Attention: I am initiating the Bloxit process

At approximately 8:37 p.m. on Tuesday, the Weinblog™ held its long-promised referendum to decide if we wanted to remain a member of the United Union of Bloggers.

Over the years, the Internet has grown increasingly volatile. The rise of social media has only highlighted that trend.

A major consequence of the Internet’s expansion is the deterioration of the English language: when experiencing a certain emotion, people invent acrostic behavioral terminologies, like FML or YOLO, because they’re too lazy to express how they truly feel.

Last year, fake news became an Internet epidemic.

And recently, the Republican-controlled Congress repealed Internet privacy protections preventing Internet service providers from sharing your data without permission.

It has gone far enough.

So, finally, on Tuesday, March 28, we held our long-awaited referendum to vote if we should leave the United Union of Bloggers – UUB for short – which I officially anointed as Bloxit.

The electorate comprised two people: myself, who voted with a resounding ‘yes,’ and my cat Marbles, who stared at me, licked his paw, and then rushed to a nearby window to stare at what I presume was a bird. I took those actions as a declaration of assent.

And with that, I initiated the process. I stood on my front lawn wearing a bandanna, while somehow equipped with a walking stick akin to the one carried by Gandalf in Lord of the rings, and yelled, ‘BLOXIT!” And then I went inside and ate a cheese sandwich.

OK, so this was a dramatic representation of what it would be like if individual websites were able to declare their own sovereignty from the Internet, not unlike the current trend of European countries deciding whether they wish to remain as a member state of the European Union.

Brexit

As we all remember, the United Kingdom voted last summer to leave the E.U., and this week, nine months after 51% of voters chose to support ‘Brexit,’ Prime Minister Theresa May has formally initiated the exiting process.

In the meantime, many other European countries have flirted with the idea of holding their own referendums, and Scotland is deliberating whether to even stay in the United Kingdom.

Theresa May accomplished the start of the Brexit process by triggering Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, also known as the Lisbon Treaty, meaning Britain must officially be out by April 2019. Think of it as your parents telling you that if you don’t get a job within two years, you’re kicked out of the house, whether you like it or not.

May sent a letter shortly before 12:30 p.m. local time to Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, signaling the initiation of Article 50. And if you think the instructions provide an extremely complex and detailed protocol for an unprecedented departure from a continental geopolitical and economic union, you’d be wrong – it’s five steps. Monopoly comes with more instructions.

In case you hadn’t figured it out, there’s no such thing as Bloxit. I made it up. And if it did exist, my departure from the also-made-up UUB would be far less consequential than the UK’s forthcoming departure from the E.U.

But hey, it’s fun to joke about things that could cause real-life economic turmoil as well as deep uncertainty in the futures of young British people for decades to come.

Cheerio!

What to expect when you’re expecting a CIA hack

Today on ‘As the World Turns,’ Congressional Republicans proposed an alternative to Obamacare that may benefit the wallets of young, healthy people, but will likely be extremely problematic for those who are severely ill; European and Asian countries are considering upgrading their nuclear arsenal out of the fear that they can no longer rely on an unstable United States; and Wikileaks released thousands of pages of documents that may reveal highly secretive — and highly troubling — hacking techniques by the CIA.

Oh, and an explosive story in the New Yorker explains how Donald Trump’s company may have done shady business with corrupt Azerbaijani officials that illegally laundered money to Iran.

In other words, just another day in the U.S.

But hey, Ed Sheeran’s new album is actually pretty dope. Give it a listen. I’m calling “Castle on the Hill” as 2017’s next big hit.

One thing that gets lost when you exclusively follow American news is the impact that Trump’s presidency is having not on our country, but on the world.

While we are micro-analyzing every Tweet, and are balancing reactions from Republicans and Democrats, other countries are taking their own actions to protect themselves against an increasingly uncertain United States.

CIA

The European Union is considering its own nuclear program. China is threatening to increase its arsenal if the United States follows through with a missile defense program in South Korea. This is an actual world development that demands attention.

We saw in the ’60s the anxiety that can resonate worldwide when powerful countries engage in an arms race. And when the man with his fingertips on the nuclear codes in this country is someone who describes nuclear weapons as such:

“You know what uranium is, right? It’s this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things.”

Then call me crazy for being a little fearful.

As for the Wikileaks thing, a lot of reporting needs to take place before we understand the full scope of what was released. But the immediate indications are not very good.

For one, it means that someone leaked classified CIA information to Wikileaks, either because they really hate Trump and wanted to cause a problem, or because we have another Edward Snowden on our hands, and someone felt morally obligated to share what they felt was obtrusive and secretive spying on American citizens.

Secondly, if true, it means the CIA can spy on us using cell phones and smart TVs.

Which basically means that George Orwell’s ‘1984’ got it right yet again. In that book, the autocratic regime uses TVs, or what they call telescreens, to conduct surveillance on their citizens.

So to sum up: healthcare may no longer be affordable if you’re sick, nuclear war is imminent, the government is watching you through your smartphone as you read this, and Trump has probably committed criminal — let alone impeachable — offenses that would likely be easily uncovered if Congress were to conduct just one independent investigation into his past business dealings.

But other than that, everything is cool.

What America can learn from the Brexit

If you told me that the residents of a nation would give into fear-mongering, populism and xenophobia, I would have never guessed it was any country besides the United States.

Turns I had been giving the British too much credit my entire life.

Call it reverse stereotyping, but I always assumed that just because some one is British, that they are smarter. They dress fancier, they sound more eloquent, and their use of the English language is impeccable.

All of that changed last week when British voters stunned the world by voting to leave the European Union.

The post-war bloc of 28 nations represents the world’s largest single market. Goods and labor flow freely through the member states’ open borders. When a country faltered economically, the E.U. would step in and do everything in its power to pick it up (see: Greece).

Remain reacts

But — and tell me if this sounds familiar — the European Union’s open borders also allows the free flow of people to immigrate from one country to another. That fact, coupled with the fear of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa, has stirred a huge sense of nationalism that some politicians have exploited and baited in recent months.

The unprecedented vote has divided residents and created economic uncertainty for the U.K. The stock markets plunged. The value of the pound plummeted. Northern Ireland and Scotland might secede. And young people, who voted overwhelmingly to remain in the E.U., are angry at their elders for sacrificing their future.

Oh, and their prime minister is resigning.

And amazingly, after the vote, campaigners on the Leave side are suddenly backtracking on some of the “facts” they claimed would be beneficial if Britain left the E.U.

But the most astounding part in all of this was when news came out that the top Google eu-google-trendssearches after the vote from British residents were: “What does it mean to leave the EU?” and “What is the EU?”

Here’s where America can learn. Witness the turmoil that is occurring in Britain right now. Feel the regret.

What’s happening in Britain right now is what happens when you give into fear. When you make short-sighted, impulsive decisions simply because you have the option to. When you take out your anger and frustration in the form of a protest vote without understanding the consequences.

If we elect the man who is currently the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, the reality will sink in the next day. The ramifications of what it means will suddenly set in. And mark my words, we will wish we can go back and change it.

Fortunately, the vote hasn’t happened yet. We still can alter the future.

We have one chance to get this right. There’s no practice vote. Because once we place those ballots, there is no do-over.

So America, I’m going to put this as delicately as possible. Look at the anguish the British are experiencing right now. They wish they were in our shoes, and still had the opportunity to make the smart decision in an important referendum.

America, we have four months left.

Get your shit together.

Cleveland’s triumph, an actor’s sudden passing, and the Brexit

Man, the news lately has been crazy. Or as Gwen Stefani might say, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

Side note: Hollaback Girl is probably my least favorite song of all time. And bear in mind that’s considering the existence of Nicki Minaj.

But anyway, I mentioned it briefly yesterday, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are NBA champions. And I was rooting for them. I’m sick of the Warriors winning and I actually like post-Miami LeBron.

I loathed him as a member of the Heat. But I feel like he has matured since then. He returned home for all the right reasons. And he clearly loves his hometown.

Cavs champsSo I was satisfied with the result. And on top of that, Game 7 was just an epic game from start to finish. High quality entertainment at its finest.

LeBron cemented his legacy on Sunday night. Hate him or love him, he’s the greatest basketball player on the planet.

But let’s move on. There’s a lot to cover.

I must say, I was extremely saddened to learn about about the sudden death of actor Anton Yelchin on Sunday. He was only 27, but had already been in a lot of quality movies.

He’s being heralded for his work in the recent reboot of the Star Trek film franchise, but if you really want to see his talent, check out the 2011 film Like Crazy, a romance he starred in alongside Felicity Jones. The film didn’t follow an airtight script, and instead let the actors improvise and act naturally. Both excelled in the roles.

Felicity Jones went on to be nominated for an Oscar a few years later. Anton Yelchin will never have the chance.

And it was even more frustrating to learn of the freak nature of how he died. His Jeep Cherokee rolled down his driveway, crushing and pinning him against a cement mailbox.

The big bombshell came today, when we learned that the car had been recalled by Fiat Anton YelchinChrysler because it’s unorthodox gear shift was confusing drivers who thought the car was on park, only for it to be on neutral, and then roll unexpectedly. And in this case, it cost a life.

Farewell, Anton. Thanks for the good movies.

Continuing the news frenzy, someone tried to assassinate Donald Trump, and it seems like nobody cares. Yes, it’s true that the effort was extremely futile and never even came close to fruition, but you’d think this would be something that would draw a stronger reaction.

Although, I’m still not convinced that the would-be assassin may not have been a future time traveler who returned to the year 2016 in attempt to save the world.

Donald Trump lives on. I want him badly beaten in November, like many other people do, but let’s not go crazy, folks. Let’s show our opposition in the ballot box, and not by going commando at one of his rallies.

And last but certainly not least, I must end this post by discussing something of great importance, even if most Americans don’t actually care — the Brexit.

I probably will not have time to post tomorrow, and considering that Thursday is when British voters decide if they want to remain in the European Union or not, I need to at least address it in some form.

People don’t realize that there are Trumpist movements going on globally, and most heavily in Europe. Xenophobia is running rampant, especially in a continent where refugees are roaming all over the place.

Jo CoxThings have gotten so poisonous in Britain that a Member of Parliament, Jo Cox, a staunch supporter of remaining in the E.U., was murdered in the street.

I mean, that’s just freaking terrible.

One of the reason Britons want to depart from the E.U. is to embrace a greater sense of nationalism and sovereignty. Many feel that the E.U. has been to soft on refugees, especially with its open borders, and feel that drifting away will better the chances of keeping them out.

But the potentially devastating economic impact that could arise if the U.K. leaves the E.U (I know, that’s a lot of acronyms) has been highly documented. It would affect not only the local economy, but the entire economy of Europe, and even have a harmful effect on the United States.

The U.S. employs more than one million people in Britain, and has $588 billion in investments in the country. That business relationship is considered by many as the U.S.’s primary gateway to the European Union, which would be tarnished if Britain leaves.

And on top of that, if the Brexit happens, it may pave the way for other countries to leave, like the Netherlands or France. And if that happens, then we have to deal with more stupid nicknames, like the Nexit or Frexit.

After that, you know what’s coming next — the Weinblog’s departure from the Blogger Union.

The Weinxit.

Yeah that nickname literally hurt to type.