Mid-Atlantic - conversations about US, UK and world politics

8/1/2022

Has The Commonwealth past it's sell by date?

The Commonwealth originated from the British Empire.The Commonwealth started in 1926. This is when it changed from the British Empire to the Commonwealth. Around one-third of the world is in the Commonwealth, 2.5 billion people.The modern Commonwealth was formed on 26 April 1949 when the leaders of Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom adopted the London Declaration. The declaration defined the Commonwealth as a “free association” of independent member countries.All members have an equal say, regardless of their size or economic stature. This ensures that even the smallest countries have a voice in shaping the Commonwealth. The Pacific nation of Nauru is the smallest Commonwealth member country with a population of about 13,000. The most populous member country is India with over 1.3 billion people. In 1971 the Declaration of Commonwealth Principles were released. The principles said that it should support international peace and understanding, have equal rights for all citizens and remove poverty, ignorance and disease.In the past two decades, countries which have joined include Mozambique, Cameroon and Rwanda, which were never part of the British Empire. The Gambia re-joined in February 2018The UK has rather neglected the Commonwealth in recent years and is now desperately trying to rebuild links as a futile attempt to reduce the impact of Brexit.There are 54 countries in the Commonwealth.They are:Botswana, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Kingdom of Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Cyprus, Malta, United Kingdom, Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.The Commonwealth spans the globe and includes both advanced economies and developing countries.It encompasses Africa (19 countries), Asia (7), the Caribbean and Americas (13), Europe (3), and thePacific (11). The Commonwealth’s strength lies in its shared values and diversity. Thirty-one of our members are small states, usually with a population well under 1.5 million, and 24 members are small island developing states.The Commonwealth is connected by an active network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society and professional organisations, including:o The Commonwealth Secretariat – supporting member stateso The Commonwealth Foundation – supporting civil societyo The Commonwealth of Learning – promoting distance learning and educationo The Commonwealth Games Federation – promoting sports development. The 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held on 27 July – 7 August 2022 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
6/16/2022

Is San Francisco a failed city?

During the first part of the pandemic, San Francisco County lost more than one in 20 residentsSan Francisco now has the fewest children per capita of any large American city, and a $117,400 salary counts as low-income for a family of four.I’d gotten used to the crime, rarely violent but often brazen; to leaving the car empty and the doors unlocked so thieves would at least quit breaking my windows.The budget to tackle homelessness and provide supportive housing has been growing exponentially for years.In 2021, the city announced that it would pour more than $1 billion into the issue over the next two years. But almost 8,000 people remain on the streets.Every tent costs taxpayers roughly $60,000 a year.The San Francisco Bay Area is 52 percent white, 6.7 percent Black, and 23.3 percent Asian.SF isn’t turning red on any electoral maps.The widest income disparities in the Bay Area are in San Francisco County, where the top 5% of households makes an average of $808,105 annually, compared with $16,184 for the lowest 20%.Bay Area residents in the 90th percentile of incomes earned $384,000 a year, compared to just $32,000 for those in the bottom 10th percentile.Despite California’s strong economy, low- and middle-income earners have seen fewer gains than those in the top bracket in recent decades.San Francisco remains the most expensive rental market in the U.S. – with average one-bedroom rent costing $2,700 per month as of December 2020 (a 23% decrease year-over-year).“San Francisco has some of the most extreme inequality anywhere in the world, and many of the best-known companies growing here have some of the largest gaps between executive pay and worker pay.San Francisco voters overwhelmingly backed a new law that will levy an extra 0.1% tax on companies that pay their chief executive more than 100-times the median of their workforce. The surcharge increases by 0.1 percentage point for each factor of 100 that a CEO is paid above the median, up to a maximum of 0.6%.Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, was paid $134m in 2019, more than 2,300 times the firm’s median pay of $57,600.1 in 4 Bay Area families isn't making enough to live here,8,011 homeless individuals were counted in San Francisco's 2019 point-in-time street and shelter count. This was an increase of more than 14% over the 2017 count.