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On “Brexit Day” both Remain and Leave cling to their illusions

Remain supporters remain deluded both about the EU and the possibility of preventing Brexit; Leave supporters remain oblivious to Britain’s diminished place in the world.

Alexander Mercouris

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On what is already being called in Britain “Brexit Day”, both the opponents and the supporters of Brexit are restating their positions.  Since both sets of positions are shot through with illusions, it seems a good point to say something about them.

Many of Brexit’s opponents still seem unwilling to accept that it is actually going to happen, and still talk as if it could be reversed.  They still seem to cling to the idea that at some point Leave supporters will experience some sort of “buyer’s remorse” – though there is absolutely no polling evidence to support this – and still insist that they were fooled into voting the way they did.  They also lament Brexit as a catastrophe for Britain and for Europe.

On the subject of whether or not Brexit is going to happen, it not only is going to happen but I am becoming increasingly exasperated by the way some Remain supporters claim to respect the outcome of last June’s Brexit referendum and actually do no such thing.  A good example of this is the Guardian newspaper, the editorial of whose Sunday Observer edition says the following

Like others who favoured Remain, we have reiterated, ad nauseam, our acceptance of the referendum result. But whether you were for or against, what confronts us all now is drastically different from what was on the table last June……As Lord Heseltine has suggested, a more imaginative, braver and more consistent leader [than Theresa May] could have used the referendum result to propel an immediate negotiation with the EU on much-needed reforms. If, at the end of that process, Britain’s demands remained unmet, the divorce could have proceeded or, if a deal were agreed, been put to a second vote.

This is a complete misrepresentation of the June referendum result.  The British people when they voted were not told that if they voted Leave that would merely open the way to a new negotiation to ‘reform’ the EU, at the end of which there would be a second vote.  They were told straightforwardly that if the voted Leave then Britain would leave.  When the Guardian talks in this way, it is not showing “acceptance of the referendum result”.  It is showing the opposite.

It is anyway completely false to say that what is offered now is “drastically different from what was on the table last June”.  I doubt that most people who voted Leave were familiar with the detail of the arguments but I have no doubt that they overwhelmingly sought a complete separation from the EU, which would include imposing immigration controls.  That surely is what all the talk of “taking control” was all about.

As it has become clear that Britain is heading towards a “hard Brexit” – quitting the EU’s single market so that it can impose immigration controls – support for Brexit has remained steady.  As Dominic Lawson has written for The Times, both the Remain and the Leave campaigns made it clear during the referendum campaign – contrary to the myth now being peddled by the irreconcilables in the Remain camp – that the result of a Leave vote would be that Britain would quit the European Single Market (ie. go for ‘hard Brexit’)

Perhaps one reason is that those Remain voters — let alone the 17.4 million Leave voters — do not buy the argument, advanced by speakers at the rally, that it was never made clear Brexit would involve leaving the EU’s single market…….

Yesterday, interviewed by Sky’s Sophy Ridge, [former Liberal leader] Nick Clegg repeated (once again) the canard that ‘no one’ realised Brexit would mean leaving the single market. He brushed aside Ms Ridge’s accurate retort that this was exactly what David Cameron and George Osborne had said would happen if Vote Leave won. ‘They were on the other side,’ he sniffed.

Nick Clegg told Sky’s Sophy Ridge that ‘no one’ realised that Brexit would mean leaving the single market

Yet the pre-eminent member of Vote Leave in the Cabinet, Michael Gove, made this clear during the campaign —so clear that last May the Financial Times splashed on its front page with ‘Michael Gove says leaving EU would mean quitting single market’. Almost all other leading members of the Leave campaign followed this line.

The reason for this was obvious. At the heart of the Vote Leave campaign was a pledge to end free movement from the EU into the UK. Yet the rules of the single market are that all members must allow such free movement. It is one of the founding principles, theological in its force. So if we were to remain members of the single market, we would have to continue with unchecked migration from the other 27 members.

There was never a chance that the EU would allow us the one without the other. Such a negotiation would end as soon as it began. That is why May is instead seeking a bilateral free trade agreement with Brussels, akin to that negotiated between the EU and Canada.

Even a majority of those who voted Remain seem to sympathise with this approach. A poll published last week by the National Centre for Social Research found that not only did 86 per cent of Leave voters think that ‘prospective EU migrants should have to go through the same hoops as non-EU migrants’, but 54 per cent of Remain voters agreed with this proposition, too.

The other point which needs reiterating is that the constant Remain refrain that “only” 52% of voters voted Leave is a false one.

In any democratic election it is supposed to be the will of the majority which prevails, however small that majority may be.  However, as I have repeatedly pointed out, the claim that “only”52% of voters voted Leave anyway disregards the fact that a clear majority of voters in England outside London – the core territory of the United Kingdom – voted to do so.  It is both undemocratic and unrealistic to try to set aside the decision of these voters, and the consequences of doing so for the political establishment in London if it did would be catastrophic.

To see how that is so it is merely necessary to look at what has happened to the Labour Party.  Though the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs and Labour Party members are strongly pro-EU, and though a majority of Labour voters in the referendum voted Remain, in many of the Labour Party’s core areas outside London voters voted heavily to Leave.

When analysed carefully, it becomes clear that much of the criticism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn from liberal Remain supporters because he is supposedly failing to oppose Brexit vigorously enough.  However were Corbyn to resist Brexit as vigorously as his critics want, Corbyn would not prevent Brexit – as Leader of the Opposition he has no power to prevent it – but he would be risking the Labour Party’s continued existence in England outside London.

Recently two parliamentary elections were held in two former Labour constituencies: Copeland and Stoke.  Labour held on to Stoke, but lost Copeland.  I have no doubt that the primary reason Labour lost Copeland and why it is so far behind the Conservatives in the opinion polls is because the Labour Party – struggling to overcome its own divisions – is unable to put forward a clear view on Brexit.

Had the Labour Party supported a ‘hard Brexit’ it might have held on to Copeland.  However in that case it would have risked seeing its position in pro-Remain London collapse.  Had it opposed Brexit vigorously – as Corbyn’s critics want – it would however not only have lost Copeland but also Stoke.

If Remain irreconcilables are deluded about the level of support for Brexit, and about the fact it is going to happen, their greatest delusion of all is however about the nature of the EU itself.  Here it is worth returning to the recent Guardian editorial I discussed previously

Like sheep, the British people, regardless of whether they support Brexit, are being herded off a cliff, duped and misled by the most irresponsible, least trustworthy government in living memory. The moment when article 50 is triggered, signalling Britain’s irreversible decision to quit the EU, approaches inexorably. This week, on Black Wednesday, the UK will throw into jeopardy the achievements of 60 years of unparalleled European peace, security and prosperity from which it has greatly benefited. And for what?

(bold italics added)

As a Greek national I simply do not recognise the existing EU in these words.

I was again briefly in Greece at the beginning of March and I can confirm the total accuracy of the devastating picture of what has happened to Greece as a result of the imposition of EU policies on the country recently provided by Michael Nevradakis for The Duran.

Suffice to say that talking about the EU in the way the Guardian and many Remain supporters do totally ignores the EU’s disastrous mismanagement of its expansion into eastern Europe, which has triggered a war in Ukraine and the massive migration flows which have now caused Britain to vote for Brexit, and its equally disastrous mismanagement of the European economy and its single currency, which have caused the total share of global GDP by purchasing power parity accounted for by the EU’s present members to shrink from roughly 30% in 1980 to less than 20% now.

Probably most British voters are not familiar with the totality of this picture.  However they are certainly not entirely blind to it.  It seems however that some Remain supporters are.

If the perspective on Brexit of many Remain supporters continues to be shot through with illusions, it remains concerning to me however how little understanding there is amongst Leave supporters of the scale of the challenge Britain now faces.

The reality of Britain’s economy is that it has been in steady decline since the 1950s with only a brief uptick in the late 1960s, which however was not sustained.  Margaret Thatcher’s famous reforms of the 1980s may have improved the working of parts of the British economy, but at the price of weakening or entirely destroying the rest.

EU membership has to some extent insulated Britain from this reality, attracting inward investment to Britain and allowing the City of London to position itself as Europe’s financial capital.  All this is now at risk.  Talk of Britain once again becoming a great trading nation following Brexit ignores the reality that Britain’s economy though appearing large is uncompetitive so that Britain has been running large trade deficits in its trade on tradeable goods since the 1980s.

Brexit might in theory energise Britain, forcing Britain finally to confront its many structural problems and finally turning its economy around.  Certainly the means to do it are there.

However that will require the British to be honest with themselves about the state of their society and economy, and about Britain’s profoundly diminished place in the world.  Of that unfortunately there is no sign.

 

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The social media ‘DEPLATFORM’ end game: Self-censorship (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 82.

Alex Christoforou

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Alex Jones’ account was put in “read only” mode and will be blocked from posting on Twitter for seven days because of an offending tweet. Twitter declined to comment on the content that violated its policies.

A Twitter spokesperson told CNN the content which prompted the suspension was a video published Tuesday in which Jones linked to within his tweet saying, “now is time to act on the enemy before they do a false flag”.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last week defended Twitter’s decision to not suspend Infowars and Alex Jones from the platform, claiming they had not violated Twitter policies.

Dorsey refused to take down Alex Jones and his popular Infowars account, even as his Silicon Valley buddies over at Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify were colluding to remove any sign of Jones or Infowars from their platforms…

“We’re going to hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account, not taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term, and adding fuel to new conspiracy theories,” Dorsey said in a tweet last week. He later added that it was critical that journalists “document, validate and refute” accounts like those of Mr. Jones, which “can often sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors.”

According to Zerohedge, still after a CNN report identifying numerous past tweets from Infowars and Jones that did violate Twitter’s rules, those posts were deleted. Tweets by Infowars and Jones deleted last week included posts attacking transgender and Muslim people; a claim that the 2012 shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax perpetrated by “crisis actors”; and a video calling David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland, Fla., high-school shooting, a Nazi.

Dorsey finally caved overnight, with a “temporary suspension”, which will likely become permanent upon Jones’ next violation.

Twitter’s crackdown came more than a week after technology companies, including Apple, YouTube and Facebook removed content from Jones and his site, Infowars. As the WSJ notes, the actions against Infowars intensified a growing debate over what role tech companies play in policing controversial content on their platforms while they simultaneously support the principle of free speech.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou examine the aggressive purge of conservative right, libertarian, and progressive accounts from Silicon Valley social media platforms, and how Alex Jones’ was the first step towards driving so much fear into the population, that self censorship takes over and authoritarian rule over the Internet takes hold.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via Zerohedge

In the latest media pit stop, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sat down with NBC News Lester Holt, where he defended the company’s decision to put Infowars’ Alex Jones under a seven-day timeout over an offensive tweet linking to a video in which Jones encourages his audience to “act on the enemy before they do a false flag,” and to get “battle rifles” ready.

Dorsey said that despite calls to ban Jones last week amid a seemingly coordinated multi-platform blacklisting, he resisted until now.

“We can’t build a service that is subjective just to the whims of what we personally believe,” Dorsey told Holt, while saying he believes a suspension can be an effect deterrent which can change user behaviors.

“I feel any suspension, whether it be a permanent or a temporary one, makes someone think about their actions and their behaviors,” Dorsey added – though he admitted he has no idea if Jones’ timeout will result in any changes in behavior.

Dorsey stated: “Whether it works within this case to change some of those behaviors and change some of those actions, I don’t know. But this is consistent with how we enforce.”

Jones was banned or restricted from using the services of at least 10 tech companies this month, including Facebook and YouTube. Twitter had been the most high-profile holdout, until it announced on Tuesday that Jones was suspended from posting for seven days.

Dorsey later clarified on Twitter that he was “speaking broadly about our range of enforcement actions” with regards to the company’s use of timeouts.

in a follow-up question on weighing the importance of Twitter’s rules versus its moral obligation, Dorsey said the company has “to put the safety of individuals first in every single thing that we do, and we need to enforce our rules and also evolve our rules around that.” –NBC News

Jack Dorsey said on Twitter.

“I don’t assume everyone will change their actions. Enforcement gets tougher with further reported violations.”

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The Discarded Wisdom of America’s Founders

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.

Eric Zuesse

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A good example of the discarded wisdom of America’s Founders is George Washington’s Farewell Address to the nation, delivered by him not orally but instead solely in printed form, published in Philadelphia by David C. Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser, on 19 September 1796, and distributed to the nation. The following extended excerpt from it is the most famous part of it, and is being blatantly raped by today’s U.S. Government, and therefore it might indicate the necessity for a second American Revolution, this one to disown and throw out not Britain’s Aristocracy, but America’s aristocracy. America’s Founders had done all they knew how to do to conquer Britain’s aristocracy, and they embodied in our Constitution all that they knew in order to prevent any aristocracy ever from arising in this nation; but the Founders clearly had failed in this their dearest hope, because a domestic U.S. aristocracy has arisen here and destroyed American democracy, as this nation’s Founders had feared, and as Washington in this document effectively affirms — and, by these words, proves — to have happened (they’ve taken over this country, in and by both of its Parties, and so we have here a profound and scathing, blistering, criticism of today’s American Government):

Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period, a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils? Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing (with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them) conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Bruce Ohr Texts, Emails Reveal Steele’s Deep Ties to Obama DOJ, FBI

There are indications that the FBI knew that Steele was in contact with the media before the bureau submitted the first FISA application.

The Duran

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Authored by Sara Carter via SaraCarter.com:


A trove of emails and handwritten notes from Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr exposes the continuous contact and communication between the DOJ attorney and anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele, according to notes and documents obtained by SaraACarter.com. The emails and notes were written between 2016 and 2017.

The notes and emails also reveal that Ohr was in communication with Glenn Simpson, the founder of the embattled research firm Fusion GPS, which was paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC to hire Steele.

In one of Ohr’s handwritten notes listed as “Law enforcement Sensitive” from May 10, 2017, he writes “Call with Chris,” referencing Steele. He notes that Steele is “very concerned about Comey’s firing, afraid they will be exposed.” This call occurred months after FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee and revealed for the first time that the FBI had an open counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and alleged collusion with Russia.

Steele is also extremely concerned about a letter sent from the Senate Judiciary Committee asking Comey for information on his involvement with Steele. Grassley sent 12 questions to Comey regarding the bureau and Steele’s relationship and wanted all information on any agreements they had during the investigation into alleged Russia-Trump collusion. Grassley also wanted to know if the FBI ever verified any of the information in Steele’s reports.

In Ohr’s notes from May 10, 2017, he goes onto write that Steele is concerned about a letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, writing:

“Asked them 3 questions:

  1. What info (information) did you give to the U.S. govt (government)?
  2. What was the scope of yr (your) investigation?
  3. Do you have any other info that would assist in our question?”

SaraACarter.com first reported this week text messages between Steele and Ohr, revealing that Steele was anxious about Comey’s testimony and was hoping that “important firewalls will hold” when Comey testified.

Those text messages in March 2017 were shared only two days before Comey testified to lawmakers.

The House Intelligence Committee revealed in their Russia report earlier this year that Steele–who was working for the FBI as a Confidential Human Source (CHS)–had shopped his dossier to numerous news outlets in the summer of 2016.  According to the report, the FBI terminated Steele after discovering that he was leaking to news outlets, breaking a cardinal rule by the bureau to not reveal ongoing investigations and information to the media.

However, there is growing concern that the FBI was well aware that Steele was in contact with media outlets about his dossier before the FBI applied to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for its first warrant in the fall of 2016 to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign volunteer advisor, Carter Page.

There are indications that the FBI knew that Steele was in contact with the media before the bureau submitted the first FISA application…

“There are indications that the FBI knew that Steele was in contact with the media before the bureau submitted the first FISA application and that question needs to be resolved,” said a congressional official with knowledge of the investigation.

The documents from March 2017, reveal how concerned Steele is with Grassley’s committee and the letter from the senator’s office seeking answers from Steele on the dossier.

In June 2017, Steele tells Ohr,  “We are frustrated with how long this reengagement with the Bureau and Mueller is taking.  Anything you can do to accelerate the process would be much appreciated.  There are some new, perishable, operational opportunities which we do not want to miss out on.”

In October 2017, Steele notes that he is concerned about the stories in the media about the bureau delivering information to Congress “about my work and relationship with them.  Very concerned about this.  People’s lives may be endangered.”

And in November 2017, Steele, who is trying to engage with Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel, writes to Ohr saying, “we were wondering if there was any response to the questions I raised last week.”

Ohr responds by saying, “I have passed on the questions (apparently to the special counsel) but haven’t gotten an answer yet.”

Steele then says,  “I am presuming you’ve heard nothing back from your SC (special counsel) colleagues on the issues you kindly put to them from me.  We have heard nothing from them either.  To say this is disappointing would be an understatement!  Certain people have been willing to risk everything to engage with them in an effort to help them reach the truth.  Also, we remain in the dark as to what work has been briefed to Congress about us, our assets and previous work.”

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