Tag Archives: USA

Spider season

The first hint of Fall, or Autumn as we expatriates call it, always brings the wolf spiders indoors. A shriek yesterday morning alerted me to the first of these annoying eight legged interlopers when one was found poised perkily on the coverlet. Using the old jar and card trick, which goes like this, to the feminine chorus of “Don’t kill it! Nooo, get rid of it! Bill! Do it now!” Using a piece of card and a sufficiently large jar or glass, put jar over offending creature, slide card underneath affronted arachnid and carry to window or door and eject summarily. I found said dreaded wee beastie’s brother (Or sister, with spiders it’s hard to tell. Is there such a profession as ‘Spider sexer’?) in the tumble drier this morning and decided to deploy the heavy artillery, otherwise known as the vacuum cleaner, which is the nuclear option as far as spiders are concerned. Those that learn to keep out of the way of humans live, those that don’t, die. This is the way of things since Mrs Ug first screamed at Mr Ug to get rid of this horrifying half inch nightmare from their cave. You’d think that after the last couple of hundred thousand years of evolution the spiders would get the hint that humans are bad news, but no. Hi-ho.

Spider season is a little earlier by my reckoning this year and betokens a cold winter even though locally we’re having a run of sunny days with only a few showers. Normally they don’t start infiltrating households in any numbers until October. At least in these latitudes. A couple of our local species are known to pack a nasty nip, so instead of meandering around the office and apartment in bare feet as I usually do, I’ve elected to put my socks on. Just in case.

And speaking of those human web lie-spinners and purveyors of influence, the Clintons, I see the lamestream is finally owning up to the fact that Hilary Clinton is most definitely ill, no it’s not just a temporary sniffle because you don’t ‘fit’ during a faint or bout of pneumonia unless you’ve got something else pretty serious going on. Now here’s an interesting medical fact; the coughing is a known side effect of certain blood pressure medication, which, knowing that she has a family history of strokes and previous TIA‘s, it’s not a total wild guess to say she may be taking something like Ramipril. Which also might account for some of the fainting and spasms observed. She’s had TIA’s before, so I have a strong suspicion that she’s on quite a high dose to prevent another incidence. It would fit in with the prescription of Coumadin she’s been known to be on. Which would account for more or less all of her observed symptoms. The fainting and fitting, ‘zoning out’ and episodes of imbalance, not to mention the coughing fits. An adverse drug reaction would also account for the fast ‘recoveries’ as the dosages are altered. Well done Bill. Mystery solved.

Anyway, that’s besides the point. Eldest is due in under a week, the freezer is full, and we’re turning the apartment upside down in order to rearrange for her coming royal visit before she heads off to Oz. Brother in law is much better, and currently recuperating in France. Despite the spiders, life could be a lot worse.

The randomness of existence

Illness in our little clan has reared its head once more, with eldest having a close brush with Malaria two weeks shy of her Australian residential / work permit medical. Brother in law looks to be on the mend, although post-op he’s looking a bit tattered and torn. This has also been a frustrating time because Mrs S and I have debated flying off to Africa on a rescue mission, but then deciding we’d be as much good as a chocolate teapot, because the medics at the hospital in question gave Eldest the most up to date treatment for the Malaria parasite, which has now been purged from her system. Like brother in law, she’s looking a bit worse for wear when we talk to her on Skype, but give her another forty eight hours and she’s going to be fine. Brother in law will take a bit longer because his condition was a direct hit on his lymphatic system. However, he is too robust and will recover quickly because if I know him, it would take a small thermonuclear device to put him down. This is good, because his Australian immigration medical is scheduled for November I think, and he and my other sister in law have worked too hard to fall at the final hurdle.

What else? I managed to piss off junior sister in law this weekend because I gave brother in law a small bag of birthday goodies we’d picked up in our trans american travels. She’d have been just as pissed off at me if I hadn’t, but I’ve learned that as far as she’s concerned, I’m always in a lose-lose scenario. Apparently I’m to blame for everything from her older sister, Mrs S, not calling her precisely on time because junior sister in law has such a busy schedule and never answers the phone herself anyway. Or some other minor inconvenience because I had the temerity to marry into ‘her’ family. Not middle class enough I think. Or as one of my cousins remarked, having met her briefly when Mrs S and I got married. “Lady Muck.”

At home I’m trying to steer clear on the subject of the US Presidential elections because although I’m not necessarily pro-Trump, I just feel he’s a much better bet than Clinton. While Mrs S disagrees, having swallowed the narrative being fed to the public via the lamestream. Why do I feel this way? Because I’m betting that Clinton will be no better than Obama, whose presidency now looks like it will only leave scorched earth behind it. Clinton, from what I can see is in hock to special interests and overseas influences as well as the big dark question mark over FBI investigations (It’s not just the emails, folks) and what seems to be a serious health problem that will directly impact on her ability to adequately fulfil the role of US President. Anyone remember the premise of Ivan Reitman’s amusing political fantasy movie ‘Dave‘? Where a cynical and corrupt US President (Republican of course) is replaced with an underachieving lookalike after suffering a massive stroke, who ironically turns out to be a better president than the real deal.

Yet could life end up mimicking art? Because I still think Clinton will win the Presidency because she’s bought and sold. Every dirty trick in the electoral book will be brought to bear upon her behalf, and like the scheming fictional Queen Cersei the throne of the west will be hers.

Although I hope she won’t win the election because instead of representing the US population, she only represents her own interests and those of big business and foreign donors. It seems that this is not an opinion that is uncommon. As I’ve said before, we toured through twenty three States on our big US road trip in May and June, and saw plenty of support for all the other hopefuls, but not one lawn sign, bumper sticker, banner or advertisement supporting Clinton. Most of the overt support we saw was for Bernie Sanders, with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz banners coming in second. There was even a John Kasich billboard up in Utah, but nary a one for Clinton. Which tells me one thing; popular support won’t win this election. Big money will. Just like for Bush and Obama.

Anyway. More important things have been done, like getting my recipe for dry garlic salt and peppered pork ribs right. It’s so easy it’s ridiculous. A pound of frozen pork back ribs. Rub with a lick of Olive Oil. Sprinkle with salt and garlic powder to taste. Give it a quick rub, sprinkle with black pepper, set the oven at about 325-350 Fahrenheit (Gas Mark 3 or 180 Celsius). Stick the rack of ribs in a roasting pan, put in oven and leave for ninety five minutes. Switch oven off after time is up. Remove ribs and leave out to cool. Or if you’re feeling brave, eat while they’re piping hot. “Do not change this recipe. It’s evil.” Says Mrs S.

Well, far be it from me…. Good or bad it’s all part of the randomness of existence.

Hmm…

A lot of stories are bubbling under the surface about the Clinton campaign south of the 49th parallel. Concerns have been voiced about a possible stroke risk to the candidate in question, especially in light of the public ‘symptoms’ which include repetitive coughing, occasional stumbles and small changes in facial appearance. Then there’s the prescription of blood thinning medicine Coumadin – might be something, might be nothing, US Doctors prescribe heavy duty medication at the drop of a Stethoscope. The other stories concern the deaths of those who have been associated with that family and their business over the last three decades, which at the very least do seem statistically anomalous. From the rather convenient deaths of key witnesses over Whitewater and the known murders of people reputed to have witnessed certain drug deals to the latest 2016 tranche of demises.

Now by comparison I’ve lost most of my old friends through one cause or another, and we led a very robust lifestyle. Most of my close old mates died in drink drive incidents, SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You) RTA’s (Collisions), dumb accidents (Getting paralytically drunk and falling into a frozen canal), with only two by actual suicide and none by murder. Four have succumbed to various cancers and medical conditions around the big five-oh. With a few of us still soldiering on man (and woman) fully with only the occasional health glitch. So the number of violent deaths of people associated with the Clintons over the past three decades do seem to stand out, at the very least, as being frightfully unlucky. At least in comparison to the US Actuarial life table.

However (Adjusts tinfoil hat), if the deaths are proven to have a suspicious conspiracy element, I’m minded to think that no major criminal mastermind has time to fuss with all that detail, all they have to do is give a well timed shake of the head, laboured sigh or loaded sidelong glance at an article and their minions do the rest. These bosses delegate all the tedious details, and just like in any other major organisation, trust their subordinates to do what they think they’re told. Off the record, of course. Like a certain meeting at Phoenix Arizona airport’s tarmac with the U.S. Attorney General and the FBI, where no recording devices were allowed. Where the conversation was about about ‘golf and general social chit-chat’? Mm-hm.

Which is all rather academic if you’re the poor sod who ends up dead of an ‘overdose'(Shawn Lucas Died 2 August 2016, awaiting autopsy report), shot in the back during a ‘robbery’ (Seth Conrad Rich. Died 6 July 2016), a crushed throat reported as an untimely heart attack (John Ashe. Died: June 22, 2016), murdered at her home in Honduras (Berta Caceres. Died: March 3, 2016) or does a header under a London Tube Train (John Jones QC. Died: 21 April 2016) is just a casualty. If these people had even the most tenuous links to the Republican presidential campaign, the lamestream would be all over it like a cheap suit.

Then there’s Joe Montano, ex DNC chief who died Aged 47 of a ‘massive heart attack’ July 25, 2016. Not to mention anti-Clinton writer Victor Thorn, who ate a bullet on August 1 2016. Which is a lot of people dying in a relatively short time frame with one common denominator. That’s a lot of coincidences in just over two months. Not that any evidence of a connection between these latest deaths or anyone associated with the Clinton Foundation will be found of course. Well, naturally. But if I had any links to their dealings I’d make damned sure my life insurance was up to date and my affairs were in order.

And people keep telling me that Donald Trump is ‘dangerous’? Well, maybe some of his public statements are ill considered, poorly presented or appear rash, but at least people who have done business with him and his companies don’t seem to die in suspiciously violent circumstances.

Update for clarification: assertions that Hilary Clinton is suffering from Parkinsons disease have been mooted, which are plainly quite ridiculous. The early onset symptoms of Parkinsons are quite unmistakable, and having carefully watched recent videos of her moving around a stage with the sound turned off, have seen nothing to justify such a remote diagnosis. No stoop, no pin rolling gestures, no visible tremors which generally precede ‘freezing’ of thought or motion. Far more likely is a Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA, or mini stroke) or the obscure but debilitating Subcortical Vascular Dementia ( Subcortical Arteriosclerotic Encephalopathy) or Binswanger’s Disease, either of which are a better fit with her observed lapses and coincide with a known family history of strokes. Could be wrong, but the reports of blood thinners being prescribed would rule out Parkinsons because the treatment for that is Levdopa and perhaps some form of anticholinergic drug.

How to eat an Elephant

Vaudeville comic. “I say, I say, I say! Have you seen my Elephant?”
Straight man. “I didn’t know you had one. Why do you have an Elephant? Is it a pet? Or are you just bragging?”
Vaudeville comic. “No, my dear chap, it’s for my lunch.”
Straight man. “Good god man, you must be hungry.”
Vaudeville comic. “I am. I am. Have you seen it?”
Straight man. “No good sir, but you’ve piqued my curiosity. How on Earth do you go about eating an Elephant?”
Vaudeville comic. “One slice at a time!” Ba-Boom!
Catch and eat elephant
Yerss… wellll. I’ve done it again. The realisation has sunk in that I’ve let my wife talk me into another mammoth (Groan. I know, I’ll get me coat) undertaking (Groan again) The Elephant in question is this three month European motorcycle tour for 2017. Mrs S as usual is dropping a good deal of the research in my lap and then when I’m just about to hit ‘Book’ on the accommodation booking site wants to take an entirely different route altogether. Also known as the “Oh Bill.” Manoeuvre. Which always leaves me with the sensation I’m following the Mrs Beaton recipe for Elephant a la Tanganyika (Serves 500), which not only requires half a tonne of star fruit and oranges for the sauce, but begins ‘first catch your elephant’.

Now the maps have arrived I’m reminded of the first round Europe tour we did on two wheels, which was a titch by comparison yet still took up slightly over three thousand miles in three weeks on my old 900ST. This version will be taking us almost three times as far in three months. Which is a much different ball game.

However, today I just saved myself well over three thousand dollars which is a little less Heffalump to scarf down. Let me explain. Touring motorcycles, even big ones like a 1215 Trophy, BMW KL1200T, Honda Gold Wing or ST1300 Pan European have a finite luggage carrying capacity. One of the solutions to improve the carrying capacity is to fit a tow bar and tow a small trailer. But these things, while popular in Germany and over here in North America, are expensive and leave rider and pillion vulnerable to people who are not particularly switched on. Here in North America, where on some roads you can go an hour without seeing another vehicle this isn’t a problem. In crowded old Europe it’s just more bike to be hit.

The saving comes from digging out my old water resistant ripstop nylon thirty inch duffel bag which will bungee and cargo strap neatly onto the rear top box platform of the Trophy whilst giving us at least thirty kilo’s of extra luggage capacity. It also gets us round several logistical concerns, like whether Air Canada will treat such a trailer as a separate vehicle and charge me another three thousand dollars on top of what I’ll already be coughing up for the air fares. Then there’s parking, overnight storage and security in the less secure environments we may find ourselves passing through. Better a single bag I can sling over my shoulder, Mrs S can take the electronics in my old weatherproof Belstaff backpack and I still have a bolt cutter resistant wheel lock and cable. I’ll spend some of the money I’ve saved by purchasing a proper tank bag and cover.

Overall this little epiphany may end up cutting at least five thousand dollars off my original trip budget, possibly even as much as seven. Which is money that can be put to other uses like upscale accommodation, and nicer country restaurants who don’t bat an eyelid at people who amble in from the car park wearing full motorcycle gear. Any of you who were alive and riding in the 1970’s and 80’s will recall the many ‘No Biker’ signs around every pub in the UK. Contrariwise, I have found continental Europe blessedly free of such blind prejudice.

The one dark spot on the horizon is a household disagreement over the current state of US politics. Mrs S thinks Hilary Clinton should be the next president of the USA, mainly because she’s female and a veteran politician. My view is that if I had a vote it would be for anyone but Hilary Clinton, precisely because she is a ‘veteran politician’, and thus part of the problem not the solution. She may have a ‘track record’ but so has a horse that’s run a lot of races and consistently come last. As an observation; during our road trip around the US, and latterly when we spent our last long weekend north of Seattle we saw lots of Bernie Sanders bumper stickers and lawn signs and quite a number for Donald Trump, even a few for Barack Obama, but absolutely no visible support for Hilary Clinton anywhere. From Washington State down through California and across to South Carolina. We saw no bumper stickers, lawn signs, billboards or anything. Well, perhaps her campaign has been pacing itself, or they were hiding off the main Interstates, but I’m not convinced.

Anyway, that’s someone else’s Elephant to eat. Hope they brought plenty of mustard and a bakery load of bread.

Trump card

Now that Donald J Trump is officially the Republican Presidential nominee I expect to keep hearing even more stories about people from south of the border (and I don’t mean Mexicans) threatening to move to Canada should he become President of the USA. Trust me chaps, it’s a bad idea. Honestly, as this cartoon by the irrepressible XKCD points out. Our Winters can get a bit brutal, especially in the Rockies and Eastbound. Which is why most of us prefer to snuggle up close to the 49th Parallel or thereabouts. Even here in the comparatively mild Maritime climate of the Pacific Northwest it can get decidedly chilly. Especially Campbell River and north.

Dont move to canada To begin with, north of the 49th parallel we do not enjoy the same diversity of goods as in the US of A. Grocery stores do not stock wine or even lite beer. Did I also mention it’s more expensive to live up here as well? Food and rent prices are generally higher, and property costs more to buy, even with the current exchange rate. A lot of places close on public holidays as well as Sundays and Mondays and Wal-Mart is no longer taking VISA payments in some of its stores. And if you want to shop at Target instead… oh, wait. You can’t. They’re all shut. Permanently. Then there’s the bears. Who aren’t to be messed with, even in the suburbs of Vancouver. They’re are also known to break into cars (To be fair, it was a Lexus). On the plus side, the wildlife does tend to keep the human varmints indoors, when they’re not indulging in the odd gang shooting (The gang bangers, not the Bears or Cougars). Which keeps our local Police busy. Yes, and Marijuana isn’t fully legal just yet. So before you sell up and fill up the U-Haul, take a deep breath.

Then there’s the Governance. It’s a bit more, well, intrusive if you know what I mean. Especially at the local scale. We might currently have a progressive prime minister, but no, Canada is not the progressive paradise you might think it is. Trudeau or no.

Don’t even mention the First Nations land claims or the endless prevaricating over relatively simple decisions like building a new sewage treatment facility for BC’s provincial capital. Or that our Provincial Prime Minister avoids coming to Victoria as much as possible because there’s “No real people” here (Which I find a bit insulting). Dear me no. A can of worms? More like truckloads. It’s why things move at a slower pace up here in the not so frozen north. Especially immigration.

However, we like it, but for Americans some of our more, ahem, eccentric practices might be too much of an an acquired taste. So are you damn Yankees absolutely sure you’re going to head north if, or more likely when, Donald Trump becomes the next US President?

What he said

Read this article penned (or rather keyed) by the ever logical Mr Willis Eschenbach over at Wattsupwithat.com. Which is a fine analysis of exactly how many people get killed by the Police in the USA and more to the point, why. It makes interesting reading. Especially the information that two ‘white’ people die in Police related incidents for every single ‘black’ or African American. That’s right, double the deaths that the BLM activists are all worked up about. Not percentages, but actual cold hard numbers.

Back in my foot patrol days I recall a conversation with my old beat buddy Asif. It’s still clear in my memory even ten years on. We were bitching about the job, and what we were thinking of doing with our lives instead of pounding pavement, collecting abuse and blisters for the sake of parking tickets. I suggested to him that he might make a first class dog handler in the Police Force. Seriously, never met a better man with animals. He loved dogs (Especially German Shepherds) and would have been brilliant at it. Asif, as his pseudonym implies, is not ‘white’. Lovely bloke, but his own worst enemy.
He demurred, responding; “Yeah, but the Police beat up black people.”
To which I half-jokingly replied; “The Police beat up everybody. It’s their job.”
To my shame I was never able to convince him otherwise. He had this peer group driven belief that the Police arrested by skin colour alone instead of criminal behaviour and nothing would shift it. Sad really.

On a more serious note, I think there’s traction here for the various Police Unions in the USA to start some class action lawsuits against media and other organisations that exaggerate and twist the facts over Police related deaths. The proceeds from which should pay the college funds for the dependants of officers killed in the line of duty because of such propaganda. Hey, Gloogle, Farcebook and Twatter have billions. Maybe they should form a financial trust for the families of officers killed in the line of duty, seeing as it’s their platforms that are used to transmit much of the anti-Police rhetoric.

Just general stuff

Well that’s the beginning of our next big trip sorted out. Two new touring jackets and helmets, body armour etc. Matching his and hers ordered. Pricey, but I’ve got the money having made a good deal over the weekend, despite being out of the country. After that I pulled my assets out of stocks and shares because I’m concerned the US market may be close to peak, and don’t fancy losing all my gains if there’s a Wall Street Crash event while I’m busy elsewhere. So, a little profit taking has been done, and I’m standing back for a moment to catch my breath and see what’s going on in the background.

One of the people I’ve begun listening to a lot is Mark Blyth (See sample talk below)

He actually seems to have his finger on the pulse, talking clearly and concisely about macroeconomic matters and their consequences. He’s rational, logical, amusing, down to earth and makes an otherwise difficult topic, so often clouded with politically motivated bamboozlement by the doctrinaire, sound so simple. Save, don’t save, export, trade balances, assets, liabilities he covers a great swath of the worlds economic ills and their root causes. One to follow.

crow and half mastSo, we’re back from the northwestern USA, having seen a lot of flags flying at half mast in memory of the five murdered Dallas Police officers. Every Police station, city hall, fire department and quite a few businesses we saw were flying the stars and stripes thus. Which leads me into a puzzlement. How does whipping up others to kill Policemen advance the cause of the BLM activists? That’s a completely counter intuitive strategy, rather like fucking to increase virginity. Add to that the knowledge that a good many of the class warriors stirring things up are northern European in appearance. In short, what we used to call ‘rent-a-mob’. Turning up at any protest to scream and shout mainly because it gives their miserable lives a perverse sort of meaning.

Not that we saw much of their antics. Near the place we spent last weekend, we observed a great many people blundering around peering intently at their dumbphone screens, headphones on, almost oblivious to the outside world. Apparently many are engrossed in an online game called ‘Pokemon Go‘. Even to the point of playing while driving. Which may qualify them for a Darwin award. One man in New York state is known to have wrapped his car around a tree while playing (I’m surprised he’s the only one reported thus). Stories are emerging of players wandering aimlessly into busy traffic and various Police forces have issued safety warnings. There have been no reported fatalities as yet, but it’s early days. The shallow end of the gene pool always gets emptied first.

As for the Nice attack, words fail me. Well, apart from thinking how pointless it was. Like with Paris last year, we’re not changing next years travel plans for it.

Gosh, is that my cynicism? I was wondering where I’d left it.

I wish….

A plague of flies has briefly infested the homestead, and I’ve been picking dozens of bluebottle corpses out of everywhere this morning. The fly spray and paper have done their work and I’m picking up the fallout. As usual.

I’m also a little melancholy having taken in the news of the Brexit vote. Not that I think it’s not a result for those who want a proper say in how their country is run, because it is. I’m sad because a man I used to correspond with is not here to see it. Not sure what happened, only that he died in April last year.

We shared a lot of ideological ground, he and I, believing that people own themselves, and that relentless officialdom, no matter how well intentioned, often does more good than harm. He was a firm believer in common law and common decency, even if he liked to butt heads with authority rather than subvert.

It seems that a lot of people all over the world have had enough with the status quo. Iceland, in a result overshadowed by the Brexit vote and footie results, has installed an Independent in the President’s chair after kicking out the mainstream incumbent over a corruption scandal. In the USA, Donald Trump is overturning the political apple cart. Backed by those disenfranchised by a politics disconnected from the day to day. By ordinary people frustrated with helplessness against massive bureaucracy, having their privacy invaded at will and feeling that they can’t win against the forces of perverse conformity who are now speaking out and voting. They’re angry at so called ‘anti-fascists’ who are bigger fascists than the people they’re mad at, physically attacking people in the street with seeming impunity. Sick of being insulted online and off by these purveyors of poisonous doctrines simply for voicing a concern, however mildly. Well here’s the pushback. A true blue-collar revolution has the underdogs out of their kennels, teeth bared and snarling against the soft fascism sanctioned by self concerned political elites supported by a dishonest mainstream media.

As an aside; Mrs S is currently doing an online course about the EU with Barcelona University, and she’s looking at me with new respect. “You were right about it all along, Bill.” She said over breakfast this morning. “I’ve just been reading up on the misleading language in publicly available EU documents, and it’s really opened my eyes.” Frankly I’ve been sceptical about the EU for some time, but everything she’s fielded to me has confirmed that the EU is being run for the sake of vested interests and political cronies and bugger the rest of us. You know what’s crazy? All the evidence has always been out there in plain sight. All you need to do is read the treaties and documents carefully. Or have a high priced lawyer do it. But not many can afford the legal expertise necessary. Ergo the EU Commissars and friends been getting away with it. For years.

Sargon of Akkad has an intelligent view of things on his latest ‘Week in Stupid’ video.

Now the whole EU house of cards is looking like the hollow shell I’ve often suspected that it is. And I’m not the only one. The penny is dropping rapidly all over the world. Eyes are being opened and they don’t like what they see. It’s not just the UK, the whole globalist structure is in the spotlight. Not from journalists who need to trade favours for access, but from the common and uncommon man (Or woman) who has nothing to lose but his chains.

We live in interesting times. Somehow I think Ranty as his uncommon self would have approved. I just wish he’d lived to see it.

On a happier note; I’ve finally decided what my next motorcycle is going to be. One of these. I don’t care if I’ll need a Visa to cross European borders or not. That’s just a detail, and Mrs S and I are good at details.

Who said that….

” I think it will take a nonpolitician to break the logjam. Somebody with a big-picture outlook. “

I wonder who said that back in 2000? Hmmm.

First to answer doesn’t get a prize for being a smartass. I wouldn’t like to be around to argue with the mildly scary guys who are volunteering to do extra security for his supporters either. Oddly enough, I’ve seen rent-a-mobs fade away from such a robust response. Well, they don’t want their asses handed to them on a plate. It’s why vegan activists generally don’t throw things at big guys wearing lots of leather.

Gosh, this looks like it’s going to be fun.

That Brexit business

I’ve been reading some interesting history about the causes of the American Civil war recently, with more in depth contemporary sources from both sides of the Atlantic. Civil war Bill? Isn’t this post title about the UK leaving the EU? Okay, bear with me. All will become crystal in due course.

Now the US Civil War was fought over slavery, right? That’s what we’re taught in school. Erm… wrong! It began because of taxation. Ever hear of a thing called the Morrill Tariff? Those guys in Fort Sumter that got fired upon, kicking the whole thing off? Tax collectors, there to ensure the collection of said Washington imposed Tariff, which hiked internal Federal import duties for the Southern states from 20 to 47%. Yikes! Much to the annoyance of the Southern states and also the British, who were a major trading partner at the time.

Journalist and anti-slavery campaigner Charles Dickens (Yes, that Charles Dickens) wrote a number of scathing articles criticising the imposition of this tariff increase by the US Federal Government. Which of course went down like a lead balloon with our cousins in the north-eastern USA after they’d feted him in a grand tour. Myth, is it? Don’t think so.

As an aside, I’d never really realised what a nasty piece of work old Abraham Lincoln was. He actually gave orders to instigate the war. Other secret orders followed; orders for executions of civilians. A bizarre mass execution of 38 Minnesota Indians. Carte blanche for rampaging troops to burn and pillage. He wasn’t a lover of non-whites either, preferring to ship them back to Africa and suchlike after the war. Slaves might be freed by the Civil War, but they were definitely unwanted by the North.

As a history buff, I’m often amused by the way people keep on trying the same old games with highly similar results. History never exactly repeats itself, but you don’t have to be a towering intellect to understand that applying the same old answers to the same old questions always ends in tears. So, I’m given to think, will be the results of the breakup of the EU.

Now here’s a scenario. Say the ‘leave’ contingent of the electorate get their way and there is a massive vote to ditch the bureaucratic monstrosity that the EU has become. The UK begins the process of leaving, to which the EU’s response is a demand for a massive ‘penalty’ payment. To which the UK, quite rightly and like the Southern states did in 1861, says “F**k *ff”. The EU then imposes punitive tariffs on exports to the UK, and for a couple of months the Brits can’t get parts for their Fiats, Peugeots, Mercedes or BMW’s for love nor money, and they have to import their wine from Chile and Argentina. Amongst other things. Until said tariffs are circumvented by the simple expedient of shifting the paper trail of European imports via Norway. Norway’s economy booms with this new trade route, much to the chagrin of the Brussels bureaucrats.
Brexit
Unless of course Brexit is the first step in other major contributing countries deciding that the EU is more trouble than it’s worth. France for one. Some of the old Warsaw pact states and of course bankrupt Greece. The whole project could fold if Germany decides it’s not going to keep the whole shebang going on its own. Which would present challenges, but also many opportunities. As well as being one in the eye for those who think that Government always knows best (It doesn’t). Who will not like it, not one little bit, and will take measures of all sorts to make life difficult for countries who want out. Up to and including bullets and bombs. A close study of history teaches us that this is so.

As for slavery? In the mid 1850’s it was an institution that was on its way out, at least in the West. Allegedly.

Now I’m fully behind the idea of the UK leaving the EU, which was sold as a free trade area, but has turned into a massive greedy bureaucratic leech. One that is bloated, well past it’s sell-by date and needs a good rinse and spin to shrink it down to size. Unfortunately, too many useless mouths have got, in the words of my forbears “Too damn cosy with other people’s money.” But they will fight tooth and nail to maintain their lives of privilege and air conditioned offices. In their eyes ‘Brexit’ is a major threat which may require force. Rather like the US Civil War.

My final word on the topic (for a given value of ‘final’) Leave, but be prepared for a fight. Just in case.