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Gaston de Foix

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About Gaston de Foix

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  1. Gaston de Foix

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    I'm missing something here. I'd be interested to hear what you understand to be vile about the UK, and what Corbyn would do to reverse it.
  2. Gaston de Foix

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    This is an over-generalization. Some Tory MPs (the Dominic Grieve's etc). are political toast no question. Others like Clarke have already said they are stepping down. But there remain a number of MPs who are Remain MPs in Remain constituencies whose associations will be supportive of their MPs, or not make this the decisive factor. Others voted for May's deal and can say in good conscience they tried to deliver Brexit even if they oppose No-Deal. I think you underestimate the general dislike and distrust of Corbyn amongst every shade of conservative. It's no good saying that it's obvious that they should choose country over party. It's not obvious to them that's the choice before them, and even if they sacrifice their political career for the possibility (not the certainty mind you) of blocking No-Deal Brexit, it will do anything to resolve the current political crisis. There is one point that I had previously neglected and cuts in the pro-Corbyn favor: pro-Brexit MPs in the Labour Party who would vote for no-confidence but would not vote to block No-Deal Brexit. The important question is which potential coalition is bigger and has a better chance of success: the coalition to make Corbyn PM (which to be fair has adherents outside the Labour Party), or the coalition for VONC for Ken Clarke or Harriet Harman or legislative blocking of Brexit.
  3. Gaston de Foix

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    Corbyn as caretaker Prime Minister is not a good idea. Jo Swinson is right. We need to unify around opposition to No-Deal Brexit and making this a Jeremy v. Boris, Labour v. Tory debate plays into BoJo's hands. It forces Tory MPs who oppose No-Deal Brexit to choose between their principles and their party.
  4. Gaston de Foix

    Dresden Files (most recent thread is archived) Peace Talks is finished

    I agree with you Ser Scott. But didn't JB at some points drop some hints the only way for Harry to leave the Winter Knight gig is through Molly. There is some kind of real world legend he was adverting to. Does anyone remember?
  5. Gaston de Foix

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    Two significant pieces of news: 1. 21 Tory MPs led by Hammond have put their names on a letter urging the Prime Minister to agree a deal as he repeatedly promised to attempt to do: link. 2. Johnson has in turn accused Tory MPs and EU of "collaboration" and suggested the failure of the EU to offer amendments to the withdrawal agreement is because the EU "think Brexit can be blocked in Parliament": link Note the outrageous lie ("collaboration") followed by the equally dishonest explanation for the EU's alleged intransigence. In office, Johnson continues as a fully signed up adherent to the Trumpian war on truth. Since these allegations will not achieve anything with the EU or with the MPs in question it is worth asking oneself why he is making them. The answer is that his strategy depends on polarization (reduce the debate to Brexiteers v. Remainers) and the embrace of propaganda over truth (the EU are deliberately screwing the UK because they want to stop us for leaving/punish us for wanting us to leave). Even if Parliament blocks no-deal, I am pessimistic this polarization and propaganda will not be rewarded in the election that will follow shortly thereafter.
  6. Gaston de Foix

    U.S. Politics: Moscow Mitch

    These arguments have been addressed in judgments of both the UK and US Supreme Court. Both agreed that you cannot compel speech (as in your first example of adding words on a cake). And your second example is not discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and so would not implicate an equal protection claim. People have strong feelings about this, but in my view we should draw the line in preventing discrimination in offering a service, full stop. So you cannot require an african-american sculptor to create a bespoke swastika for the KKK. But a sculptor who sells standard crosses in a shop cannot refuse to sell to someone simply because they disagree with their sexual orientation or race. Bakers who sell standard cakes should be required to sell to all. But if you are asked to create a bespoke cake with words that you don't agree with, you should be entitled to refuse.
  7. Gaston de Foix

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    The EU has so far behaved like the adults in the room. I hope for the UK's sake they continue that behavior. They are also conscious that a refusal to negotiate without preconditions will be spun by the no-deal Brexiteers as justification to the British public for no-deal. There are legal formulations to prevent the outcome you identify. For example, the backstop could continue indefinitely unless the UK and Ireland agree alternative arrangements that meet the EU's approval. Any such compromise would be inelegant but potentially workable. The problem with these compromises is not legal drafting, it is that they require good faith and trust between the parties - which has been diminishing rapidly on the EU side and never really existed for the Brexiteers. On a separate topic: it's really striking to read in the papers today that the no-deal Brexiteers have said that the EU is refusing to offer concessions because it wants to see if Parliament will stop a no-deal Brexit. On the one hand it's unsurprising that they would make this argument of convenience which is impossible to disprove without defeating efforts to stop no-deal Brexit. But it's just horseshit to run out the clock. This run-out-the clock strategy is what Tories tried it last time. Theresa May tried to force a choice between her deal and no-deal Brexit. The ERG tried it to achieve no-deal Brexit. The real difference between then and now is political: any rebel Tory MP knows deselection is virtually guaranteed if they oppose the government and the DUP has not said they will oppose a no-deal Brexit.
  8. Gaston de Foix

    U.S. Politics: Moscow Mitch

    I should have been more precise. I think the filibuster violates the spirit of the constitution. I don't think any constitutional claim on that basis would pass muster though. The conservative argument heretofore re abortion has been that it is not for the courts to declare a right to abortion; the issue must be left to the legislature. In Gonzales v Carhart, the Supreme Court upheld the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, for example.
  9. Gaston de Foix

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    The simplest tactic the government can employ to delay a showdown is to negotiate with the EU. Parliament will be loathe to interfere if there are ongoing negotiations that might avoid no-deal (however small the chance) and the Govt gets to run down the clock for a while... It sounds like Northern Ireland will be front and center - as it should.
  10. Gaston de Foix

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    I think it's conceded by the UK that there's no workable alternative right now. The question is whether a time-limited backstop + undertaking to develop a workable alternative to the EU's satisfaction within a certain period might be the basis of a possible compromise. I agree with you that ROI will not accept a meaningless promise but a No-Deal Brexit will damage the Irish economy too. Both sides are going to have pressure to go through the motions of negotiation and explore alternatives. Varadkar's right, of course. The UK government wants a no-deal Brexit only so they can say they've Brexited and have a general election. No-Deal Brexit solves the political problems faced by the Tory party who are terrified of facing an electorate without delivering Brexit. Self before party, party before country and power uber alles.
  11. Gaston de Foix

    U.S. Politics: Moscow Mitch

    I agree with you regarding the Courts. The nakedly partisan decision-making in the US Supreme Court in high profile cases, outside the margin of good faith disagreement about the law: (textualism, originalism, federalism, limited government) has really saddened me. Sam Alito spent much of his judicial career singing hosannas to religious liberty. Until the Muslim Ban came to the Supreme Court and suddenly government action motivated by religious hatred didn't matter, despite a lifetime appointment to be insulated from politics. The difficulty is that what the US needs is a process of neutral appointment to the SC much like the UK but the political traditions (and Constitution) directly oppose it. Lawsuits have their own idiosyncrasies though. There's no cause of action for Mitch to sue over filibuster abolition: it's settled law that Congress has the right to set its own rules. One more reason to support filibuster abolition: the reason the conservative movement cares about judicial appointments is abortion. And abortion can be the subject of national legalization resolving the debate about this judicially 'created' right. It won't stop the salience of abortion as a political issue in the US, but it will remove it from the courts (and judicial appointments).
  12. Gaston de Foix

    U.S. Politics: Moscow Mitch

    Fair enough. I suppose my question is (and it really is a question) what motivates you? To me its the failure of our politics to respond to the will of the people. So I have no problem getting rid of a further safety valve to popular will. And I happen to believe that this failure is the long term cause for the rise of Trump.
  13. Gaston de Foix

    U.S. Politics: Moscow Mitch

    I agree with you that the political system is undemocratic (weakly) in a number of ways. I also agree with you that much of it needs to be reformed as first priority. But if you want the reform to come about as a result of national legislation then you should support abolishing the filibuster. And as hopelessly compromised as it is, legislation has historically been and continues to be the most effective method to reform politics.
  14. Gaston de Foix

    UK Politics: It's Life Pfeffel but not as we know it

    Totally agreed. If the government was successful in framing the issue in terms of that choice they would win. It's worth noting that would be the only basis on which they could win a (passive) majority in Parliament for No-Deal. That's why the focus should not be on revoke, but simply opposing no-deal. The procedural mechanisms for a new Act of Parliament get technical but there is a basis on which the standing orders could be used to push through Cooper-Letwin 2.0: http://www.democraticaudit.com/2019/08/05/is-it-too-late-to-stop-a-no-deal-brexit/. Bercow will do his bit to ensure Parliament gets a say on whether it wishes to proceed in this direction.
  15. Gaston de Foix

    Scott Lynch's Thorn of Emberlain is Completed

    Me too. Am I the only one who spots a similarity between the Eldren and the Romans/Builders of the Expanse series?
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