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UK needs to get its act together before Brexit vote, Juncker says

Source: The Guardian

It is not up to EU to resolve problems before MPs vote on May’s deal, London told

Jean-Claude Juncker has told the UK to “get its act together” in the run-up to the delayed House of Commons vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

The European commission president said the EU could not be expected to resolve the problems that continue to make it likely the British government will suffer a heavy defeat.

“I find it entirely unreasonable for parts of the British public to believe that it is for the EU alone to propose a solution for all future British problems,” Juncker said in a wide-ranging interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. “My appeal is this. Get your act together and then tell us what it is you want. Our proposed solutions have been on the table for months.”

May is set to put her deal, including the contentious Irish backstop, to MPs in the week beginning 14 January, following a week of debate in the Commons.

The prime minister pulled a planned vote earlier this month when it became clear the government was likely to suffer a heavy defeat.

She then promised to secure “legal and political” assurances that the backstop – which would keeping the UK in a customs union with the EU to avoid a hard Irish border – would only be temporary, should it need to be triggered.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/dec/30/brexit-eu-deal-uk-needs-to-get-its-act-together-jean-cleaude-juncker


The EU’s 27 leaders, however, offered May little hope of any significant sweetener to the deal at a summit earlier this month. Juncker’s comments will be a fresh blow to Downing Street’s hopes of a game-changing last-minute concession.

Asked whether he would recommend a second referendum to get past the logjam in parliament, Juncker said it was up to the British people to decide. “If the House of Commons backs the withdrawal agreement in mid-January, then we should begin preparations for the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union the very next day and not wait until after the official withdrawal date of 29 March.

“I have the impression that the majority of British MPs deeply distrust both the EU and Mrs May. It is being insinuated that our aim is to keep the United Kingdom in the EU by all possible means. That is not our intention. All we want is clarity about our future relations. And we respect the result of the referendum.

“I am working on the assumption that it will leave, because that is what the people of the United Kingdom have decided.”

Basically what they are telling May and her racist "tories".......................you made your bed, now sleep in it

The Andantes: The Girl Group Left Behind

The hidden figures of Hitsville sang on some of Motown's biggest hits

by Touré, AARP The Magazine, December 2018/January 2019

Can she sing? Marlene Barrow and Jackie Hicks sounded downright skeptical. It was the summer of 1961, and the young women — then 19 and 21 years old, respectively — were at the Motown recording studio on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit. Barrow, tall and slender, and Hicks, bubbly and full-figured, had grown up singing in the choir of the Hartford Avenue Baptist Church. They had been to the Motown studio before, had laid down some backup vocals at the fledgling label as two-thirds of a trio, but then the high soprano in their group had quit suddenly, and Barrow and Hicks weren’t too interested in working without her.

A studio staffer, thinking of a young soprano in the studio’s choral ensemble, made a suggestion: “We’ve got a girl in here who can sing.”

Barrow and Hicks had the same question. “Can she sing?”

“Oh, yeah” came the reply. “She can sing.”

More than 50 years later, no one remembers which song the three worked on that day, but the new girl, Louvain Demps — a reserved Catholic woman of 23 — still remembers how it went. “We just seemed to click right away,” she says.

“First time,” Hicks adds. “First song, perfect blend.”



In recent years the Andantes have begun to receive the notice that many feel they ought to have had all along. Reissued Motown records now bear the Andantes name if the women sang on them. After being paid a flat hourly fee during their recording years, the women are now receiving some residuals for their work. And in 2013, while Barrow-Tate was still living, all three Andantes were able to visit an exhibit at the Motown Museum that celebrated the Supremes, the Vandellas, the Marvelettes and — right alongside them — the Andantes.

While she appreciates the belated recognition, Hicks says she would have been just as happy remaining in the background. “I’ve always been proud of myself and thankful to the Lord to have allowed me to do that,” she notes. “I don’t care how high anybody goes, it does not lower me any lower. Because I know what I did.”

I love this song..................

Cross-party move to stop the clock on hard Brexit

Ministers and senior MPs in talks to extend 29 March deadline if May’s deal fails

Senior Tory and Labour MPs are planning to force the government to delay Brexit by several months to avoid a no-deal outcome if Theresa May fails to get her deal through parliament in January, the Observer has been told.

Cross-party talks have been under way for several weeks to ensure the 29 March date is put back – probably until July at the latest – if the government does not push for a delay itself. It is also understood that cabinet ministers have discussed the option of a delay with senior backbench MPs in both the main parties and that Downing Street is considering scenarios in which a delay might have to be requested from Brussels.

One senior Tory backbencher said: “I have had these discussions with ministers. They will not say so in public but of course the option of a delay has to be looked at in detail now. If we are determined to avoid a no deal, and the prime minister’s deal fails, we will have to ask to stop the clock, and that will give time for us to decide to go whatever way we decide thereafter.”

The Conservative MP and former attorney general Dominic Grieve said he believed that even if May got her deal through, there would probably be insufficient time to push all the necessary legislation through parliament to allow Brexit to happen smoothly and that a delay might well be necessary. But if her deal were voted down, the need to take up the option of a delay would become a “certainty”. He said: “I think that if she does not get her deal passed, a delay would be inevitable to give more time to avoid a no deal, and also there is the possibility that there would be a referendum, so this would allow for that.”


I just wonder if these "tories" fully understand what will happen if they implement this racists fiasco in the country .............I guess most of them do not understand that in the aviation industry, the British get a lot of things coming in by air and there economy is based on aviation>
And the aviation industry is and has been trying to warn these idiots what will happen if they keep chugging along with this plan...........pharmaceuticals and fresh items will stop coming in, cargo from air carriers will be hindered, and the price of products will go up, like fresh vegetables for example......................these idiots haven't figured this out yet...................unbelievable...................

The following are snippet's examples from Aviation Weekly on this issue...................

The Unclear Path Toward Brexit

Flybe, the largest regional carrier in the UK—and Europe—is not doing well. The carrier recently issued a profit warning, is cutting routes and aircraft, and restructuring the network. And now it is up for sale. One major reason management is now seeking new investors is the instablility caused by Brexit, the UK’s move to leave the European Union at the end of March 2019. Uncertainty about future demand makes Flybe a poster child for the absurdity of Brexit and its ...

European Commission Issues No-Deal Brexit Air Transport Plan

LONDON—Contingency proposals put forward by the European Commission would only guarantee the temporary continuation of “basic” point-to-point air transport services between the UK and the European Union (EU), in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Commission proposed a series of contingency measures Dec. 19 covering areas where a no-deal Brexit “would create major disruption for citizens and businesses” when the UK leaves the EU on Mar. 29, 2019. Air transport ...


Volcano three-quarters blown away by Indonesia tsunami eruption

Peak of Anak Krakatau was brought down by more than 200 metres in explosion that triggered waves killing more than 420 people

Scientists say Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano island, which erupted and collapsed a week ago triggering a deadly tsunami, is now only about a quarter of its pre-eruption size.

Anak Krakatau now has a volume of 40-70m cubic meters having lost up to 180m cubic meters since the 22 December disaster, according to Indonesia’s volcanology agency. The crater peak was brought down from 338 metres to 110 metres.

The explosion caused a tsunami that hit Sumatra and Java where more than 420 people died and 40,000 were displaced.

Experts have largely relied on satellite radar images to work out what happened to the volcano because cloud cover, continuing eruptions and high seas have hampered inspections. The centre said it would get more precise results from more visual inspections.

Authorities have warned residents to stay a kilometre away from the coastline of the Sunda Strait, which separates Java and Sumatra, because of the risk of another tsunami.

Experts say any further tsunami triggered by the volcano would be less severe due to its reduced mass. Anak Krakatau, which means Child of Kratakau, is the offspring of the infamous Krakatau volcano whose monumental eruption in 1883 triggered a period of global cooling.


Rescuers help sea turtles washed inland during Indonesia's tsunami

'Tis the Season to Renew and Expand the US Postal Service

Threatened by Trump and the GOP with privatization schemes, the postal service is a treasure than must be saved.

By John Nichols Twitter YESTERDAY 11:15 AM

The United States Postal Service delivers for Americans all year round. But the vital role that the Postal Service plays in all of our lives is especially notable during the holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, postal workers will deliver roughly 15 billion pieces of mail and 900 million packages with a level of efficiency and good cheer that could never be recreated by the private sector.

Unfortunately, as the Washington Post noted this fall, the Trump administration is plotting “to privatize and diminish the U.S. Postal Service (USPS).”

Government Executive magazine explained in September: “The White House made the proposal in its wide-ranging plan to reorganize the federal government. Privatizing the Postal Service was among 32 distinct ideas it said would help agencies run more efficiently. It first called for reforms to the Postal Service that would create a more sustainable business model, but those changes would be made only for leverage to then sell the entire agency to the private sector.”

Donald Trump has had a lot of bad ideas in his first two years as president. But this is one of the worst.

The unions representing postal workers — the National Association of Letter Carriers, the American Postal Workers Union, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, and the National Postal Mailhandlers Union — have made a powerful case against the administration’s approach, explaining that privatizing USPS would harm:



Sanders recommends “postal banking” reforms, which would allow the Postal Service to provide basic financial services — something that the USPS did until 1967, and that postal services in other countries do to this day. He has also called for permitting the USPS to develop new consumer products and services, noting that “currently, it is against the law for workers in the post offices to make copies of documents, deliver wine or beer and wrap Christmas presents.” Sanders would also reinstate overnight delivery and improve service standards as part of a smart and necessary modernization program.

Arguing that “the beauty of the Postal Service is that it provides universal service six days a week to every corner of America, no matter how small or how remote,” Sanders offers a proper plan for preserving a vital institution. “It is time,” he said, “to save and strengthen the Postal Service, not dismantle it.”

And get rid of that self funding retirement 75 years into the future.................that is BS

Lyndon LaRouche Is Still Alive and He's Been Hobnobbing With Roger Stone

The international cult leader has long-standing ties to Russia—and Robert Mueller.


Eleven days after President Donald Trump’s election, Roger Stone, a longtime self-proclaimed GOP dirty trickster and Trump adviser, invited an unusual guest on his short-lived radio show, Stone Cold Truth, and began the interview with a question about former President Bill Clinton. “Well, I think the question of Bill Clinton is sometimes confused. Bill was framed,” Lyndon LaRouche replied. “And he was framed by the Queen of England.”

It was typical fare from LaRouche, the 96-year-old leader of a fascist political cult group that has long pitched a variety of dark conspiracy theories, including his pet notion that a Zionist British aristocratic oligarchy secretly orchestrates world events. The queen has long been a favored villain of LaRouche, who has claimed she presides over the international narcotics trade. He has also accused Henry Kissinger of being a Soviet double agent, and has led a campaign for opera to be sung at a lower pitch. While LaRouche’s followers and their wild ideas have been a sideshow for five decades—as they have distributed leaflets and crashed political events—he earned surprising prominence in the 1970s and 1980s, before a 1988 federal conviction for mail fraud sent him to prison for five years.

Stone’s recent association with LaRouche is consistent with his decades-long evolution from a mainstream GOP operative to an advocate and ally of the conspiratorial and political fringe. Stone is reportedly being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is examining his possible interactions during the 2016 campaign with WikiLeaks ahead of its releases of emails stolen by Russian government hackers. (Mueller himself is no stranger to LaRouche; he was a key player in the 1980s investigation that sent LaRouche to jail.) Despite all the scrutiny over Stone’s role in the 2016 campaign, his alignment with a political group that the Heritage Foundation once described as a “strange asset for the KGB’s disinformation effort” remains a little-examined aspect of his recent activities.

Also under-examined has been a tantalizing clue about possible ties between LaRouche’s organization and Moscow. Buried in Christopher Steele’s dossier on Trump’s possible links to Russia was an August 2016 report with this allegation: A “Kremlin official involved in US relations” had claimed that Russia facilitated a LaRouche delegation’s trip to Moscow, offering members of LaRouche’s group assistance and enlisting them in an effort to disseminate “compromising information” as part of the Kremlin’s 2016 influence campaign. A lawyer with ties to both Stone and LaRouche’s network has claimed that he introduced Stone to a key LaRouche aide in early 2016, as Trump began to secure the Republican nomination.



Caddy maintains that the alleged Stone-Schlanger connection ought to be of interest to Mueller and other investigators probing Russia’s role in the 2016 election. In his recently published memoir—in which Caddy suggests JFK may have been killed to prevent him from revealing proof of extraterrestrial life—he details his interactions with Stone and Schlanger and reprints what he says is an email he received from Stone in early 2016: “Thanks for connecting me with Harley Schlanger—he is a great guy and shares our goals. I think we hit it off. I have a back channel to Trump and we are fighting the globalists.”

Caddy declined to answer Mother Jones questions about his introduction of Schlanger and Stone. Schlanger refused to comment on his relationship with Stone. Speaking on behalf of LaRouche’s group, Schlanger also declined to comment on Stone’s interactions with LaRouche. He accused Mother Jones of supporting “a British/FBI/CIA information warfare operation” against Trump.

How One Company Is Making Millions Off Trump's War on the Poor

President Trump plans to make the poor work for Medicaid and food stamps. That’s extremely punitive for them—but highly lucrative for companies like Maximus.


One night last March, Sue Fredericks ran into trouble. She had been watching snow accumulate for hours from her post at a 24-hour gas station. Busy stretches on her overnight shift were rare, on account of the size of the town in which she worked; with a few thousand residents an hour from Indianapolis, it is small and quaint, surrounded by corn and soy fields and featuring a shuttered Walmart. March marked Sue’s eighth month on the job, and she was earning $8 an hour. Around 4 a.m., Sue (who asked that I change her name) consolidated the trash into two bags, propped the door open, and, hands full, walked outside. Somewhere near the dumpster, her foot hit a patch of ice. Sue’s leg flew out from under her, and she landed on her right ankle. “I heard it snap and all,” she said later, but “I didn’t break it to where my bone was sticking out.”

Sue, who at 41 already had arthritis from a lifetime of mostly manual labor jobs, crawled inside, called a co-worker, and asked her to come in. The co-worker arrived at 5 a.m., and Sue, who had kept her sturdy boots on in hopes of holding her bones in place, drove to the house she shares with her friend Robin and Robin’s family on the outskirts of town. She took off her boots, propped herself up on her bed, and waited in the dark. When Robin got up an hour later, Sue asked for her opinion on the ankle; Robin (not her real name) took one look and insisted on going to the emergency room.

A couple of years earlier, Sue had gotten health insurance through the Healthy Indiana Plan, a Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. HIP represented a political bargain between then-Gov. Mike Pence, who was hostile to public aid, and advocates who worried about the state’s 596,000 uninsured citizens. The program expanded access but required each participant to make a monthly payment—a feature proponents say gives people “skin in the game.” HIP’s architect, a controversial consultant named Seema Verma, went on to advise a half-dozen states about similar programs. In 2016, then President-elect Donald Trump nominated Verma to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the vastly powerful agency that oversees both those programs and their insurance markets. One of her first actions was urging the nation’s governors to impose premiums for Medicaid, charge its low-income recipients extra for emergency room visits, and require recipients to get jobs or job training.

Sue’s experience with HIP offers a preview of how such policies could play out. When HIP first expanded, Sue, single and making about $150 a week after taxes, qualified. She got back on medications for anxiety, depression, arthritis, and emphysema.


I think it is time to bring in the heads of Maximus into a congressional hearing....................

Trump: Give Me a Wall or I'll Engineer a Recession

By Eric Levitz

Donald Trump declared himself qualified for the world’s highest office in 2016, on the grounds that his exceptional deal-making acumen and economic expertise more than compensated for his lack of conventional credentials.

On Friday morning, the president tweeted that if Democrats refuse to fund his wall, he will engineer a massive recession (that would all-but ensure Democratic victory in 2020) – because he is under the impression that the United States would “profit” by closing its southern border to all commerce, since the U.S. runs trade deficit with Mexico:

We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with. Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!

The United States loses soooo much money on Trade with Mexico under NAFTA, over 75 Billion Dollars a year (not including Drug Money which would be many times that amount), that I would consider closing the Southern Border a “profit making operation.” We build a Wall or close the Southern Border. Bring our car industry back into the United States where it belongs. Go back to pre-NAFTA, before so many of our companies and jobs were so foolishly sent to Mexico. Either we build (finish) the Wall or we close the Border.

This is not the first time Trump has threatened to “close the border” if Congress defies his will. But until now, what the president meant by that phrase has been ambiguous. His latest tweets confirm that he has, in fact, been threatening to end (virtually) all commerce between the U.S. and Mexico, our nation’s third-largest trading partner. Upward of $30 billion worth of goods are shipped across the U.S. southern border on a monthly basis; interrupting that flow of goods for any significant period of time would paralyze major corporate supply chains, drive countless small businesses into insolvency, and terrorize global markets with the specter of American autarky.

Such a scheme would be so economically devastating — and politically suicidal — it is safe to assume that Trump’s threat is entirely empty. Or, at least, that is what investors appear to believe; hours after the president’s tweetstorm, the Dow and S&P 500 were both up in early trading.

And yet, “Trump would never do X because that would be stupid and politically counterproductive” isn’t the world’s most reliable heuristic. After all, the current (partial) government shutdown is itself the product of the president deciding that he could secure leverage over congressional Democrats by doing something stupid and politically counterproductive.



But our president is the kind of demented nihilist who threatens to use his national security powers to inflict suffering on the American people, for the sake of narrow legislative gains — not the kind who would actually do so! Or, probably not, anyway!

And that is apparently enough to persuade congressional Republicans that they have no responsibility to remove a demented nihilist from the Oval Office.

This asshole really is dangerous.
And just for the record for some of us, he is not "our" president

November 3, 2020 cannot get here fast enough................

Take a look at how a Private Equity Firm dismantles stores, and then think of Sear's unfolding saga.

Private Equity Pillage: Grocery Stores and Workers At Risk

The private equity business model is to strip assets from companies that they acquire. The latest victims: retail grocery chains

by Rosemary Batt & Eileen Appelbaum
October 26, 2018

This article appears in the Fall 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here.

Since 2015 seven major grocery chains, employing more than 125,000 workers, have filed for bankruptcy. The media has blamed “disruptors”—low-cost competitors like Walmart and high-end markets like Whole Foods, now owned by Amazon. But the real disruptors in this industry are the private equity owners who were behind all seven bankruptcies. They have extracted millions from grocery stores in the last five years—funds that could have been used to upgrade stores, enhance products and services, and invest in employee training and higher wages. As with the bankruptcies of common household names like Toys “R” Us, private equity owners throw companies they own into unsustainable debt in order to capture high returns for themselves and their investors. If the company they have starved of resources goes broke, they’ve already made their bundle. This is all perfectly legal. It should not be.

The bankrupted private equity–owned grocery chains include East Coast chains A&P/Pathmark, Fairway, and Tops; West Coast chains Fresh & Easy and Haggen; the Southeastern Grocers chains (BI-LO, Bruno’s, Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Más, and Harveys); and in the Midwest, Marsh Supermarkets. We could find no comparable publicly traded grocery chains that went bankrupt during this period.

The future of regional supermarket chains is a major concern for consumers, vendors, local communities, workers, and their unions. Grocery workers are by far the most unionized of all retail workers. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) has 1.3 million members in the United States and Canada, with 60 percent working in supermarkets and another 15 percent employed in meatpacking and food processing. Most UFCW members (two-thirds) are employed by the top five supermarket chains, with Kroger and P.E.-owned Albertsons-Safeway clocking in at first and second respectively in market share and accounting for the lion’s share of unionized supermarket workers.

P.E. firms, famously, have no commitment to the long-term sustainability of the companies they buy; their time horizon is three to five years until, ideally, they exit these investments. The heart of the private equity business model is the “leveraged buyout” (LBO). This is a deal in which a P.E. fund uses capital supplied by pension funds, endowments, wealthy individuals, and other investors as a down payment, and buys out a company using high levels of debt that it loads on the company—typically in the range of 70 percent of the purchase price. Post-buyout, P.E. firms often add on more debt in order to pay themselves a dividend, or they sell off assets or real estate, reducing financial stability. Strangled by debt and newly obligated to pay rent, these grocery chains have neither the ability to cut prices to compete with low-cost chains nor the resources to invest and compete with upscale markets. And in an industry like grocery, where profit margins are thin, a small drop in revenue may undermine a P.E.-owned supermarket’s ability to keep up with interest payments on the debt.

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