Some EU Brexit Thoughts

EU FlagWell the Brits now seem to be on their way out of the European Union.  A lot of things still need be worked out and its probably going to be a confusing mess for those involved in the logistics of dislocation.  Maybe something will happen and they don’t end up leaving.

I do believe in the end goal of the EU or something greater but feel things have been rushed with the project.  With end goal I mean free movement of people.  Currently there are issues with this when you have open borders with counties with large income and cultural differences.  But slowly the world in coming closer together in terms of values and income.  People try to create their perfect government or society and hit set backs when they push things too quickly.  Rather long term success could be better had with a slow and steady pace of advancing ideas.

When the EU had set backs there was less lets stop and think about what just happened and more lets create an easy work around.  This was the case with the EU Constitution which failed in elections in France and Holland.  It was then quickly reformatted into the Lisbon Treaty and passed thought national parliaments.  Ireland voted on the Lisbon Treaty and it lost but then they had a re-vote a little later and it passed.  How often does that happen in elections?  The people vote wrong and then have a re-vote.  Many in the UK are already pushing for a re-vote from the vote last week.  I guess when the EU loses as in Ireland re-votes are always possible.

I have been generally sympathetic to the UK Out supporters in the In/Out debate.  Most of the issues I have with the EU are fixable.  Although these are things people have been pointing out for years and these things have not changed much for the better.  I also take issue with what I think is some hypocrisy of some from the IN side and the EU in general.

  • The Brexit side is constantly called racist yet the EU seems to be a club for majority White Christian countries.  Look at the EU map…  Now you may say Europe is Europe but could someone get away with calling anything besides the EU the “Euro Club” with similar entrance policies?
  • The EU has had a democracy deficit for years.  The elected EU parliament is more of a talking shop.  Again these complaints have been said for years and with not much changes.  Why?  Maybe because the Eurocrats lose so many elections.  Holland and France vote no on the EU constitution and then it magically becomes the Lisbon treaty and forced through.
  • EU Bureaucracy & Administration – The EU has more than a few different presidents.  Are they all needs?  The most questionable bureaucrat spending is packing up a few times a year and moving the EU Parliament from Brussels to Strasbourg.  Make sense?
  • FRENCH AGRICULTURAL Subsidies…

Brit FlagThere is just too much hypocrisy with the European leadership which causes credibility issues.  Things like when EU says they are cracking down on tax avoidance.  Yet the European commission president Jean Claude Junker when prime minister of Luxembourg was the one who set up a lot questionable tax deals.  Angela Merkel the German Chancellor  (who has the real power in the EU) likes criticizing human rights in Russia and Saudi Arabia but is the biggest buyer of Russian gas and allows German companies to sell army tanks to Saudi Arabia.

Hopefully the UK leaving will cause the Eurocrats to reflect on a few things and this all work out better down the road.  No rush needed 😉

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Montreal Mafia

montreal_-_qc_-_skylineBack in March I took a short trip to Montreal and met a few people from New York.  I mentioned to some of these guys that I read awhile back about some mafia killings in Montreal.  In New York its seems like the old Italian mafia is more of just a social club where some minor scams here and there are committed.  In Montreal there has been much more serious allegations of public corruption and attention getting killings.

Browsing Wikipedia’s list of prominent deaths recently I came across the name of Rocco Sollecito.

Rocco Sollecito, 67, was gunned down while driving a white BMW SUV in Laval on Friday morning, in what local police plainly termed a “mob hit.”

rocco-sollecitoRocco had spent some years with the Rizzuto crime family of Montreal and they have been taking a few hits recently.  Lorenzo (Skunk) Giordano was shot to death in a Montreal parking lot back in March.  The most dramatic of the killings in the last few years was the assassination of the family founder Nick Rizzuto.

NOV. 10, 2010: Nicolo Rizzuto, 86, was fatally shot by a single bullet that was fired by a sniper through the glass patio doors of his home in Montreal’s west end. The great-grandfather was killed in front of his wife and daughter

One of the main suspects of the killing of Nick was Salvatore “Sam” Calautti.  A loan collector/pizza shop owner who was himself killed three years later in Toronto.  Also around the same time as the killing of Nick Rizzuto:

Rizzuto’s grandson Nick Jr. was shot dead on a Montreal street in broad daylight last December. Rizzuto lieutenant Paolo Renda was kidnapped in May and is still missing. This summer, Agostino Cuntrera, another Rizzuto associate known as the “Seigneur” or lord of the St-Leonard borough, was gunned down with his bodyguard  in front of his warehouse.

Seems like the Rizzuto’s have been on the way out for the last couple of years…

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Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

20160616_195828I am admittedly am an extremely slow reader.  I started Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Judt in April 2014 and I am only now finishing it up.  I highly recommend the book.  The book is around 700 pages of carefully linked together facts documenting the history of Europe from 1945 until around 2000.  The books makes an effort to steer clear of any strong ideological bent and focuses on the who, what, when, where of major events of the era.

A reason I took so long to get through the book was I was constantly distracted by items from the history which caused me to stop and do some extra research on the person, place, event etc.  I just started to take some notes on things I found interesting and to look up later.  I plan on just reviewing my notes and reposing some of what I noted and links to more information on the item.  Maybe it would be a way to adsorb the information better and others might find the notes and links interesting.  I highly recommend you get a copy of the book if you find the notes/links compelling.

Introduction:Grand Illusion

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Puebla, Mexico

From 2013 Trip to Mexico.

Puebla, Mexico

Churches everywhere in this city.

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Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Mexico

The ruins of the Zapotec temple complex Monte Albán located just outside the city of Oaxaca.

Mexico 2013

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Begging with a gun in Oaxaca

From Mexico 2013:

This guy was making me nervous begging for money in the central plaza of Oaxaca with a very realistic looking toy gun.  I thought it was real for the first few seconds when he stuck it in my face with a crazy laugh.  Not sure if this guy is all mentally with it.  I could see it very likely if he did this to someone who had a real gun on with them they would shot back first and asks questions later.

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Wrong Phone Text Message…

 Cat Text editMy response to a wrong number text recently…

 

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Rob Ford & Canadian Politics

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Rob Ford 1969 – 2016

Rob Ford – I’m not sure what the great accomplishment of this Politico that makes Rob Ford one of more memorable Canadian men of government.  Memorable Canadians of government, how many are there?  I vividly remember around ten years ago a young Canadian women yelling at me saying Americans know nothing about the world around them because I mentioned a Canadian Prime Minister ( Paul Martin ) who I was told by this Canadian was never Prime Minister.  The New guy probably has better recognition among the general population than past Prime Ministers.  The new guy being the Liberal Party leader, former high school drama teacher and son of a previous Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  Prime Minister Trudeau won with a land slide victory which was much better than the Liberal Party’s  2011 election disaster.  In 2011 the Liberal Party made the huge mistake of running a Harvard professor, Michael Ignatieff was the PM pick.

Come to think of it I am a little at a loss to the reason why Canadians feel so entitled to mock American Politics as much as they do. :-/

Maybe with the United States overshadowing so much of our northern neighbor they can have some joy about getting some attention to their political scene.  It makes me think of the question is it worst to get negative attention or zero attention.

When Rob Ford was asked how he might be remembered:

“People know that I saved a lot of money, and people are going to know that I had a few personal struggles,” he said. “So you can remember it for what you want, but they’re definitely going to remember it.”

Canadian Politics….

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Oaxaca, Mexico – 2013

The historic city of Oaxaca, Mexico.

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About an 7 hour drive by bus from Mexico City.  I took this trip in December 2013.  It was a few years after some major protest in 2006.  You can see in my photos on the main square there is still a protest encampment and I am guessing that is still there today.  The demonstrations back then started with the local teachers union and then with others joining in.  Things escalated and an American photojournalist was killed.

It seems Mexico has had more controversy with teachers then most other countries.   Although the Detroit school system is currently on sick leave.   In was back in 2014 that 43 students from a teachers college disappeared after a protest and the what really happened is still questioned.  The worst scenario is the most likely scenario with the student teachers.  Also no talk of Mexico’s teachers can be without mentioning the old corrupt head of the teachers union Elba Esther Gordillo Morales. 

Oaxaca is a good city to hang out in for a few day.  Relaxing city where you can easily find some good food with live music most nights.  Politically inspired protest have died down in the last few years but could easily flair up again.  I recommend a visit.

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Oaxacan Chocolate Festival

From a night Chocolate Festival in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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Mexico City at Dusk

Some Photos from 2013 after leaving a protest in Mexico City and walking back to my hotel for the night.

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Remove Jackson: Victory!

(FILES) This file photo taken on April 29, 2015 shows an image provided by the "Women On 20's" organization festuring abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the US twenty dollar bill. Celebrated former US slave Harriet Tubman will replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 banknote, the first time an African-American has been featured on US money, a Treasury official said April 20, 2016. The decision came after the Treasury came under pressure to put a woman on a different banknote soon to be revised, the $10 bill that features the first Treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton. / AFP PHOTO / Women On 20's / Handout / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / "WOMEN ON 20'S" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS HANDOUT/AFP/Getty ImagesHarriet Tubman set replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 Bill.

 

Remove Jackson was launched on December 3, 2011 and it quickly put the gears in motion for yesterdays announcement of the removal of Andrew Jackson and replacement with Harriet Tubman.  This is the original post that started it all:

The first time Andrew Jackson came to my attention was years ago when I saw the 1950s Disney movie Davy Crockett.  In the movie, as in real life, the former frontiers man Davy Crockett puts his political career on the line to stand up to Andrew Jackson and his Indian Removal Act.    Davy would go on to lose the fight against the Indian Removal Act, lose his Congressional seat, and tell his district “you may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas”.   The Indian Removal Act ended up deporting thousands of Native Americans from the Eastern United States to Oklahoma with thousands of them dying along the way.   This came to be known as the Trail of Tears.  The Trail of Tears is one of the most embarrassing events in United States history. I always wondered why a man like Andrew Jackson would be placed so prominently on the twenty dollar bill.  After some more recent research I am still shocked.

There is a lot not to like about Andrew Jackson.  He was a major slave owner.  At one point he owned over 150 slaves.  He mutilated the bodies of dead Native Americans after the battle of Horseshoe bend.  He started a spoils system in the United States government.  But the worst crime would still be the Indian Removal Act which killed thousands and would have put Jackson on trial for crimes against humanity if it happened today.

So I have come to the conclusion that Andrew Jackson should be removed from the twenty dollar bill.  There are just too many more worthy people to have the honor.  Maybe Martin Luther King?

I have decided to form the Remove Jackson Movement!

Getting Jackson removed will certainly be a battle.  There are, believe it or not, supporters of Jackson, who conveniently overlook some disturbing parts of American history.  But the enemies of Jackson have more power then they use to.

I am currently contacting all the Indian tribes that were affected by Jackson to raise awareness of the remove Jackson movement.  I will suggest that they boycott twenty dollar bills at their casinos.  I am also starting a petition and a facebook group to show support for the remove Jackson from the twenty dollar bill cause.  I hope as many people as possible sign and join to bring more attention to the movement.  This will be a fight that I think we can win…..I hope you join me!

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Protest in Mexico City

From 2013 after I left Queretaro.

I sort of stumbled onto this protest which turned out to be a rally against the partial opening up of the Mexican oil market and breaking of Pemex’s monopoly.  I wandered around and had some interesting/sometimes heated discussions on what is best for Mexico as it related to oil and the greater Mexican economy.

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Local Boy Makes Good!

#Inspired!

Local Boy Makes Good….

  • Saw this a few months ago in the Austin American Statesman newspaper.  This is the state of local news.

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Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

From Santa Fe: August 2015

A day in the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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