Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The only race with no need of psychiatry; it has jokes

The McBride cottage in Bunbeg, Donegal, Ireland.

It won't surprise you that I'm totally charmed by my chiropractor, Brian Quinn of County Chiropractic in Plymouth. He's Irish, after all, and despite 18 years in the UK, he still sounds like he's from Ireland.

But he's also a darn good chiropractor. I presented the "poor dear man" as they would say in Ireland with four month's worth of all sorts of inflamed joints and locked down muscles. Four months' worth. I had made two trips to France in intense pain, and spent a couple more weeks at home messing about with yoga and aspirin. And yes, to be sure, a wee bit of the crayture. Indeed, I could barely wait for cocktail hour the whole four months.

Anyway....all my inflamed and bunged up parts were moving better before I left his office on Tuesday. I'm darn near pain-free today after another treatment. But more than that, my funny bone--which is never in pain, another feature of the Irish I always think--was tickled.

We got talking about the fact that when people are about to tell an Irish joke and they realize you're Irish, they stop. As Brian says, "They will suddenly say, 'Oh, I've forgotten it. Never mind'." He tells them to go ahead. Funny is funny, after all. And then he told me a joke. But I'm not going to use it here; watch for it soon, though. It contains sheep and Irishmen; how bad can it be?

I often wonder if it's the fact that the Irish had a lot to cry about for about 800 years that has given us all--mutts like me and purebreds alike--a well-developed sense of humour?

I don't think so. Lots of populations were stressed. I don't recall American Indians, for instance, being particularly noted for their ability to make and laugh at jokes. Now, on the other hand, Jewish people are almost on a par with the Irish for being able to laugh at themselves. Yes, I believe that's the only population I can think of that would not laugh, but happily laugh at themselves.

Simon and I talked about it on the drive home. I decided that in the case of the Irish, it's that the Irish won't put up with pretension, not at all. That brought to mind my late father and his sister, my late Aunt Margie, who I am reputed to look like.

Anyway, Margie was a bit of a glamour puss, plus she was surrounded by adoring brothers, my father being the youngest and least susceptible to being charmed, apparently. When her family would come from their home in Brooklyn, NY to ours on Long Island, we would all go to the beach. There, Margie, aka Glamour Nanny, would decorate the beach blanket, lounging around in her white satin swimsuit but not going near the water, as it would mess up her hair.
Back row: The late James J. Donlon and Margaret Donlon
Front row: Maureen Donlon Robinson, Dennis Donlon, Susan Donlon Lukens, the late James Donlon
Taken sometime in the early 1960s in Brooklyn, NY, at Christmas
That never lasted long because my father would scoop her up and run down to the water and plunk her in. She would come out spluttering with mock anger, and everyone--time after time--had a good laugh. Including Margie.

We laughed, my Irish family did. We laughed at the beach, at the dinner table, at weddings and yes, of course, at funerals. That's what an Irish wake is for, after all. You might remember some things sadly, but before it's over, you're going to be streaming tears from laughing, at least in the New York of my youth, and, in fact, in Delaware in recent years. When Margie's eldest son, my cousin Jimmy, died there about ten years ago, there was a wake, of course. Before it was all over, his two sons--one of whom was a U.S. Army major stationed in Hong Kong and the other a Delaware State Trooper--had told the joke, and the rest of us were cracking up--again--over My Name is Fink.

Oh, you don't know it? Here it is:
A man needs a new suit, so he walks by a tailor shop in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn; for the uninitiated, this is an an area of Jewish-owned businesses, renowned for bargains. 

In the window of the tailor shop is a sign: "My name is Fink and what do you think I make suits for nothing".

Good deal, the man thinks, so he walks in and orders a suit.

A week later, he goes to pick it up, tries it on, all is well. And then Fink hands him a bill.

"What's this? Your sign says 'My name is Fink and what do you think, I make suits for nothing'."
"No, no, no," Fink says. "You said it wrong. The sign says, 'My name is Fink. And what do you think? I make suits for NOTHING??!??"
That joke has probably been told at every wake for every member of my family descended from Anna McBride Box, late of Bunbeg, Donegal, and Brooklyn, NY, or the Donlon family, one of which Margie became through marriage, or anyone surnamed Box whose ancestors lived in Brooklyn.

I tell it now because, well, I needed a joke to finish my paean to Irish psychology. And, since it has been a part of my family's life for so long, I also tell it in honour of two women of the family who have died within the past month. 

RIP Dorothy Finney, my ex-sister-in-law. 
RIP Donna Carol (Rowe) Box, my sister-in-law. 

I hope the Angels of Mirth are busy entertaining you both in your transitions to another life.

I will miss you.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Snakes on a plane? Nah, Gregor Samsa and the cockroaches

Artist's version of fictional roach-man Gregor Samsa.
Well, that does it for me. My subjecting myself to air travel is unlikely in future. Frankly, I don't usually feel like Gregor Samsa, the cockroach invented by author Franz Kafka in his novel Metamorphosis. But if I took certain flights, the likelihood of being sprayed with permethrin--or at the least sitting in an enclosed cabin treated with the crap--is high. As it happens, all sorts of noxious compounds make me wheeze, and permethrin is no exception.

That's probably a good thing. It is so certain to happen that I always know when I am in the presence of Dow or Monsanto or, in the case of permethrins, Johnson & Johnson chemical feasts.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about permethrin:

Permethrin is a medication and chemical widely used as an insecticide, acaricide, and insect repellent. Permethrin is a first-line treatment for scabies. It is used as a cream.

It belongs to the family of synthetic chemicals called pyrethroids and functions as a neurotoxin, affecting neuron membranes by prolonging sodium channel activation. It is not known to rapidly harm most mammals or birds, but is toxic to fish and cats. In cats it may induce hyperexcitability, tremors, seizures, and death.[1] In general, it has a low mammalian toxicity and is poorly absorbed by skin.[2]

Note: It is not known to rapidly harm most mammals.....Repeat: rapidly harm most mammals....

So how many inhalations of the crap would it take to impair or kill humans? Big humans? Little humans? Is its action enhanced by the presence of female hormones, as is the case with many toxins? Does anyone know?

Those of us affected by the rubbish know. In a Truth Out article, one passenger told this story:
“I’ve been feeling like crap ever since I arrived,” says Heather Greene, a farmer from Oregon, taking the critical food studies program at GustoLab Institute with me in Rome. “My ankles swelled up and I still feel like a have a sinus infection. When I did some research I found out that I was suffering similar symptoms to others who had come into contact with insecticides on planes.” (Truth Out)

Who needs snakes on a plane? The snakes are all on the ground. Even the World Health Organization (WHO, or should that be WHOM, for World Health Organization Monsters?) has declared permethrin safe. This despite the fact that “multiple studies have revealed a link between permethrin and Parkinson’s disease.” (Truth Out)


After taking a ferry from England to France last month, I concluded on several grounds that ferry was the only way I'd consider going from the UK to the continent or from the UK to Ireland ever again. It is very civilized, all in all, and the pre-boarding trauma is truly minimal compared to airlines. Do they spray for bugs? I sort of think they must, and probably rodents as well, since they encounter the depressingly filthy condition of ports day after day. But at least they are not airtight, like airplanes. Decks and doors open constantly, and fresh air blows in through the ends of the vehicle decks constantly. So yes, I'd rather take my chances on the high seas than breathe in a death dose who-knows-when because governments of the world are busy pandering to senseless fears of cockroaches and poisoning people in the process.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A nation based on hate and fear?

On June 24, 2016, the UK will have become, in an instant, a nation representing the worst of human behaviours, a rogue nation that has chosen to deny its humanity to follow a cadre of neo-Nazis, failed politicians and greedy trust-fund brats. It will have chosen to leave the EU.

Or, it will have chosen to express the best of Britishness--courage, compassion, industriousness, intelligence, rejection of the politics of hatred, envy and vitriol, cooperation for the good of the nation and its neighbors. It will have chosen to remain in the EU. It will have rejected the manipulations of two groups, UKIP and Britain First, that are thinly disguised skinhead groups who would as soon kill someone unlike them as look at them. And recently have done exactly that, which their leader, Nigel Farage, has hypocritically claimed made him--the ultimate engineer of the politics of hatred--into a victim.

If it were not so ludicrous--so dangerous--we could laugh about it.

If the UK chooses to remain in the EU, it will have chosen to reject a man, Nigel Farage, whose idea of success is to fail seven times to win the office he desired, cynically won a lesser office, and even then, as a Member of the European Parliament, failed totally in his espoused duty to protect the British fishing industry. How could he do as he promised? He missed all but 2 EU votes on those issues, out of more than 40. It is fair to ask if this self-identified "boozer" was on a bender. All those times.

If the UK votes Remain on June 23, 2016, it will have chosen sanity over insanity, light over darkness, a chance at greater prosperity for all over a rapid descent into poverty for those already most pressed by lack.

If the UK votes Remain on June 23, it will have grown up. It will have realized that silly squabbles about marking packaging so it is easily read in all EU nations is a very small price to pay for a single, tariff-free, customs-free market. 

It will realise that the EU fisheries requirements are not aimed at impoverishing British fishermen; their success is still under their control. They can either be good fishermen or bad; it is not the EU that teaches them their trade. All the EU and its rules do is ensure that there are, in fact, fish left in the sea for anyone to fish.

It will realise that there will not be an EU army, any more than there is a NATO army. When NATO needs firepower, each member nation contributes. If the EU were to have an army of its own, where would it be located, exactly? Who would run it? Is this ridiculous concept based on fear of Germany? If so, that's pretty odd for a group of neo-Nazis like Farage and UKIP. Besides which, Germany--unlike the UK for the past 40 years--actually educates its people about what WWII meant and wrought. It's a specious claim, dishonestly bandied about by people like Farage who have nothing to offer, so they rely on manipulation by deceit to achieve their aims.

If the UK chooses to Remain, it will have accepted its responsibility as an upper-level nation for helping those who flee the depredations of monsters elsewhere, and of welcoming those who simply wish to share in our bounty and literally pay more in taxes than we provide to them in services. And it will have remembered that UK citizens often reside elsewhere in teh world, with well over 2 million "usurping' the good things Spain, France, etc. have to offer.

If the UK chooses to remain in the EU, it will have avoided playing the petulant child, taking its marbles and going home when it doesn't get its WHOLE way. If the UK exits the EU, the UK won't get to keep its marbles; the EU will. The UK will have to pay 3/4 as much to the EU because of its geographic location--like Sweden which decided not to opt in. Like Sweden, it will THEN have to follow the rules but will have no say in making them, no veto when the rules are not in the UK's interest, no chance to negotiate a better deal. Sweden's leaders have advised the UK NOT to go down that path.

In the end, it doesn't really matter whether Farage is a boozer, Boris an egomaniacal buffoon, Gove a tool and Duncan Smith a soul-dead reptilian-brained piece of bloated nothingness. 

What matters is what they have tried to engineer through lies, racial hatred,provocation and outright violence would do to the United Kingdom.

If they succeed, they will have impoverished the UK monetarily. The UK will have become a pariah of selfishness, greed, racism and xenophobia on a world stage that has proven none of those characteristics works. The Farage cadre will have become the ISIS of the developed world, sacrificing on the altar of its hubris anything and anyone it doesn't believe will blindly follow its insane program.

Farage, UKIP and Britain First have demonstrated who they are and what they want. Farage has advocated bullying and promised violence if he doesn't get his way. I'm not crazy about getting punched as at least one Remain campaigner did on Sunday, June 19, hard on the heels of the assassination of MP Jo Cox. We know they are capable of it; we know they will do it. But I will wear my StrongerIn shirt, and I will press charges if I am harmed, and I will write about it early and often.

If we fail to counter their lies, cower in our houses because their dogs of envy and selfishness are snapping at the heels of British decency, we will fail to save ourselves from these curs. And our families, for the foreseeable future, will be ground into poverty and obeisance to an evil first spawned by Adolph Hitler. An evil that pounded the UK mercilessly until the UK was helped by its allies.

If there is a Brexit, the EU will have very few allies, if any. The rest of the EU will have no reason to help us; we will have rejected the  peace-making body to which we once belonged, so why would they? The Commonwealth countries? Hardly. They are appalled at this juggernaut to political hell.Many are unable to help, as we support them. Others are too far away. The United States? Don't bet on it; if there's a Brexit, N. Ireland and the Republic will probably explode again...and the US is heavily Irish, Republic Irish. Plus, of course, the intelligent current leadership of the US thinks Brexit is nuts.

It seems to be up to the Undecideds at this moment. If they can even suspect half of the downside risk is likely--and most experts says ALL of it is not only likely but assured--then if they are actually British, they will vote to Remain. If they have allowed themselves to think for a single minute that any nation prospered by harming those who seek its help, who burn--literally or figuratively--those who are unlike them and choose Brexit, then there is only one thing to say: God help us.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

One name for Brexit: Pure evil

A boozer and a boob. Two evil men.

I don't believe in the concept of evil. I had fear of evil hammered into me by any number of Roman Catholic nuns in my youth. As a teenager, I decamped from the RCs to the Church of England because that church was and still is more into doing good deeds than scaring little kids and old ladies with tales of evil. 

I finally decamped from there to Religious Science. (No, NOT Scientology.)  Religious Science, also known as New Thought, is a philosophy that posits a Universal Mind, the source of all laws of science and everything else, in which the only punishment for your mistakes is the bad consequences you reap.

We control our destiny

And I have found that to be completely true. Not that I engaged in purposeful bad deeds, but we often overlook things we should have paid attention to, and we reap a consequence. If we are spiritually healthy, we will accept our errors and our consequences, and not scapegoat others for it. (Please hold onto that thought; I'll revisit it in a few paragraphs.)

By the same token, if we desire some thing or condition or achievement, the laws of the universe--the Supreme Being if you will--will provide them as long as we pay attention to what we are doing, and believe it is possible. It literally works perfectly every time. As a US pundit once said, If you believe you can, you can. If you believe you can't, you can't.

The world will prove you right. No sin or evil about it.

Brexit is the intended consequence of bad men

But what, then, about serial killers, ISIS, Nigel Farage? Are they simply mistaken and not evil?

At this point, I break with Religious Science. I think your consequences and mine, results of our basically well-meaning and varied competences and incompetences, are simply the result of our mistakes.

But what about serial killers, ISIS and Farage? Are they simply mistaken. Oh, certainly, in a spiritual sense. But it is bigger than that. Mistakes pertain to and consequences are visited on the person who made the mistake, not on strangers, other nations, or--worst of all--one's own nation. So yes, killers, ISIS and Farage are beyond the realm of mistakes; they are all evil.

What they do, all of them, is not directed at seeking their own happiness, but at creating misery for others. If your mistakes punish you with undesirable consequences, so what? You have not harmed others. If your actions--mistakes or otherwise--are purposefully engaged in and DO hurt others--indeed, if your intention is to hurt others--then you are evil.

Seven time loser wants us to pay for his failures

Nigel Farage is evil.  He lost seven elections. When he finally wone one, it was as a member of the European Union Parliament, or MEP.

But he still felt like a failure. He abused the position by rarely even showing up. He and the other UKIP MEPs are considered by the EU parliament to be the laziest crew there. Thus, if it doesn't go the way they like, whose fault is that? You have to be in it to win it...and they absented themselves from the voting, the influence-brokering. In short, they failed the very people who elected them to look out for our interests in that parliament, just as we elect MPs to look out for our interests in the UK parliament.

That wasn't enough, though. Shortly, Farage began berating the EU, as if it were the EU's fault that he was a failure, that he chose to drink 9 pints and a bottle of wine a day instead of taking care of business. The UK's business. Our business.

The ingrate fouled his own nest, and brought home the pile of HIS stinking failure to the UK, and has covered us in it.
Nigel Farage has unloosed on the peaceable, industrious UK a magnitude of distress and looming disaster of proportions only exceeded by WWII, and that was the work of an evil madman from another nation.

It's all about Nigel

This is mischief created by Nigel Farage that can have only one purpose: the enrichment of Nigel Farage, and a way for him to prove to himself that he isn't a seven-time loser. He is using the entire UK to slap a useless plaster over his own self-inflicted spiritual wounds that are so deep and festering that he feels fine about serial lies, backed by at least one greedy bankroller, Arron Banks, and god knows who else, to try to kill his pain.

And it's ALL--Totally--About Boris

Boris Johnson is no better. He has changed his opinion as often as he seems to need new ties. His aim? Serving the people of the UK? Not at all. He thinks he should be PM, not because he is suited to the job (he is not, unless a nation would prefer to be represented by a buffoon). He wishes to be PM only because he is now--and apparently has been since Eton--jealous of David Cameron. 

Cameron, no matter what you think of some, many or even most of his decisions, is successful, decent, not a clown, and serves the UK in the best way he knows how. He isn't doing it for money; he has enough. He isn't doing it because he feels a failure and wants us to pay: he isn't a failure, and he wants to serve us as best he knows how. In short, as a politician, he's not half bad. And he is definitely not evil.

We could end up with a US clown as PM

Johnson also has a bolt hole to go to should his self-serving, nation-harming quest fail: the United States. Boris--a UK elected public servant--is a citizen of the United States.

Repeat:  Boris--a UK elected public servant--is a citizen of the United States.and only announces he is giving up his US citizenship when he needs a boost in the poles. 

The headlines say "Johnson gives up US citizenship" but they lie; of course they do, in a Murdoch-driven news environment. Way toward the bottom of the stories you will see that Boris "intends" to give it up to "prove his loyalty" to the UK. He hasn't given it up yet. He'll trash the UK for his own enrichment and amusement, and, should he fail, he'll take his clown show to the US, as if they didn't have enough clowns already.

These are two men whose every act is aimed at convincing themselves that they are not failures, and they don't care who is hurt in the process. They will likely enrich themselves along the way. They will think that's great, successful. No, Mr. Farage and Mr. Johnson, that does not mean you are successful. It just means you are being used by others smarter than yourselves to deliver t them what they want. You are evil, but you are still, at the end of the day, no more than expendable messengers for people with even more power, more greed and more blackened souls than your own.

They are nothing--nothing, all wrapped in cynicism, inhumanity, flippancy, greed and, yes, failure with bows on top. Whatever happens from the demons they have unleashed, history will count them as failures. It can do nothing else, because they will have ruined a great nation for cosmically niggling purposes of their own.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Simple explanations of cause and effect for Brexit

Michael Gove has admitted 500,000 UK jobs will be lost if the UK leaves the EU.

Let me repeat:

How many jobs is that, really? Recently, it was reported that there were 31.5 million people working in the UK, and that was the highest number since the economic debacle of 2008.

Next to 31.5 million,500,000 doesn't look like much. It is just half a million. But explain, please, how little it is to those who have lost those jobs.

And please remember that the actual losses would likely be higher. "More than three million British jobs would be at risk if Britain leaves the European Union, an official Treasury analysis has disclosed," according to an article in the Telegraph in June of 2014.

So what happens when all those jobs are lost?

Here's the picture.

Those former employed people are no longer paying taxes to support government services.

However, they are receiving unemployment benefits. They still get National Health Serivce (NHS) services--and yet they are paying no taxes to partially cover the cost. Result:

The NHS is even more overburdened than now. Some doctors and other staff make mistakes, being tired from overlong shifts. Your health care suffers, and your taxes rise to pay for less than you have now.

The schools have to cut back because there is less tax money to spend on education.

The military has to cut back because there is less tax money to spend on protecting the nation. Notably, it will begin--as has already been made clear--with the Channel crossings that so distress people who harbour unreasoning fear of strangers.

France has already said that if the UK leaves the EU, there is no reason for France to patrol the Channel crossings.They've got other fish to fry and could use the money elsewhere, if they didn't have so support another member state. No reason for them to, and they've been very kind in taking on the lion's share so far. The UK will lose the efforts of the 10 French patrols to every UK 3 patrols. In short, we would at least quadruple our expenditure on Channel security. The UK can't afford that now; what happens when such funds as are still available for public safety are stretched across the Scottish border? If the UK leaves the EU, there is little doubt the next Scottish referendum to leave the UK will win without much trouble.

Many businesses tied to EU trade will fail, and others will have to cut back because their taxes have gone up to make up for the taxes lost when the 500,000 jobs were lost.

So now there are even MORE people out of work.

Many of them lose their homes. Some live on the street; homelessness rises dramatically. Empty houses destroy communities,as they would then be ripe for harboring drug users and illegal immigrants. 

This wastes the time of the local constabulary who try to push them off so the still-employed don't have to look at it, at what could easily happen to them. Petty crime increases both because of opportunity and because people who are starving often need to steal to eat. Food banks are overstretched because, since there is so much less money in the economy, those who have jobs are saving, not donating, JUST IN CASE.

Oh, and those worries about terrorism if the UK remains in the EU? Most UK terrorism has been home-grown to begin with. If you force people to live like rats, they will act like rats if they have the least inclination to do so. If you force a brash young man--Islamic or otherwise--out of work and onto the streets, you are asking for trouble. And you will get it.

On which note: Farage has already admitted that it will be impossible to patrol the 1,700 miles of back roads between Ireland and Northern Ireland. So any terrorist wannabe who can get into Ireland can get into the UK without question. And, of course, it is possible that the IRA might regroup because a UK exit from the EU puts greater pressure on Ireland in every way; economic, ideological and in the simple commerce and contact between the two populations on the Irish island. They've enjoyed being neighbourly at last, and families are no longer rent asunder ideologically or politically.

So there's the picture. ONLY 500,000 jobs lost. Really? ONLY?  The knock-on effects of the least of the possibilities--and please remember that Gove is putting his best spin on it, when he probably knows it will be much, much worse--will devastate people, families, towns, regions. It will take decades to get back to where we are now, as it did after the crash of 1929.

And you won't be able to blame greedy bankers for this one. You'll only have yourselves to blame if you allow yourself to be manipulated by the single most wicked bunch of arrogant, self-involved politicians the UK has ever seen. Politicians such a far cry from Winston Churchill that one must wonder if they are the same species.  Churchill saved his nation against all odds.

Farage, Gove, Duncan Smith, Johnson--they will all destroy it against all odds. If you let them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

2024, Life in the UK post-Brexit

Most of what was predicted in George Orwell's novel 1984 has come to pass. Much of it is not pretty. 

Least pretty of all is the fact that Orwell predicted that message bombardment, not truth, would determine what people thought. 

That is precisely the tactic being taken by Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson. And unfortunately, after 30+ years of the reality of 1984, few people have sufficient education to understand simple concepts, such as if you lose jobs, your tax base declines. If your tax base declines, you will either, a) have to curtail services or, b) raise taxes on those who still have incomes. Or both. Reactionary governments--by which read conservative and ultra-conservative--would probably do both.

But what about 2024, particularly in the United Kingdom? People then will write that the UK was a once-powerful nation that sundered itself from its allies and partners in keeping a 70-year peace in what had once been a volatile part of the globe: Wars of the Roses, Hundred Years' War, World Wars I and II.

What happened to the UK after those who longed for the UK to be "the way it used to be" destroyed a nation seeking a magical Neverland that never was?

Here's one account, with appreciation to George Orwell for pointing the way.


Dateline: Cornwall, August 1, 2024

A stiff breeze blew in off the Atlantic. It was both good and bad. From where we were standing covering the current protest outside Bodmin, Cornwall, the heavy black smoke from Bodmin Moor blew over us. It would have been worse had there been the still air of most summer days; the county council had chosen today to build a pyre of all the dead moor ponies and ownerless sheep that had died on the ravaged moorland in the previous month. There wasn't much for them to eat there anymore; humans had cleaned every edible plant and diverted any streams they could to serve temporary encampments before the police moved them on.

There was no agriculture on the moor anymore. The sheep farmers had not been able to withstand the 40% cut in their European Union markets when the UK decided to leave the EU in 2016. Some of them who couldn't sell their sheep simply left them behind on the moor, along with their border collies and barn cats. It would have been a horror of wild dogs and feral cats by now, but for the fact that they had all been eaten, along with a goodly number of the ponies.

But that's not the story. Today, police were summoned again as a group of men, women and children stormed the gates of the Cornish Idyll Second-Home Estate. "We used to live here," their spokesman noted. "Then we lost our jobs. After the UK left the EU, the cod wars started, and our fishing fleet was blocked out of the North Atlantic fisheries. Most of us aren't fishermen. Most of us had other jobs, but it was the healthy fisheries that made the economy work at all. When that failed, we couldn't pay for our homes, and they were repossessed by the banks."

Ferguslie, Scotland, UK's most deprived area 2105

He began to cry. "They're gone now. These homes you see through the fence? They're new. Built when Bovine Homes knocked ours down. There used to be about 100 homes here. Now there are 20. Only 20. Huge homes for small families of people who live in London most of the time." The man walked away, picked up a hand-made sign and a rock, and then put the rock down. "Don't do no good,' he said, "breaking their windows. They just buy more, and maybe we get arrested...which doesn't even get you a square meal anymore."

The protestors were mainly peaceful. Possibly they were recalling their previous protest when six members were taken to jail and died there. It was a tragedy. No one could have known, the Police Commissioner said, that all six required decent food to live, that most were suffering diabetes since they had had to subsist the past few years on whatever low-quality carbohydrates they could find. Since the jails had filled up so much, she had instituted a regime of basic nutrition, bread and water, unless additional food could be supplied by the families. 

An exit from the European Union is set to bring this back to haunt us all. The Sunday Times 

In the case of these six adults, their spouses had died and their children could not supply any additional food. The Police Commissioner issued an apology. She said that trials would be swifter in future so that those arrested might live at least until they were sentenced even if their family could not supply food.

When we arrived, the police had got all the protestors either moved away or shoved off. However, two of them had collapsed and had been taken to the holding building next to the former hospital A&E. "We can't take them inside," a spokesperson told us. "Lately, all these street people have shown up with tuberculosis, a disease we thought we had beaten. But being cold, homeless, malnourished...well, they set up the conditions and these folks are often only months from death from it. We can't have them inside where they will infect more healthy patients."

This was the 975th day of protest outside one or another Second Home estate in Cornwall. 

That's in 2015; After the job loss inevitable with leaving the EU, it will probably be more like half.

Last week, we reported on the protests in Manchester, where it is estimated more than half the population is homeless and jobless. It is difficult to know, as Mr. Farage, before he was assassinated by one of his former UKIP assistants who had lost her home, had built a towering wall around the city. Entry is strictly by permit, except for the former city garbage trucks, which now made daily rounds to pick up the dead who have fallen on the street. 

"We used to just pick up homeless dogs and cats," one driver told us. "But now it's all people. The dogs and cats were all eaten several years ago." When asked if it bothered him, he said no, it had become routine. 

"Anything becomes routine, especially if you need to eat," he said. "Even this. I just go home to my tent at night, wash down my shoes and head for the showers. Often, the water is cold, but I have to get the smell of death off me somehow."

The city garbage collectors are housed in a former glamping site where the stench of their vehicles and clothing will not bother those living in upscale retreats outside the city. Hot water is sporadic, as is electricity. "I don't care much about either one," he told us. "At least I have shelter and usually food. I hear it's even worse in outlying places, like York, where there hasn't been a full day of electricity in five years. Or so I'm told. Hoboes come by here sometimes on their way south, to Cornwall, where they figure they can camp on the moors and maybe forage."

A starving child in the Ukraine, famine of 1922. Public domain.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Clowns of Brexit

European Union flag

A couple of years ago, Scotland had a referendum on whether to leave the United Kingdom. It came close to working. At the very least, it got them more home rule, the sort of thing Ireland wanted back at the turn of the last century until they finally got severed (partially, but that's another story) in 1922.

A vote to leave the EU would open that door again, and this time, the Scots would probably firmly close it on the UK. It would be a good bet that N. Ireland and Wales would follow. In short order, the domestic influence of the Crown and Parliament would be halved; the international influence of a tiny nation minus several body parts, would be diminished a lot more than that. All because of the two greedy hucksters behind Brexit.

Best to disparage Farage

The main brain trust behind the Brexit--British exit from the European Union--includes Nigel Farage, a self-proclaimed man of the people.

The people? Only if those people left investment banking, AFTER off-shoring tons of money in a trust fund, making it at least doubly untaxable in the nation he supposedly loves so much. The nation he says wastes money in EU dues, etc., that could be put to better use at home. Like where, Nige sweetie? Maybe your pocket?

Trump's brother at heart

A mover-come-lately behind is Boris Johnson, winner of the Trump-hair lookalike contest, and a non-participant until he figured out he could use the Leave campaign to attempt to gain power from his arch-rival, David Cameron. Do you want to know exactly how ludicrous this is? Cameron and Boris were unfriendly rivals at Eton. ETON. Eons ago, when they were still in short pants. 

But Boris, who claims descent from about eight European royal families, couldn't be outdone by a mere almost-commoner like Cameron. So sure, he tossed his hair into the ring on the opposite side of Cameron.

Whether you love or hate Cameron, there is one thing that is absolutely certain: he does not want to be the man who sunders the internal union of the United Kingdom. But, even though a great many of his domestic policies are wrong--he swallowed the austerity crap and hasn't barfed it up yet--he also doesn't want to see the country he leads driven to its knees by an organization it should be leading, not leaving.

Lying as a high art and decade-long proposition

But back to Boris. Boris, folks, is American. Yes, indeed. More American than Ted Cruz. Unlike Cruz, Boris Johnson was born in New York City and thereby is more American than I am. Indeed, I am not American at all since I renounced my U.S. citizenship about four years ago. At the time, I had read that Boris was mouthing off about not wanting his US citizenship and that he would shortly renounce it. So when I renounced mine--in 2011, I think--I asked the consul doing the deed if Boris had renounced his U.S. citizenship. She said she had seen neither hide nor hair of him.

Apparently, he began yapping about renouncing his US citizenship in 2006. About 18 months ago--a minimum of eight years after he said he would renounce because he wanted to prove his fidelity to the UK--the news was full of stories about his "intending" to renounce it, but wanting to circumvent the usual process; he was talking to the US ambassador about it. He said.

So has he renounced it? I can find NO information that he has. So my bet is no. He's perfectly happy to relieve Brits of their right to travel freely in the EU by pushing the Leave campaign, but he is much more reluctant to give up his own right to move to the US freely. He is, in point of fact, a blustering, two-faced, self-centered blowhard and charlatan. Or, as one of his biographers puts it, ruthless.

If your great-grandfather was Turkish....

How ruthless? One of his favourite ploys in favour of leaving the EU is to suggest that Turkey will soon become an EU member, making immigration of all sorts of Arabs a shoo in. First, it will be AT LEAST 20 years before Turkey will be considered. Second, Johnson has no problem denigrating his own ancestry. His great-grandfather was a man named Ali Kemal Bey, a Circassian-Turkish journalist. But no worries; he is not the first in his family to deny the truth, as it was one of his great-great-grandmothers who pointedly changed Boris' grandfather's Turkish name to a British one.

Johnson comes from a long line of people who deny their foreign ancestry and publicize their possible descent from royalty. Boris himself lied about his intent--at least regarding his citizenship--for a decade or more. There is something completely unsavoury about Boris Johnson; he is willing to trade on his "intent" to give up US citizenship to prove he's dedicated to the UK. 

He is not. He is dedicated to Boris Johnson, none other. 

Farage, too, speaks with a forked tongue. He's about as much the common man as I am a princess royal. 

Are these really the people you want to follow into a hell of their selfish making? A hell in which they get everything they want--your money (you don't REALLY think they mean to return any savings to the citizens, do you?), your freedom to travel, live, or retire where you like, and the integrity of your nation, which most learned observers warn would begin to unravel about half a minute after the UK took such a foolhardy step as leaving the EU.