing recent difficulties, with the US president facing impeachment and Johnson losing a series of parliamentary votes that have forced him to seek an extension to Britain’s exit should a deal not be reached by October 19.

The impeachment proceedings launched against Trump by the US House of Representatives are based on a phone call Trump had with the new president of the Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. In it, Trump seemed to say that for the US to release economic aid to Ukraine, in return he asked for a “favor” whereby the Ukraine would investigate Hunter Biden, son of former vice-president Joe Biden, a political opponent of Trump’s.

This is clearly illegal, but the chances of the Trump being impeached are slim. Although the House of Representatives, now controlled by the Democrats, will likely reach a majority to send impeachment proceedings to the Senate, this body not only has a Republican majority but for impeachment 2/3 of senators have to approve it and this seems extremely unlikely. In 1998, president Bill Clinton was impeached by the House, but not the senate and therefore was able to stay in office.

Trump, however, has, true to his style, relentlessly attacked the process, suggesting those responsible for bringing it are traitors and should be tried for treason. Things are moving along swiftly.

Almost immediately after assuming the post of prime minister, Boris Johnson requested that the queen prorogue (suspend) Parliament, ostensibly so that he could prepare his agenda for her speech but obviously so that MPs would have no influence on the Brexit negotiations. This move immediately went to the courts and the Supreme Court decided that Johnson had misled the queen and Parliament was to be called back.

Although humiliated by the courts and the legislature, Johnson presses on with bravado and jingoism, declaring that he will not (as he is now required to do by law) seek an extension past the October 31 deadline and that if necessary, the UK will leave the European Union without a deal.

Trump, and to a lesser extent Johnson, have pushed the limits of their power and changed the way politics is done. Civility to opponents seems to be a thing of the past and Trump’s twitter account implacably excoriates those who act against him as ‘losers’, ‘cowards’ and worse.

With upcoming elections in both countries, are these two blond bombshell’s days numbered? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Anglo Blog, June-July

Three Setbacks for autocracies (but they’re fighting back)

Istanbul, Turkey

This city, Turkey’s most important despite not being the capital, has long been a center of resistance to Recep Erdogan’s increasingly autocratic rule. In March this year, the opposition candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu seemed to have won the election by a slight margin, but the government alleged it was too close and scheduled another election for June. This was a major miscalculation by Erdogan, since the result of the June election was an overwhelming victory for Imamoglu.


Ekrem Imamoglu, the new mayor of Istanbul

Erdogan has been running Turkey from 2003 onwards, first as prime minister and then as president from 2014 to the present. During this period, Turkey has grown impressively but also suffered democratic setbacks as Erdogan has sought to consolidate his power to almost dictatorial level and increase the role of religion in the society.


The map shows how Turkey is a bridge between Europe and Asia. In Istanbul itself, there is an actual bridge linking Europe to Asia

After Turkey became a republic in 1923, one of the pillar of the new society was its secularism. This provided a unique role for the country as a bridge between the west and the east, Islam and Christianity, an example that an Islamic country can be democratic. Though it still is essentially democratic, Erdogan has sought to expand his power and has been relentless with his attacks on the press and journalists.

The future of the country is unsure, and it has had increasingly strained relations with the west, insisting on purchasing weapons from Russia and playing an ambiguous role, at leas tfrom the western perspective, in the Middle East conflicts. But the mayoral victory in Istanbul is a sign that the opposition is not completely marginalized.

Moscow, Russia

On June 9th, opposition journalist Ivan Golunov was arrested for among other things, marijuana possession. He had been investigating corruption, a notorious future of Russian life, and this had landed him in deep trouble. In a reaction that few foresaw, the Russian media, normally pliant and loathe to ever criticize President Putin, reacted swiftly to condemn the arrest. Two days later, Golunov was released, in a clear defeat for Putin.


Russian journalist, Ivan Golunov, was released after outcry from even members of the oficial media

Putin first came to power in 2000 and has remained there until today. He remains popular and the general population credit him with having restored Russia’s global preeminence and with it a renewed respect. Many Russians felt that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia was humiliated by a resurgent west that forcibly imposed a kind of casino capitalism and diminished the country’s role in world affairs. Nato’s expansion to include former Soviet Allies such as Poland and the Czech Republic contributed to the paranoia that the west was once again encircling Russia for nefarious purposes.


Russia loves Putin, or so the official story goes

Putin reversed this, flexing his muscles abroad and restoring a kind of order at home. The culmination of this new stance was Russia’s annexation of Crimea in the Ukraine in 2014. This resulted in Russia being unceremoniously kicked out of the G-8 and having sanctions imposed against it. In 2016, Russia is alleged to have interfered in the US election which resulted in the victory of Donald Trump.

The release of the journalist may have been a pyrrhic victory as this week hundreds of protestors have been arrested a reassertion of state power and the limits involved in opposing Putin.

Hong Kong, China

Protests in Hong Kong have been going on for the past six weeks and are becoming increasingly violent and the end result could be ominous given China’s intention of bringing the former British colony to heel.


It is not clear if Beijing is listening

The protests started in June, to oppose a law that China wanted the Hong Kong legislature to pass which would give the mainland the power to extradite whom it considers criminals. People in Hong Kong viewed this a clear ploy to thwart any opposition to its policies by subjecting them to Chinese justice, which has an almost 100% conviction rate.

These protests were in fact effective, and China postponed implementation of the law in a clear and rare policy reversal. This did not seem to placate the protesters who continued and even ransacked the local parliament in a clear act of aggression against the regime.


China and Britian have a long, contentious relationship

From 1847 to 1997, Hong Kong was a British colony and administered as such as a result of the British defeat of China in the Opium wars. When power was handed back to China, it was agreed that British-era laws would continue in what was dubbed one country-two system arrangement.

China, being a totalitarian state, was never comfortable with having a part of what it considered its national territory under democratic rule and has been trying and succeeding to limit the powers of the population. This latest move was a catalyst for popular revolt. What will happen next is anybody’s guess.

Anglo Blog, April 15-May 20, 2019

The Venezuela Quagmire

On April 30th, newspapers across the world declared that a coup was underway in Venezuela which looked likely to depose current president Nicolas Maduro and replace him with opposition leader and self-declared president Juan Guaidó. As the day progressed, it became increasingly clear that the attempt to remove Maduro had fizzled as key members of the military remained loyal to the sitting president.


Nicolas Maduro parades with loyal troops who thwarted a coup attempt.

This latest development was yet another manifestation of the extreme chaos through which Venezuela has been passing since Maduro took over the presidency after Hugo Chavez, the charismatic president who had led the “Bolivaran Revolution” succumbed to cancer in 2013. Since then, the country has been wracked by civil strife and its citizens have been reeling from insecurity and generalized hunger as the economy has essentially collapsed.


Juan Guiadó with US vice-president Pence and Colombian president Márquez.

Defenders of the government claim the instability to be the cause of outside, “imperialist” interference, an attempt by the capitalist world to snuff out any attempts to ameliorate the conditions of society’s most vulnerable members. When Guaidó, the then president of the Congress, alleging widespread fraud in the 2018 election won by Maduro, declared himself president, he was recognized by over 50 countries, including the US and many Latin American nations. This fact is used by the government’s sympathizers as proof of a foreign plot to dislodge Maduro from power and install a regime more favorable to western interests.


Despite being blessed with the world’s largest oil reserves, the Venezuelan economy is in tatters

Those opposed to Maduro claim that he has led this country, which has the largest petroleum reserves in the world, on a downward spiral towards penury and a breakdown of the social order. The Bolivaran Revolution, they allege, has resulted in a brutal dictatorship where dissention is violently stifled and the purported beneficiaries of this so-called revolution are bearing the brunt of the resulting hardships. The disintegration of Venezuela is causing regional instability as the millions fleeing the turmoil have spilled over into Colombia (over a million) and Brazil, straining the already overburdened social services of those countries. Any solution to this malaise, they posit, must involve Maduro´s removal from power.

A black and white analysis of this critical situation misses the nuances and offers simple solutions to extremely complicated problems.

The first is, why isn’t Venezuela a rich country? With a relatively small population for a large territory and massive oil reserves, there is no reason for poverty to exist. Hugo Chavez first came to prominence leading an attempted coup in 1992 after food riots and street unrest, provoked by the imposition of austerity programs mandated by the IMF, illustrated public frustration with the economic status quo. Chavez was put in prison but released before the 1998 election which he handily won and embarked on his Bolivaran revolution intended to ensure a fairer distribution of the country´s wealth.


Venezuelans queue for food at a supermarket, rummage through garbage and amass at the border to leave the country

The first years of Chavez’s tenure were largely successful in the sense that for the first time in history, the poor were actually benefitting from Venezuela’s riches with greater access to food, health, housing and education; the Human Development Index for the country grew impressively. This rise in living standards was bolstered by rising oil prices and Chavez’s charisma and widespread projection in the country (he had a weekly radio program, Talking with the President, that lasted up to six hours) led to his re-election in 2000.

This was followed in 2002 by a failed coup attempt against him, widely believed to have been backed by the US, which gave Chavez the excuse to claim, as he drifted to ever more strongman rule, that all opposition to him was merely that of US lackeys intent on pilfering the country’s national wealth and transferring it elsewhere. He altered the Constitution to ensure there was no time limit to his rule and surrounded himself with sycophants to flatter him and henchmen to protect him.

It is difficult to maintain the momentum of revolutions by charismatic figures such as Chavez when their principal architect disappears from the scene. From the start, Maduro tried to emulate his predecessor and most would say failed miserably. Falling oil prices and widespread economic mismanagement fueled the current situation which has been deemed as unsustainable.

However, despite all the adverse conditions, the opposition has as yet been unable to get rid of Maduro. This is partly due to its demographic make-up, consisting as it does of the whiter middle classes whom many of the poor blame for never fairly sharing the economic pie. The latest failed coup attempt is yet another example of how the image of the opposition is besmirched by its supposed links to Venezuela´s enemies.

Something will have to give. It is clear, however, that unless key members of the military abandon Maduro and defect to the opposition. Nobody seems to be able to predict if and when that might happen.

The Abortion Divide

Abortion once again has emerged as an issue which hugely divides Americans. The Roe v Wade decision of 1973 legalized the procedure and has ever since created an arena where the “cultural war,” is being waged. This schism in US society over these issues, such as abortion, gun rights, gay rights/marriage, quotas for minorities, transgender issues, the role of religion in school among others reflects conflicting views of social values and behavior.


For those in the US who favor a woman’s choice to have an abortion, these are trying times. The Georgia State legislature passed a law prohibiting abortions after a heart beat is detected. This usually occurs at around six weeks, a time at which a woman may have no idea she is pregnant. Alabama then passed a law outlawing abortion even in the circumstances of rape and incest. And Arkansas, another southern state, has given rapists the right to impede their victims from having an abortion.

In the case of Alabama, one of the motives of the state legislature was the certainty that this draconian law would provoke judicial resistance and the courts would eventually send the case to the Supreme Court. Then for the first time, Roe v Wade would be revisited, this time in a Supreme Court where the conservative bloc has a majority.
If the law were to be overturned by the nation’s highest court, the decision would go back to the states, and in more conservative states abortion would likely be banned, and in more liberal ones, it would remain legal.

Before 2000, President Donald Trump was in the pro-choice camp, but he realized that to be successful in the modern Republican Party, being pro-life (anti-abortion) is a prerequisite given the party’s reliance on the white, religious right.


This group has turned a blind eye to Trump’s documented predatory sexual behavior, saying we are all sinners and deserve forgiveness, because Trump is giving them exactly what they want. The appointment of conservative justices for the Supreme Court (Trump has delivered two already and might have the chance to appoint more) who would overturn not just Roe v Wade, but a host of other laws conservatives find unacceptable, has buoyed the right. This has ensured that 90% of the religious right’s votes go to Trump. He has also appointed scores of extremely conservative judges to the lower courts, many of them who will be around for decades.

Trump’s other fulfilled campaign promises to his base include moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, revoking the Iranian nuclear deal, and getting tough with China. Just as Trump has said himself, he could shoot someone dead on Fifth Avenue and these people would still love him.

The controversy of abortion and other social questions has been fracturing the US society for decades and with a president who plays on resentment and prejudice, the chasm is widening. There are eerie parallels to the civil war period where inability to agree on fundamental issues caused the US’s mostly deadly conflict, known as the Civil War or War of Secession. Statesmen and stateswomen are needed, yet are apparently not abundant.

Anglo Blog, April 1-April 15, 2019

Benjamin Netanyahu wins again


Benjamin Netanyahu re-elected prime minster of Israel. He wants to annex the West Bank, thus ending the idea of a two-state solution

Despite projections that he might finally be dislodged from power, Benjamin Netanyahu defied expectations and managed to squeeze out a victory in the Israeli election last week. He will form a coalition government with smaller parties, some of them considered extreme or even racist, and has become the longest serving Israeli prime ministers with 13 accumulated years in power, and five election victories.

Two days before the election, Netanyahu said he planned to annex parts of the West Bank, in what many critics describe as a deathblow to the two state solution. This idea, which is accepted by the great majority of the world as a way to one of humanity’s most intractable problems, involves Israel ceding the West Bank, or most of it, to the Palestinians. The problem is that over 600,000 Jewish settlers now are settled there, territory which the world community deems to have been illegally occupied since Israel seized it from Jordan in 1967. Uprooting these settlers is likely politically impossible, even if Netanyahu showed interest in seeking peace with the Palestinians, which doesn’t, anyhow, seem to be the case.


For Israel, putting two million Palestinians under its direct rule would threaten the democratic nature of Israel and the country’s stated purpose of maintaining a Jewish majority. Others warn of a kind of apartheid will emerge where the Palestinians are permanently second class citizens in a greater Israeli state.

In the past, Israel has been restrained in proclaiming such intents with the West Bank, fearing censure from its chief ally and beneficiary, the United States, which has actively supported the two state solution in the past. However, US President Donald Trump has given the green light to Netanyahu, moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights (which belong to Syria) as well as stopping funding for UN programs that helped Palestinians. One of Trump’s strongest bases are Evangelical Christians, fervent supporters of Israel though not necessarily Jews.

The failure to beat Bibi, as he is known, shows that running a campaign principally focused on defeating a controversial individual rather than offering ideas with popular appeal should serve as a warning to the many opponents of Donald Trump who think that simply pillorying him will result in his downfall.

The second Arab Spring

Popular revolts have been taking place in Algeria and Sudan, and in both cases leaders who had ruled these countries for decades were forced to cede power. This is seen as a triumph for “people power” although many caution that these positive outcomes do not guarantee peaceful transitions of power.


Women made up large parts of the demonstrators in Sudan

Egypt’s trajectory after relentless street protests led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak after years in power, reflects the disappointment that comes after the initial euphoria of the triumph of popular will. A democratic election resulted in the election of an Islamist prime minister, Mohamed Morsi, who was later deposed by the military. Egypt today is perhaps less democratic than it had been with Mubarak.

Libya is another cautionary tale where after the assassination of Muammar Gadhafi, the country entered into chaos, from which it had never recovered and today is wracked by conflict and instability. Protests in Syria in 2011 resulted in the country descending into horrific carnage and a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Algeria, a country in North Africa with 40 million people, 70% of whom are under 30, has been experiencing street protests for the last month which resulted in the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika who ruled the country with an iron fist for 20 years. The protesters are demanding political change and an end to the corruption of the entrenched elite. The professional prospects for young people are minimal and have resulted in frustration and widespread anger. The economy, despite significant revenues from oil and gas, has not been able to absorb an influx of young people into the workforce.


Similarly, Omar-al Bashir, the president of Sudan, was forced to resign after street protests demanded he step aside. He had ruled this nation of 42 million people, 41% of whom are under 15, since 1993. He used terror to exert control, oversaw a brutal civil war that eventually led to the secession of South Sudan in 2013, and imposed Sharia Law in the country. Interestingly, many of the protesters were women, unhappy with the subjugation inscribed within Islamic law.

In both countries, the removal from power of dictators who have ruled uncontested for decades creates a power vacuum. It is the manner in which this power vacuum is filled which will determine the future outcome for the country. Tunisia, where the Arab Spring started in 2010 with the removal of an entrenched dictator, has developed into a plucky democracy, in sharp contrast with its neighbor Libya, where civil strife continues after the death of its heinous dictator. The world should be looking closely.

Brexit Blues

Britain, once known for its pragmatism and common sense, has metamorphosed into the laughing stock of Europe, unable to solve the problem of how to leave the European Union without causing chaos.


In 2016, after David Cameron then Britain’s prime minister, blithely called for a referendum about the UK remaining or not in the EU, mostly to appease the right wing of his party, Britain has been grappling with how to extricate itself from a club to which it has been a member for 45 years. The narrow victory of the leave vote has pulverized Britain’s political class and process, and exposed deep fissures in the national character and the very nature of what it means to be British.

Theresa May, who took over as prime minister after Cameron’s resignation, has been dogged in her pursuit of a deal, which has been voted down three times in the parliament and failed to deliver the result of the referendum, her professed desire. Two deadlines for the UK crashing out with no-deal have passed and at present, Britain has until October 30 to come up with a deal parliament will pass.

The issue has divided both parties, though May’s conservatives seemed to be wracked by division and May’s inability to coalesce her party around an acceptable exit strategy reflects this. Member of the so-called European Research Group, composed of Tory MPs whose sole purpose is to extricate Britain from the European Union at whatever cost, have helped to vote down May’s deal and even her cabinet is bitterly divided.

Labor, the other principal party, is also suffering from schisms, since the majority of its members would prefer to remain, but its leadership, in the form of Jeremy Corbyn, have vacillated and historically been anti-EU, seeing it as a vehicle for neo-liberal economics that is harmful to workers. Corbyn seems more interested in becoming prime minister than ensuring the UK continue being within the EU.

What is most distressing, however, is that most of the politicians are putting their own careers in front of the good of the country. Many advocate another referendum, this time where voters would choose a deal that had been agreed upon by parliament, or the status quo of Britain remaining in the EU. Others are adamantly opposed, saying the public has already voted and shown its preference in the first referendum.

The divide reflects that occurring in many industrialized countries, where working class people feel that globalization has left them behind, and is exclusively serving an often urban elite. Demagogues and populists have played on this resentment, blaming foreigners for the plight of this class and stoking nativist fears about invasions from foreigners. Certainly Brexit and the election of Trump are emblematic of this general distrust of the political and economic elite.

Meanwhile, the Brexit drama continues without resolution.