Archive for the ‘England’ Category

Love-Hate about the US-Europe

I have a long post simmering where I get into some of the things I don’t like about the US. Some apply to Europe as well, but that’s easy since Europe is basically a bunch of countries which have banded together because they finally figured out trying to kill each other made no sense. Although, there are a few people who still think it does. Part of this is due to watching (wasting a couple of hours) the first two episodes of something called “Tribes of Europe”. Europe has survived serious destruction without ending up like that series.

Portrait de la contesse Fouler de Relingue

Anyway, it sort of comes down to four things: food, culture, distance, caring for cities and countryside, and transport. We could get into the Oxford comma as well, but that is francophony-anglophony. The French will eat Grandma, but prefer their lovers….

I’m not sure I should make “head” jokes, but I am very certain some of my ancestors made it through the Terror. They were able to enjoy the bals des victimes, but they exited stage right when it came to Les Mis. I’m posting the cleaned up version of coiffure à la Titus which was popular post-terror. My race memory clicked on the painting by Guérin in the Louvre.

I don’t relate to US history and always thought that the Civil War monuments commemorated the Franco-Prussian War, which was the Civil War for me. My relations fought on both sides. A direct result was that my great-great-grandfather shipped his son off to the States to avoid Bismarck’s Army. It also set off a chain reaction of events which would lead to my being born in the US. The Second World War led to my father coming to the States.

The thing is that I can get the things I like in Europe in the States/North America, and some of the things I hate about the States exist in Europe. Although, it’s hard to get something vaguely like Europe’s history in North America. People in the US prefer the myth and have done a great job of wrecking the real history, but that is changing. Just not fast enough for my taste.

Still, I would prefer Europe to the States even if there were TGVs, the cities ended at defined boundaries, and there were really cool small towns out there that had restaurants that served exciting local food. As opposed to restaurants that are exciting because everyone is carrying guns–that’s not they type of excitement I mean. I left out more obvous old settlements. Places like Cahokia and Cahawba don’t do it for me since they were ethnically cleansed from history.

I didn’t get the Hudson Valley School of Painting and the concept behind it until I spent a lot of time on the ground (can’t make a good pun of “sur-le-champ”). But no matter what the appearance is, natural resources are limited. While the Americas have been populated for millenia, the cultures that populated them have been ethnically cleansed. Or are seen as a quaint. This quotation about the “First Thanksgiving” gets to the point:

One is that history doesn’t begin for Native people until Europeans arrive. People had been in the Americas for least 12,000 years and according to some Native traditions, since the beginning of time. And having history start with the English is a way of dismissing all that. The second is that the arrival of the Mayflower is some kind of first-contact episode. It’s not. Wampanoags had a century of contact with Europeans–it was bloody and it involved slave raiding by Europeans. At least two and maybe more Wampanoags, when the Pilgrims arrived, spoke English, had already been to Europe and back and knew the very organizers of the Pilgrims’ venture.

Most poignantly, using a shared dinner as a symbol for colonialism really has it backward. No question about it, Wampanoag leader Ousamequin reached out to the English at Plymouth and wanted an alliance with them. But it’s not because he was innately friendly. It’s because his people have been decimated by an epidemic disease, and Ousamequin sees the English as an opportunity to fend off his tribal rebels. That’s not the stuff of Thanksgiving pageants. The Thanksgiving myth doesn’t address the deterioration of this relationship culminating in one of the most horrific colonial Indian wars on record, King Philip’s War, and also doesn’t address Wampanoag survival and adaptation over the centuries, which is why they’re still here, despite the odds.

I found that while looking for this clip. I saw it when I went to the Smithsonian Museum of the Native American the day my application for European residency came through. The speaker is Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche).

Unfortunately, the westward expansion of the English Colonies meant ethnic cleansing of the Native Americans.

Anyway, Paul, my family is supposed to have been there for that First Thanksgiving, but it’s a lot more difficult for a European to move back than most people realise. And changing North America for the better is tough with monied interests blocking the way.


You might not think it from reading my posts at Penigma, but Brexit is far more of an issue for me than Trump. That’s because my right of free movement and residency are going away soon. Maybe it won’t be too much of a problem since the UK is not a party to the Schengen Area.

Citizens the only people who have a right to come and go into a country under international law. Let’s toss in that the right of asylum is covered under international law to make this an aside. So, I find the whinging by “liberals” about immigrants into the US to be amusing, but that is probably due to American Exceptionalism combined with the myth that the US has “always been welcoming to immigrants”.

Not really.

But as I said, that was a bit of an aside, but related to where I am going here. Brexit is going to screw up the residency of quite a few people of both the UK and the EU member states (with the exception of Ireland, but that’s a sort of). People who have been resident under the terms of the European Union membership are going to find they have to apply for formal residency.

Somewhat of a headache due to paperwork. Toss in that some places (E.g., Belgium) can be a tax headache if you are “self-employed”. Being retired is less of a problem since most places welcome retired people if you “aren’t going to steal jobs”. In fact most places welcome people who are willing to contribute to society.

That means going through some hoops to get in. Although residency usually isn’t hard. Citizenship is another issue: especially if you don’t want to get to the border and find they won’t let you in. Or hit you with penalties as is the case in the Schengen Area. Unlike the US, some countries actually have criminal penalties for violating the immigration laws.

So, what is the Schengen Area?

It was created by treaty and includes most of Europe. It’s basically a zone that once you don’t need a passport have entered it to move around. If you are a citizen of the Schengen nations.

OTOH, Nationals from some countries need to obtain a Schengen visa in order to enter one of its member countries or travel within the area. It is a short-stay visa valid for 90 days. It also allows international transit at airports in Schengen countries.  The US and UK aren’t one of those countries, but Citizens of non-Schengen countries which are not required to have visas still have to respect the infamous 90/180 day rule.

Another point where most multiple-entry Schengen visa holders get confused, as well as the nationals of the countries that are permitted to enter Schengen visa-free. Most people think that the 180-day period starts on the day you visa becomes valid, which is not true.

Actually, the 180-day period keeps rolling. Therefore, anytime you wish to enter the Schengen, you just have to count backwards the last 180 days, and see if you have been present in the Schengen for more than 90 days throughout that period.

And you are subject to a €1200 fine if you overstay your 90 days: even if only by one day! Loads of tourists complain that they were hit with a fine for leaving a day late! There are ways to avoid be in Schengen for more than 90 days in the last 180 days by jumping between Schengen and non-Schengen countries. Thus, stay in Belgium for 90 days, then go to the UK for the 180 days.

Of course, residency makes a whole lot more sense. Toss in the Schengen rules are a headache.

But that is going to be a major fuck over caused by Brexit. One of many fuck overs caused by Brexit.

How many limes can a limey buy at a timey?

Is it illegal to buy more than one lime at a time in Britain?

It is amazing the gullibility of people in the world. It has been said that “nobody went broke underestimating the ignorance of the American people”. Perhaps, that can be said of most people.

In this case, we have a story from the Daily Mail which claims it is illegal to buy more than one lime since they can be used as weapons. In this case, a chef is told by someone in ASDA (a British Supermarket chain) that she couldn’t buy more than one lime since they can be used as weapons. The same policy also applied to lemons.

Now, the Daily Mail has pointed out that they have no obligation to be serious journalists and publish verified stories. Journalistically, it’s one step up from the Weekly World News.

Got that, the Daily Mail comes close to being a journalistically valid as a supermarket tabloid.

In the case of this story, one of the comments points out the “truth” of the matter.

keep it real….!, Cheshire. UK, 21/11/2011 18:22

This is total crap………….I work for ASDA…..the problem with the self scans….apart from being too sensitive….you can buy as many lemons and limes as you like…..but you can’t buy 2 at the same time…….the self scan system won’t let you buy 2 together….but you can scan 3 or more with no problem ……yes it’s madness….I know, but nothing to do with weapons.

So, it isn’t a legal problem, but a software glitch.

As far as I know, there is no Prohibition of Citrus Act out there.

Posted 10/12/2011 by lacithedog in Daily Mail, England, Lemon, Lemons, Lime, Limes

The Difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained by C G P Grey

I first saw this on MikeB’s blog. Since then, I’ve wanted to post it since it is pretty accurate in my opinion.

OK, the British don’t really want to ignore the Northern Irish, it’s just that we aren’t sure what to do about them. For the folks who wander around with stickers that say “26 + 6 =32”, they need to get it straight that that is the case through the European Union. To some extent, that was true prior to 1992, but European Unification has turned that into a moot point. That’s why the hard liners on both sides disliked the European Union.

Comparative Standards of Living

Microdot piqued my interest with his I see France Post:

You can play with this tool at

Posted 27/02/2011 by lacithedog in England, United Kingdom, US

This should be pretty clear, but I think some people don’t understand it…

Constitutions, or charters, are documents which set forth the structure and rules of governance. These entities ruled by constitutions can be countries or “artificial persons” (that is corporations, trusts, Companies, Unincorporated institutions, Partnerships, and so on).

That said, the US Constitution is a separate thing from the British Constution. Well, the British Constution isn’t really a document, but a set of laws. That is constitutional statutes enacted by the Parliament (E.G, House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975, Northern Ireland Act 1998, Scotland Act 1998, Government of Wales Act 1998, European Communities Act 1972 and Human Rights Act 1998) and also unwritten sources such as constitutional conventions, observation of precedents, royal prerogatives, custom and tradition, such as always holding the General Election on Thursdays.

There is no difference in legal terms between constitutional law and statutory law (i.e. law applying to any area of governance) in the English system. Both can be altered or repealed by a simple majority in Parliament. In practice, democratic governments do not use this opportunity to abolish all civil rights, which in theory they could do, but the distinction between regular and constitutional law is still somewhat arbitrary, usually depending on the traditional devotion of popular opinion to historical principles embodied in important past legislation. For example, several Acts of Parliament such as the Bill of Rights, Human Rights Act and, prior to the creation of Parliament, Magna Carta are regarded as granting fundamental rights and principles which are treated as almost constitutional.

By separating itself from England, The United States broke with English Constitutional law and created its own rules of governance. The law of the United States was originally largely derived from the common law system of English law, which was in force at the time of the Revolutionary War. The supreme law of the land, under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (VI), is the United States Constitution, as well as laws enacted by Congress, and treaties to which the U.S. is a party. The Constitution forms the basis for federal laws under the federal constitution in the United States; it circumscribes the boundaries of the jurisdiction of federal law along with the laws in the fifty U.S. states and in the territories.

The most important source of law is the United States Constitution. All other law falls under and is subordinate to that document. No law may contradict the Constitution. For example, if Congress enacts a statute that conflicts with the Constitution, the Supreme Court may find that law unconstitutional and declare it invalid. Notably, a statute does not disappear automatically merely because it has been found unconstitutional; it must be deleted by a subsequent statute. Many federal and state statutes have remained on the books for decades after they were ruled to be unconstitutional. However, under the principle of stare decisis, no sensible lower court* will enforce an unconstitutional statute, and any court that does so will be reversed by the Supreme Court. Conversely, any court that refuses to enforce a constitutional statute (where such constitutionality has been expressly established in prior cases) will risk reversal by the Supreme Court. (But who reverses the ninnies when they mess up???)

While Blackstone may have talked about rights, he knew full well they could be repealed by Parliament. This is why the language is “bear arms for their own defense, as suitable to their class and as allowed by law”. This is the way rights are treated under the English Constitution. Here today and gone tomorrow.

Again, if one uses Blackstone as a source, one knows that the right to bear arms for defence in England (and by extension the UK and other common law countries) is next to nil as well. This is because the right is “as allowed by law”. That is it is under regulation by parliament and not as absolute as the language in the Second Amendment. The Founding fathers were well aware of the tenuous nature of rights under the English system, which did not define or quantify natural rights. They believed that adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution would limit their rights to those listed in the Constitution. This is the primary reason the Ninth Amendment was included.

On June 5, 1788, Patrick Henry spoke before Virginia’s ratification convention in opposition to the Constitution: “Is it necessary for your liberty that you should abandon those great rights by the adoption of this system? Is the relinquishment of the trial by jury and the liberty of the press necessary for your liberty? Will the abandonment of your most sacred rights tend to the security of your liberty? Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings—give us that precious jewel, and you may take every thing else!”

The founders knew they were setting up a totally new and different system from the English one under the US Constitution.

Of course, as I read more about Scalia’s pretensions at “originalism”, the more I worry that he is willing to destroy rights willy nilly in the common law fashion. Sod the fact the US Constitution is a written document: he’ll tear it up.

But, I would prefer for my elected officials to do that. There is a reason that Royalty and nobility are unconstitutional.

Unless, of course, I am calling the shots here!

* On the other hand, a non-sensical supreme court can do whatever it wishes until whapped over the head.