Wednesday, October 13, 2021

26+6=32, but it was much less painlful under the EU

Or EU membership as the solution to Irish Unity.

 I would put in that the European Union was the solution to the "Irish problem" in the things I would have pointed out had anyone asked me department. People either didn't realise, or just forgot, that the Good Friday Agreement wouldn't have been possible if both sides hadn't been members of the EU.

What made it possible was the right of free movement, which is the thing I like most about the EU. That means that internal borders within the European Union went away. No hard border between the UK and the Republic during the EU period.

So, the Irish could be happily Irish if thy lived in either set of the 26 or 6 counties that make up Ireland's 32 counties. They could be citizens of the UK, Ireland, or Both.

Which led to some amusing situations once the reality of Brexit set in.

Especially since both sides during the "Troubles" hated the concept of the EU. Maybe because it would make their positions untenable once the borders went away.

So, the Democratic Unionists, the group who were the most glued to the United Kingdom, and Brexit supporters, were the biggest block to Brexit. Mostly because they realised the return of a hard border meant a return to the Troubles. The amusing bit is that Ian Paisley's son told his supporters to apply for an Irish Passport. Trust me, the irony isn't lost on me.

It may be an "EU Document", but it preserves your European Union rights.

So, while the rest of us who supported remaining are scrambling to get EU citizenship, the Ulster Irish can get their Irish Passports. And keep their UK passports. Sadly, Irish Citizenship only goes back to your grandparents (unlike Italy, which will give you citizenship no matter how far back your ancestor emigrated as long as it was post-Unification).

Anyway, I have been laughing my ass off about the current Irish Situation since one of the largest contingencies for Brexit is turning out to be one of the worst problem of leaving the European Union. I only hope it serves as a warning to the other countries who are trying to break out of the EU.

Another issue for the people who pushed for Brexit is that the United Kingdom had a pretty good situation when it was last in the EU (another thing no one asked me about). I hope that any return will not be as accommodating. Again, I want to see Brexit as a lesson that the EU is here to stay.

I just hope that a hard border in Ireland doesn't mean a return to bloodshed, but one of the reasons for the EU was to end wars by removing borders between member states.

Monday, October 11, 2021

The right to life: France v Texas. (avis: ici est un peu de polémique)

 OK, this is my French homework. Those who might read my personal blog know that I am studying for the DELF level B2 French language proficiency test. This was inspired by the reportage from the France 24 evening news and Le Monde's coverage of Macron's and Badinter's speech at the Pantheon (read the other linked articles) . It's been translated, but you can read the original french version at my blog, which is linked to on the left ("Encore mes devoirs: un peu de polémique"):

The Texas Rangers take a lesson from the Gestapo.

The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, says he believes everyone has a right to life. This is fascinating since Texas has both the death penalty and the "stand your ground" law. Self-defence laws change the concept of self-defence to depend on the subjective fear of the person invoking this legal defence. In contrast, Emmanuel Macron wants to "relaunch the fight for the universal abolition" of the death penalty, which he announced in a speech made at the Pantheon to mark the 40th anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty in France. There is a clear difference between the attitude towards the right to life in Texas and in France. 

The Texas government seems to believe that the death penalty is effective in preventing crime: even extrajudicial killings. But is the death penalty effective in preventing crime? One of Britain's former executioners, Albert Pierrepoint, disagrees. He said: "It didn't deter them then and it didn't deter them when they committed what they were convicted of. All the men and women I faced at that final moment convince me that in what I did, I did not prevent a single murder...". Robert Badinter, the former Minister of Justice who led the repeal of the use of death Penalty in France in 1981, agrees with "absolute conviction: the death penalty is doomed to disappear in the world because it is a disgrace for humanity. It does not defend society, it dishonours it (...). Long live universal abolition! 

One moves from criminal justice issues to health issues when linking the right to life to family planning choices. Instead, Texas chose to remake Claude Chabrol's Une Affaire des femmes. It is a story set during the German occupation of France. It is based on the true story of Marie-Louise Giraud, one of the last women guillotined in France. Madame Giraud's crime was to provide abortions to poor women in France. The Texas law may not be so extreme, but the effect is the same: it is the poor who will be affected by this law. Wealthy women will be able to go to places where abortion is legal, which is not an option for the poor. 

The abortion providers for the poor would be women like Ms. Giraud, not medical professionals, but women who want to help other women. I have to wonder if Texas really understands what a criminal justice system should do? Does it seek justice or revenge?

 Maybe not too far out:

Hey, I could have gone on a lot longer if I had the time. I would really pass the examination if I could crank out something like this during the exam!

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Of course, Brexit is a failure

The best way to explain Brexit is to point out that  the European Union had the right of free movement. That is the Union allowed someone from one member state the ability to move from one member state to another. So, if someone was a UK citizen, the could move to any other member state. In addition, they would retain the benefits of their home country (sort of).

The UK retiree who wanted to move to France, Spain, or some other EU member state could do so with a minimum level of BS.  This is the same as someone who lived in Michigan could move to Florida or California.

Brexit removed Britain from the European Union, which took it out of the regime of free movement. In other words, it re-established the pre-EU membership border between the UK and the European Union member states. In terms of the US,(or another Federated State such as Canada or Australia) that would be the same as suddenly setting up a hard border between one state and the rest similar to what exists now between the US and Canada, or the US and Mexico. 

What was once a "quick commute" has returned to being a wait to be processed at the border. And this wait also goes for goods and services. Imagine how it would be if a hard border with customs and immigration bureaucracy appeared between US states. You sort of have the idea if you traveled between the US and Canada after the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which was introduced in 2004 by the U.S. government to strengthen U.S. border security and standardize travel documentation. Now, one requires a passport to travel between the two nations.

The tyranny of "Brussels", which is silly. Especially if you consider that UKIP leader Nigel Farage was a member of the European Parliament.  Additionally, one of the reason for the European Union "dictation" of laws was to make commerce flow easily by harmonising laws.

Sadly, I am European, not British, if I have to choose. And I will happily put up with any bureaucracy I have to to keep my European Citizenship. I would prefer the minimum level of bureaucracy, but that isn't my choice anymore.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Systemic racism if Black Lives Really Matter...

 I mentioned the Senegalese Series "Wara" on my blog. It's about corruption in a fictional Senegalese city of Tanasanga. While the show is fictional, I think the portrait of African society is pretty realistic.

I mentioned this quote in another post:

It’s a cheap shot to blame Jamaica’s economic malaise entirely on the evil white bogeyman when successive post-independence administrations have overseen an economy with annual growth of less than 1% for the past four decades and a currency in freefall. Social dysfunction is rife, with murders ballooning 20% so far this year and youth unemployment nearing 40%. 

Jamaica – and the wider anglophone Caribbean – must come to terms with the inconvenient truth that, though the British slave masters were barbarous, when polled a couple of years ago the majority of Jamaicans said the country would have been better off if it had remained a UK colony. That indictment lies at the feet of Jamaica’s black governing class.

While it's great to pound on the  "Western, "White", "Imperialist" bogeyman, is it really fair to do so when the post-Colonial/racist societies still have problems? As I have pointed out frequently, how can one say the system is racist if "people of colour" are  a part of that system While some blacks like to call themselves "African-Americans" they are about as much "European" as the average "white" American is (not at all/pas de tout).

What's lost in this nonsense is the history of Liberia:

Liberia began in the early 19th century as a project of the American Colonization Society (ACS), which believed black people would face better chances for freedom and prosperity in Africa than in the United States. Between 1822 and the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, more than 15,000 freed and free-born people of color who faced social and legal oppression in the U.S., along with 3,198 Afro-Caribbeans, relocated to Liberia.

So, there is (was) a place for slaves to go to in Africa however this is yet another bit of the puzzle that is left out of the "critical race theory" nonsense. Maybe because the CIA Factbook describes Liberia as:

Liberia is a low-income country that relies heavily on foreign assistance and remittances from the diaspora. It is richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture. Its principal exports are iron ore, rubber, diamonds, and gold.

The thing is that places like Liberia aren't the only African Countries with post-Colonial Societies that are resource rich, but poor as heck. The Democratic republic of Congo comes to mind.

Anyway, my opinion is that Wara is pretty typical of what African Societies happen to be like, which is why there aren't a lot of African Americans who want to really go back. it's also why it's hard to blame "systemic racism" when blacks are a part of the system.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Fesses de Bouc (Facebook) goes "offline".


'm not sure how much of a Luddite I happen to be, but I have been complaining about social media and surveillance capitalism for a while. One of the reasons I like Europe more than the States is that the EU and European Commission have been strict with the tech giants for a while. Not as much as I might like, but still far stricter than the US government has.

There are a lot of reasons to celebrate this blackout in that it shines a light on how stable tech companies actually happen to be. Personally, I am far more of a believer in "open-source" software than having the control of the operating systems in the hands of tech giants. Sadly, the "digital revolution" kept the monopolies and made more of them instead of having a diversified economy.

And while I like Ubuntu/Linux far more than "legacy" OSs, I now use Apple. But Apple is like the drug dealer which offers you a taste to get you hooked. Sadly, they take over your system. Apple wants to control my music. They now also want me to use their cloud.

The problem is that I want control of my data, not to give it to some faceless corporation which does whatever it wants with that data. Amazon is far more sinister than you realise, as is Facebook. These companies use of data has put them into conflict with the European Commission. Margarethe Vestager's attitude to the tech giants has put her indirect conflict with the US and China.

The US is looking into regulating big tech, but like most everything else in US politics, the action is too little way too late. Maybe the blackout at Facebook will shine a light on this problem.