Friday: There’s Always The Second Line

After the shock, denial, horror, anger, and grief of death, there’s always the second line. Seems fitting today in the wake of Brexit to observe the passing of an ideal — a United Kingdom, in harmony with its European neighbors and allies — that we have a second line.

You’re probably familiar with the imagery of the second line, a New Orleans tradition in which a jazz band plays for a funeral procession after the mourners have buried the dead. The history of the second line isn’t clear in no small part because it originated among the African diaspora and the creole community, whose cultural history is poorly documented because of race. The second line was the other face of death — the celebration of the departed’s arrival at better world beyond the reach of the living. Over the last hundred years, the second line became a community event not confined to funeral processions alone. Sunday afternoons revolved around street parties centered on the local Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs and Benevolent Societies from which many brass jazz bands emerged as a part of the services offered through their co-op funeral insurance.

The video embedded here is more of a traditional blues dirge among second line tunes, but it might be played before or after the funeral. This video, however, shares music with true second line spirit, recorded as an observation of the passing year. And this second line following the funeral of Ernest “Doc” Watson is the definitive example.

Best jazz I can do post-Brexit referendum.

Brexit Backwash

  • What’s next after the referendum?  (EU Law Analysis) — First snappy overview of the legal steps Britain will take, by Professor of EU and Human Rights Law at the University of Essex. More emphasis here on pertinent human rights issues.
  • What’s next after the referendum, redux? (Public Law for Everyone) — Second equally snappy overview of the legal steps Britain will take, this time by Mark Elliott, Professor of Public Law at the University of Cambridge, Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and Legal Adviser to the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution.
  • EU’s disintegration will still affect UK in spite of Brexit (The Guardian) — Cripes, did none of the UK’s Eton elites or the white nationalists think to listen to Yanis Varoufakis, former Finance Minister to Greece during Grexit? This op-ed is grim and frank — Varoufakis is plain-spoken. Reading it only makes me more certain the EU will utterly abandon comprehensive emissions controls for the region, and Volkswagen’s fraudulent passenger diesels will never leave the bloody roads.
  • Jo Cox’s death and Brexit (The New Yorker) — If aren’t already sickened by either Brexit or the murder of MP Jo Cox eight days ago, read this. Guess how her constituency voted.
  • Brexit’s future impact on British cuisine (Europa) — European cook Thom Eagle looks at the effect Brexit will have on what he does, from Spanish olive oil to French mushrooms. Hard to imagine the soft-handed elitist prats wanting to go back to Heinz canned beans on toast. Oh wait, UK doesn’t grow much of its own wheat. Beans it is…nuts, they import those from the U.S., many of them from Michigan.
  • Speaking of which, Brexit’s affect on Michigan (Detroit Free Press) — Michigan may well be one of the states Brexit affects most, given the existence of General Motors’ plants in the UK and the UK market for automobiles. UK bought more than Brazil or Germany from GM last year, but the cost to continue operations in UK…oy.

Legal and other la-la

  • SCOTUS ruling on Abigail “#BeckyWithTheBadGrades” Fisher and why it matters (The Establishment) — In SCOTUS ruling this week on Fisher v. University of Texas, UT-Austin had not only ensured true meritocracy by accepting the top 10% of students from each high school without regard for any other criteria, but they built a strong justification for selectivity of other students. Fisher, in spite of having the advantages that come from being white and adequately resourced, simply didn’t make the top 10% at her school in a year when admission was incredibly competitive, AND she brought nothing else to the school to benefit other students.
  • Split decision upholds lower court ruling reinforcing tribal sovereignty (Bitch Media) — If you commit a crime on tribal lands even if you’re not a Native American, expect an American Indian tribe to file civil suit. Simple as that. In this case, if s a child molester working for Dollar General molests a child on Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians’ tribal lands, the Choctaws can file against the perp and employer regardless of non-native status.
  • Marginalization of poor white Americans (Pacific Standard) — The U.S version of Brexit could be built on this segment of the population, which feels left out by efforts to increase equality for minorities. Point taken, but somebody’s going to have to write the bridge out of this pity party for people who constantly vote against their best interests, and discuss intersectionality in raising equality across the population.

Weekend long read
Governor Jerry Brown reviews a new book by former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry. My Journey at the Nuclear Brink is some eyebrow-raising stuff.

That’s a wrap on a particularly grueling week. Have a nice weekend.

23 replies
  1. Alan says:

    You are jumping ahead. We haven’t gotten to the after yet. The appropriate song for the moment is Anarchy in the UK. Appropriately enough the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistol’s first single is coming up later this year.

    I am an anti-christ. I am an anarchist. Don’t know what I want but I know how to get it. I wanna destroy the passer by. Cos I, I wanna be anarchy! No dogsbody! Anarchy for the U.K. it’s coming sometime….

    God Save the Queen next year.

    God save the Queen. The fascist regime,..There is no future. And England’s dreaming.

  2. Rayne says:

    Alan (10:45) — I’d rather The Clash with London Calling…

    London calling to the faraway towns
    Now war is declared and battle come down

    Really Ballardian, this bit, though not driven at the time by climate change:

    ‘Cause London is drowning, and I, I live by the river

    Many talking heads are going on about Article 50 right now, claiming it won’t be filed. After Cameron’s announcement today that he’ll resign, they’re committed to going forward. MPs might yet stop this, but it would be political suicide.

    London calling to the zombies of death
    Quit holding out and draw another breath

    Probably not. And I haven’t even gotten to the bits about Northern Ireland/Ireland and Scotland, the latter now thoroughly torqued off about its thwarted bid for independence in 2014.

    • Alan says:

      I’m Scottish. I don’t know what the song for Scotland should be but Scotland hated Thatcherism and pretty much everything that followed. Both of the UK’s main political parties had already been destroyed as political forces in Scotland before this Brexit vote. Instead we have a left of center social democratic party with a competent leader in the form of Nicola Sturgeon. She wasn’t educated at Eton or Oxbridge. She’s not part of the British establishment. It seems probable that she will now lead Scotland to independence and Scotland will remain in the EU. Many Scottish British Unionists who opposed independence 2 years ago are now switching sides. They look at what’s going on with the two main parties in Westminster and have decided it’s time to stick with the responsible adults.

  3. bloopie2 says:

    On the tribal sovereignty ruling: This is a good ruling. For all that we European invaders have done to the Native Americans over the last five centuries, one thing our legal system has done is to try to retain for them some shred of dignity, via the concept of tribal land sovereignty. This is evidenced most popularly in the casino rulings. Here, it is a simple question: Give them power over acts done by others who have willingly come onto tribal lands to make money or, effectively, neuter them. Bless you, Supreme Court; it seems that you have a high level of royal concern for at least some of the lower groups that we have overrun .

    • Alan says:

      Trump has no clue standing on a golf course in Scotland claiming Britain has taken its country back when he’s standing in a country that feels it’s right to stay in the EU and right to self-determination has been taken away by, England, its much larger neighbor to the south. Trump, has since come out against Scottish independence. So much for “taking your country back”.

      I doubt he loves the Scots at the moment because they hate him. As he was giving his press conference protesters were waving Mexican flags with musical support provided by a mariachi band in the parking lot. At his Aberdeen golf course, he’s built a wall round a croft whose owner refused to sell to him, after being offered millions and then bullied and harassed. The owner also now flies a Mexican flag in protest. He’s also in a fight with the Scottish government about a wind farm being built off the coast. He’s going to lose that one.

    • Alan says:

      I should add that the additional irony of Trump spouting off in Scotland is that the Scottish government is pro-immigrant as immigrants are seen, correctly, as boosting the Scottish economy and a benefit to the whole community.

  4. bloopie2 says:

    So, after Brexit, I want to know now, so I can hold it against you later: Who of you is giving what odds as to a Trump Presidency? Come on, fess up;

  5. blueba says:

    What we are about to discover is just how really “democratic” the EU and its member states are. THE REFERENDUM IS NONBINDING.

    We have seen in Greece what contempt the EU and Merkel who has hegemonic control of the EU don’t really give a shit about democracy.

    The will of the Greek people was subjugated to European power, its democracy destroyed and effectively turned into a German Bantustan.

    In the UK it might look nicer but, as we saw in Greece, money and debt count much more than democracy.

    I would give odds of less than 50/50 on the UK actually triggering the law to exit.

    Nonbinding means nonbinding.

  6. scribe says:

    This is perhaps a better commentary than the Greek guy’s (I won’t try to spell his name).
    Frankly, I suggested at the time the Greeks were getting bent over the barrel by the ECB and the Germans demanding austerity (when they closed the banks, etc.) that they would have better served both themselves and the rest of the world had the Greeks sent home the bankers doing the bitchslapping with their heads in one box and their bodies in another. Sovereign nations work that way to send unequivocal messages, but the Greeks forgot that.
    More to the point on the British experience is the following paragraph, which sums up a series of paragraphs detailing the devastation left across Britain by Brit/EU policies as motivation for the “leave” vote:

    What defines these furies is often clear enough: a terrible shortage of homes, an impossibly precarious job market, a too-often overlooked sense that men (and men are particularly relevant here) who would once have been certain in their identity as miners, or steelworkers, now feel demeaned and ignored. The attempts of mainstream politics to still the anger have probably only made it worse: oily tributes to “hardworking families”, or the the fingers-down-a-blackboard trope of “social mobility”, with its suggestion that the only thing Westminster can offer working-class people is a specious chance of not being working class anymore.

    We have much the same going on here in America. But, particularly as to the devastation inflicted on men referred to above, our elites and media (and the blogosphere is more guilty than most) will slip into “well, that’s just white guys feeling the loss of white privilege and learning what it’s like to be a minority, so we don’t have to do more than tell them ‘now you know'”, and do nothing more. Because it’s payback and the elites can sit, smugly, watching it play out. We’ve met this problem with telling the working-class that they’re stupid, poor and if they had any value at all, they wouldn’t be where they are so just shut up and accept your fate.
    Is it any surprise this society is perfused with rage?

  7. Rayne says:

    blueba (7:55 am) — Yeah, yeah, non-binding, blah-blah…the market didn’t care and bound the UK to its vote in a way the Leave campaign clearly underestimated (or they’ve got one heck of a poker face after shorting the pound in their Panama-based accounts). The overnight devaluation and currency volatility is binding. Just ask the UK travelers who got stuck overseas after vote and couldn’t exchange currency; they were bound in place.

    As I said upthread, MPs might yet stop this — and now possibly Scotland, N. Ireland, and Wales could veto according to a House of Lords’ report — but it would be political suicide. And imagine just how twitchy MPs are after Jo Cox’s assassination nine days ago by a Leave supporter.

    Looks more and more like a 3rd option is developing, a Norway-like deal with the EU. At this time it’s the only way MPs can still represent their Leave constituency but prevent an utter collapse of Britain. I think it’s too late to save the United Kingdom; Scotland is done with this crap and are already asking for meetings with the EU to maintain their membership independent of Britain.

    As for Grexit: can only compare the referenda, as Greece was the target of economic hit men unlike Britain. If anything, Britain’s getting a taste of its medicine for failing to strengthen Greece.

    scribe (8:04) — Body of writing on the marginalized poor whites piling up, like multiple articles by Sarah Kendzior. This one, though, suggests there’s a schism within the marginalized which appears generational. Millennial youth don’t have as much affection for capitalism as their Boomer parents/grandparents, which means they will view the solutions differently. Millennial youth are also much less likely to be disaffected poor whites, more likely disenfranchised poor of many different races. Hence the split between angry older whites supporting anti-establishment Trump, and angry youth supporting Sanders. One of these two groups understands the manufacturing jobs aren’t ever coming back.

    The bigger problem for the youth segment is cultural change — we no longer have a society which offers a catabasis/anabasis cycle to mark youths’ emergence and acceptance into adulthood. The lack of sufficient, well-paying jobs extends youth into a purgatory where they can afford little but to nurse their frustration. This poorly identified and inarticulated cultural loss exacerbates the feeling of marginalization. We can talk all we want about taking care of the Boomers (who are more likely to vote and as a whole have more assets), but they’re dying earlier and they are sucking up the future as they depart. What happens in ten years if we don’t address the needs of the much more diverse but disenfranchised Millennials?

    On the other hand, wrt “payback” — See Abigail Fisher. Was her rejection by UT-Austin “payback” for whites’ domination of education, or did Fisher simply not have what it takes? Why should any student in the top 10% AND any others admitted because of their unique contributions to UT-Austin feel they have to tippy-toe around poor BeckyWithTheBadGrades Really fecking annoying to have to worry about poor, poor Fisher.

    • bloopie2 says:

      I really started paying attention to national and world issues only about a decade or so ago. I see a Lot of Big Issues arising now, and I am bolloxed by them. Were there a Log of Big Issues a generation ago? Two generations ago? Three generations ago? Four generations ago? If so, how did People survive them? Can anyone give me a sense of History? E.g., “The world will go on, you’ll get part of what you want, others will get part of what they want, etc.” Probably we are not the first to have to deal with Big Issues. How does life play out? And is there a three minute long rock song that encapsulates and explains all of this?

    • scribe says:

      I never gave a shit about BeckyWithPoorGrades. She struck me as a convenient prop trotted out as a relatively-anodyne face by rich white people who really wanted to kick blacks (especially) and minorities (generally) back down where they used to be.
      OTOH, when I was talking about “payback”, I was talking about an attitude that seems to pervade a lot of the Left blogosphere. That attitude is most charitably described as schadenfreude at the plight of working-class white males who have been rendered unneeded by today’s economy. It’s more accurately described as the liberal side of the chattering classes telling the white guys suffering through this that “now you know what it’s like to be a minority” and doing nothing to address the underlying causes. Sort of racial reparations through depriving whites, rather than helping minorities. The conservative side of the behavior is that guy writing in National Review a month or two ago, telling rural, working-class whites to fuck off and die already.

  8. Stephen says:

    Rayne wrote: “What’s next after the referendum, redux?…Brexit’s future impact on British cuisine”
    This is called scaremongering. It is also going on right now in the American election from both Trump (who keeps warning about scary Hispanics and scary Muslims) and Hillary (who is now warning about a scary Trump). It went on in the UK during during the earlier Scottish referendum. It also went on when Czechoslovakia broke up into two separate republics. And it went on several decades ago when a referendum was held in Quebec over whether to exit the Canadian federation, and later again in Australia when a referendum was held over whether that country should become a republic.
    Change scares many people. Especially when that change is big and complicated. Fear of that change can also be used to PUT the scare INto people. Those who use those sorts of tactics typically claim they are merely informing people. However, they typically also have an agenda behind their prognostications of doom which people need to take note of and be wary about.
    Did the universe end when the Czech Republic and Slovakia went their separate ways?
    Will Britain’s departure from the European Union mean the disintegration of that Union?
    Who knows? But if it does what do you imagine that would say about the internal stability of that Union, and therefore the wisdom of being a part of it?

  9. bloopie2 says:

    TransCanada Corp is formally requesting arbitration under NAFTA over U.S. President Barack Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, seeking $15 billion in damages, the company said in legal papers dated Friday.”
    I really have no idea how this works, but it appears on the face of it that a corporation that is denied the ability to potentially ravage the American environment can make the US taxpayers “compensate” it. Is that correct? If so, time to vote “no” on TPP and its cousins.

  10. Rayne says:

    Stephen (5:14) — It’s not scaremongering when a blue collar worker or small business owner (don’t know which, doesn’t matter) has NO idea what will happen to his livelihood because there’s zero information about the path forward. People were unable to buy goods or services in other countries on Friday using GBP because of the currency crash overnight. That’s reality, not scaremongering.

    EDIT: And reality means the breakup doesn’t limit itself to simple details like whether a European cook in Britain can buy Spanish olive oil for their restaurant. My kids’ college fund took a beating because of this bullshit, a four-figure hit. That’s a fucking lot of domestic textbooks and Spanish olive oil.

    WRT to your example of Czechoslovakia’s split: Still wracking my brains to figure out how Czechoslovakia’s breakup would hurt the world’s economy in the same way as Brexit given their relatively small size in terms of GDP being 41st and 43rd in size. The two states aren’t exactly banking centers, either. Can’t even think of a food product I’ve bought from either Czech Republic or Slovakia. And in terms of the breakup, the process was much less fraught with conflict because there was less economic conflict between Czech/Slovak attributed to “The Others” (read: immigrants/refugees/persons of color/non-English speakers). Czechs and Slovaks certainly were as concerned about the effects of the breakup, especially since a majority didn’t want it; the percentage of people who wanted the split was under 40%. Bottom line: you’ve indulged in a poor example. Hyperbole.

    scribe (6:45) — I’ve written/deleted what I was going to say here four times now. I’d like to expand on this “payback” stuff, but instead, I’m just going to bite my tongue and move on. I don’t think you realize just how often persons of color and women have done that throughout U.S. history to keep the peace.

    bloopie2 (6:21) — Corporate entitlement is just ridiculous. I wonder if Cheney embedded some crap somewhere we’re missing that bolsters their claim — like FERC regs or something that makes TransCanada think they are owed income they didn’t earn.

    • Stephen says:

      Rayne wrote: “Still wracking my brains to figure out how Czechoslovakia’s breakup would hurt the world’s economy in the same way as Brexit given their relatively small size in terms of GDP being 41st and 43rd in size.”
      Financial markets get the jitters easily. Given that the fundamentals of the British economy are (AFAIK) no different this week than they were last week they will recover soon enough from this latest attack of nerves. That may well change as the actual exit from the EU proceeds, but the current round of plunging markets has little to with reality and everything to do with FEAR. Fear of change.
      It is basically an over-reaction, and a premature one at that given that no actual change has yet been enacted. What they were over-reacting to was merely a decision-in-principle. Much will depend on how the actual Brexit is handled. If it all goes smoothly and the EU does not react vindictively then expect the prognostications of financial doom now being expounded by some to prove to be a load of hot air. If however it it is handled badly, and/or the EU reacts badly, only then will the chickens start coming home to roost.
      But that is still a year or two down the track. What we have at the moment is basically a flock of skitters Establishment pigeons being startled by an anti-Establishment backlash and fluttering up into the air in a moment of panic. (Is the world about the end? Are they coming for my shares? etc etc) Once they realise that there is (at the moment) no real danger they will return to the ground and go back to feeding. The financial markets are, after all, in the business of making money; and at the moment there is still money to be made in the UK.
      Rayne wrote: “My kids’ college fund took a beating because of this bullshit, a four-figure hit. That’s a fucking lot of domestic textbooks and Spanish olive oil.”
      My commiserations (although you may want to think about investing in some anger management classes). Playing the stockmarket with your kids’ college funds, though, was perhaps not the wisest choice. Rather like playing Russian roulette with their futures. While sharemarkets can deliver big money, they also have a history of crashing at unexpected moments, taking investors money with them.
      Rayne wrote: “Czechs and Slovaks certainly were as concerned about the effects of the breakup, especially since a majority didn’t want it; the percentage of people who wanted the split was under 40%.”
      So? How many Britons wanted to join the EEC in 1973? They did not get a formal say in it until two years AFTER they had actually joined, by which point membership was a fait accompli. It does though say a great deal that the strong vote in favour of membership which they did finally receive back then (67%) has now plunged to 48%. Somewhere between 1973 and 2016 19 percentage points were frittered away.
      Rayne wrote: “Bottom line: you’ve indulged in a poor example. Hyperbole.”
      My point was that the prognostications of doom which preceded the Czech/Slovak split did NOT eventuate. So how is that hyperbole on MY part? If anything it suggests the hyperbole was being propagated by those opposed to the split.
      As for it being a “poor example”, just how exactly is that the case when it illustrates my point about fear-mongering and over-reactions having no long term bad effects? (I notice you don’t comment on my other examples, so I can only presume you think them to be BETTER examples.)

  11. Rayne says:

    Stephen (11:06) — This:

    Playing the stockmarket with your kids’ college funds, though, was perhaps not the wisest choice.

    If I’d taken advice from folks like you about investments, I’d have sold the Apple stock in their account back when it was $38 per share and then *wisely* put the whole lot in guaranteed income. Then I’d only have lost a few pennies over the course of the investment, right? And the funds from that portion of their account $2500 then would be worth around $3500 now instead of…well.

    Same reason I reject comparing UK to two smaller countries the size of Minnesota and Utah in terms of GDP. Fifth largest economy in the world and a major banking and trading center wants to go alone and break all existing trade agreements, rejigger its currency based on the assumption it’s worth more alone while its racist fascists perceive a license to run amok, and that’s the same as Czechoslovakia’s measured breakup?

    Yeah, I think I’ll take my own advice on what’s hype or scaremongering. Meanwhile, people are already beginning to lose jobs in UK because of Brexit. I’m sure they’ll delight in knowing this is all just scaremongering.

    • Stephen says:

      Rayne wrote: “Same reason I reject comparing UK to two smaller countries the size of Minnesota and Utah in terms of GDP.”

      You’re missing the point, Rayne, possibly deliberately. But I will not belabour it by repeating myself. So let me suggest another analogy.
      The Czechoslovakia break up was not the first such split in the history of humanity. Consider what happened on July 4, 1776. Some upstart colonists in 13 backwaters of the mighty British Empire decided they did not want to be part of that Union any more. They wanted to make their own way in the world. So they took a vote and decided to declare their independence from it.
      Like to guess what happened?
      Far more turmoil came from THAT particular decision than is ever likely to be the case with Brexit. There was even war. Which leads me to ask a question of you: do YOU think they made the right decision?
      Judging from your reaction to Brexit, my guess would be that if you had lived back then your own reaction to such a declaration would have been to say: NO WAY. Rather than side with the rebellious “Leave” types you’d have preferred to throw your lot in with the loyalists and support the “Remain (British)” cause.
      Which in turn raises a further question: Do you STILL support “Remain (British)” or has the passage of 240 years melted your opposition? Did the rebels of 1776 make the right decision or should they have chosen to stay with the Empire?
      Rayne wrote: “…a major banking and trading center wants to go alone and break all existing trade agreements…”
      Careful, Rayne! Now you’re indulging in exaggeration and scaremongering yourself!
      1) “…to go it alone…”: That makes it sound as if the British have chosen to take their bat and their ball and go off away from the rest of humanity to a life of contemplative solitude on a mountaintop in Tibet! :-)
      All they have done is exit the EU. Not the entire world community.
      2) “…break all existing trade agreements…”: First of all nothing has been broken yet. The referendum itself changed no laws and broke no trade agreements. Nor did it, of itself, cause the UK to exit the EU. That will require an Act of the UK Parliament.
      Secondly, while exiting the EU may well affect those trade treaties it is party to now through the EU, that does NOT mean it will be breaking them. That is where these two years of negotiations comes in. See:
      Quoting that page: “The UK will be able to participate in new trade agreements with non-member countries from the day after exit. The process of negotiating new trade deals can be started during the 2-year notice period leading up to Brexit, with a view to bringing them into force on or soon after the date of exit.”
      Over-exaggerating what Brexit will do not only does not help your argument, it suggests you haven’t really thought about (or reacting to) Brexit rationally. Instead you are doing so on an emotional level.

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