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LCS Discussion Group Issues
Bill Schrader Pavilion
20 January, 2016
12 noon to 13:30
A – Plagued by missteps like Greece, deflationary economic policy, refugees, misspending by its government, and a UK referendum on whether to leave, the EU may not survive much longer. Weill this hurt Europe and/or us? See note at bottom.
B – Iran: In the past few days, sanctions have been lifted, Iranian funds are being freed up, a prisoner exchange took place and it appears that Iran is keeping its end of the nuclear containment bargain. Yet US officials repeatedly maintain that it’s to early to think about improving relations with Iran. Is this wise? And what’s holding up any progress. Mac
C – Some economists propose we tax rich corporations by insisting that the government hold (for free) an appropriate share of their stocks. Then, even if they fled to Ireland, the tax take would be largely unaffected. What are the risks or benefits?
D – Why the difference between Canada and the USA in their gun cultures and government controls? Gary
E – After Scott Walker withdrew from the GOP presidential race, he has further weakened Wisconsin labour checks and balances by allowing corporations to contribute directly to political parties, gutting the government accountability office, and proposing further ways to weaken public service tenure. This seems to be part of a successful drive to push states far to the right. Is it democratic? Is it helpful?
F – Without changing their nuclear components, Obama has been repacking them inside “smart” bombs. One side says this will enable a smaller nuclear force without diminishing its deterrence, the other that it increases the likelihood of them being used. Whose side are you on?
G – In spite of Canada spending much money on its first nations, their people are largely over represented in jails, living in deplorable housing with relatively poor schools, inferior health care, and have inferior job prospects. In spite of a civil war that ended slavery, Americas blacks are largely overrepresented in jail, live in deplorable housing with relatively poorer schools, get inferior health care, and face more unemployment. Compare and contrast the fundamental forces that lead to this situation in each country.
This material is now available at
I imagine Cameron is in one hell of a bind. His made his key demand on the issue of intra-EU migration (Poles, Czechs, Romanians, etc.) and social welfare entitlements. Then the extra-EU issue of refugees and asylum-seekers from Syria and many other failed states in North Africa and West Asia came out of nowhere and essentially blind-sided him.
The latter issue has also put Cameron squarely between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, the UK has handled the migration/asylum issue rather well – it did not join the Schengen open-borders arrangement; it is contributing more than anyone else to emergency relief in the Middle East; and it is blessed (as so often in its history) with the English Channel. (Although how the Brits have been able to persuade the French to move the border from Dover to Calais remains a complete mystery to me!)
On the other hand, the migration/asylum issue has highlighted the failings of the EU in even more graphic terms than the Greek financial crisis did last year. Thanks to its foresight, the UK has not so far been directly affected to any significant extent. But how safe are we? Pressure is building up from other EU leaders who think the UK ought to be taking more migrants (whether as a principle or in the sense that misery loves company). So, as far as the UK electorate is concerned, the only way to keep control of UK borders and make sure the UK is not overwhelmed with migrants and asylum-seekers is to get out of the EU. (That may not be strictly true, but why take a chance?)
Back to Cameron and his dilemma. There is obviously little end in sight to the migration/asylum crisis. (Even if Syria is somehow stabilized, you have all the other failed states that are driving their citizens to seek a new life elsewhere.) So Cameron would love to get the referendum over and done with as soon as possible, on the grounds that things are only going to get worse. But the soonest he can reasonably hope to run the referendum is June, and this assumes he gets a saleable deal from his European colleagues in February. If not, the referendum will have to be delayed until September, by which time a new migration crisis should be in full swing.
Add to all that the fact that the Scottish first minister (Nicola Sturgeon) continues to say she will demand another referendum on independence, if the UK votes to leave the EU and Scotland does not.
Cheers to you both. ( My Friend) Tim