3 October 2019   Leave a comment

The European Union has told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that his Brexit plans regarding the relationship between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are not even “remotely acceptable”. The possibility of an acceptable agreement was highly unlikely and it would be virtually impossible for all members of the EU to agree to any modifications to the original agreement (the vote would have to be unanimous). The European Parliament made clear that Johnson’s plans are not acceptable:

“The parliament’s Brexit steering group said the plan for customs checks and controls on the island of Ireland would ‘breach a range of fundamental principles and red lines’.

“’The UK proposals on customs and on regulatory aspects explicitly provide for infrastructure, controls and checks but are unclear as to exactly where and how these would be carried out,’ the committee said. ‘Any form of controls and checks in and around the border would signify the end of frictionless trade and as such would harm the all-island economy as well as represent a serious risk to the peace process, and could imply a serious risk for our consumers and businesses.’

“The MEPs said the parliament would also veto any withdrawal agreement that did not provide a failsafe solution for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.”

The Irish made it very clear that the plans were unacceptable as well, indicating that the lack of progress on the matter makes a “no-deal” Brexit almost inevitable. All the available evidence suggests that a “no-deal” Brexit would be economically disastrous for the British economy.

Preet Bharara and Christine Todd Whitman  have written an op-ed for The Washington Post on the state of scientific research in the US. The US government has sponsored scientific research throughout its history and there is always tension between science and politics and one should not think that the Trump Administration’s interventions in scientific research are a new phenomenon. The Union of Concerned Scientists have identified 120 examples of how the Administration has distorted the findings of its sponsored research.

“While the sheer number of attacks on science is striking, what’s really shocking is how these actions put us all at risk. These attacks have ramifications not just for federal scientists, but for the health and safety of the public and our ability to trust what this administration is telling us.

“For scientists working in the federal government, being reprimanded or threatened with termination for simply doing your job can take a toll on morale. Day-to-day decisions that would otherwise seem uncontroversial may have serious repercussions for scientists working under Trump — and that means the rest of us aren’t getting the benefits of work being done on our behalf.”

The deliberate distortions make us all more vulnerable to economic and political power wielded by those who wish to make a profit despite the injuries to the public at large.

Political Polarization in the US

Posted October 3, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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