The Mueller report finally dropped, and it doesn’t fucking matter

I’m not going to bother spending too much time on this. The Mueller report is finally public (well, most of it, anyway). But does it change anything? Trump’s supporters will insist that Mueller’s decision not to charge Trump means Trump did absolutely nothing wrong (even though that decision was made at the outset of the investigation). Trump’s opponents just have more evidence and details for what’s already been established.

In principle, the report could be used as the basis of impeachment. Indeed, Mueller makes it quite clear that it’s intended to be the basis of an impeachment. Unfortunately, Republicans don’t want to impeach Trump, and there are maybe five Democrats who would be willing to make Republicans either join the impeachment train or reveal themselves as being that unwilling to hold Donald Trump accountable, so it’s not going to happen, especially since Nancy Pelosi isn’t one of the five. As in too many other situations, mainstream Democrats are more concerned with some amorphous qualification of “electability” than with actually doing anything to make it worth electing them. (Republicans could be subject to their own criticism, of course, but what would be the point? Democrats at least have a chance, however slim, of changing.)

Brexit options

Brexit is supposed to happen now. No one has any idea how to implement it, leaving the default option of a no-deal crash-out. Fortunately, the EU have granted an extension: the new crash-out date is the 12th of April, with a further extension to the 22nd of May if a deal is reached.

It’s extraordinarily unlikely that the current deal will be affirmed. It has already been thrice defeated (divisions 293, 354, and 395) in some of the worst government defeats in Parliamentary history, even after Theresa May offered her resignation in an attempt to get it through. There is also very little that can be done to amend it without EU renegotiation (nor is there much more that can be done with EU renegotiation, given the combined requirements for a deal set by Theresa May and the EU, but given that, the EU are not amenable to renegotiation anyway), and Parliamentary rules prohibit multiple votes on the same substantial question (656 Commons Hansard 775).

Of course, the simplest thing to do — at least procedurally — is simply crash out in two weeks, since doing so merely requires that nothing be done. This option was rejected (divisions 357 and 359), but without Parliament actually affirming an alternative, it remains the automatic result. The consequences of doing this, however, would be incredibly painful for the UK. Crashing out is the “plan” of disaster capitalists and the clueless. The other unilateral option the UK has is to revoke Article 50.

Other plans require EU coöperation, given the length of time they would take, but the EU have indicated their willingness to grant a further extension for them. The simplest is for the UK to hold a second referendum. This time, instead of Cameron’s plan of fucking a pig, then fucking the country, then fucking off, with a “simple in-or-out choice”, the country could know what the options really are: the negotiated deal, no deal, or remain. Alternatively, a new general election could be held, with detailed Brexit plans (potentially including “don’t”) in every party’s manifesto, and May’s agreement that, in the event that the Tories win a majority or coalition government, she will give up her position. This would allow for a new negotiator, with different priorities, to begin a new negotiation with the EU. However, such a plan would almost certainly be opposed by the DUP, by TIG, and by many Tories. Either of these options, given the requirement for a further extension, would also require the UK to participate in EU elections. As the EU have already planned for elections that do not include the UK, a request to revert those plans would need to be made with sufficient time.

While almost no one wants to crash out, thus far, it seems no one is willing to prevent it, either. While any Brexit would surely be temporary, a no-deal Brexit — as the most painful option — would likely be the shortest. Ironically, the most hardcore Brexiteers may well get their wish of ending the relationship with the EU in the short term, but in doing so, they make Britain’s return to the EU that much more certain, and in returning, Britain would almost certainly lose the many special benefits it has now, and instead be obligated to participate in the “ever closer union”.

Trump’s trans military ban

Just six months after taking office, in July 2017, Donald Trump declared that trans people would be banned from working for the US military.

Six months after that, in February 2018, (since resigned) Secretary of Defence James Mattis issued a memo formally defining the policy, which was adopted about a month later. This was, almost immediately, met with legal challenges, but the Supreme Court has strongly signalled that they will support the ban, and the Pentagon have announced that they will begin implementing it.
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Two witnesses

In today’s hearing regarding accusations that lying serial rapist SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh is, in fact, a serial rapist, two witnesses were heard: Dr Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh. No others were heard — not Mark Judge, not Deborah Ramirez, not Julie Swetnick. And how did the two act at that hearing?
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Safely keeping zoetropes: Happy equinox!

Autumn begins today. I hope the weather will admit it soon — it’s still 33 ℃ here! As part of my celebration of the new season, I’ve decided to take stock with a quick tarot spread.

A picture of the tarot spread

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Brett Kavanaugh: Consistently anti-choice

When Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, everyone knew why the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation had put him on Trump’s list of twenty-five potential nominees: he wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade — or, as he coyly referred to it in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, an unnamed “case that deserves to be overturned”. That, in itself, is enough to gain anyone the “anti-choice” label. But that’s not enough for him! In Doe ex rel. Tarlow v. D.C, Kavanaugh ruled that the government could force disabled people to get undesired surgery — including, for Jane Does I and III, abortions.

Kavanaugh is, of course, not the first person to oppose voluntary abortion while supporting forced abortions, but if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court, he may be among the most powerful of them. And given Dr Blasey’s accusation against him, it seems his opposition to people choosing what to do with their own bodies extends well beyond the topic of abortion; instead, it’s a consistent principle of his.

But hey, he’s really good at carpooling!

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