The Three Amigos Bro Out

In the wake of all the world political gaffs lately, it’s nice to see some pleasantries being exchanged for once. The three leaders of the nations representing North America met yesterday, in what was dubbed the ‘Three Amigos Summit’. This meeting included Barack Obama, the President of the United States, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, and of course, our own Justin Trudeau. They took photos, shook hands, made small talk, and talked about the three nations.

Three-Amigos

‘Alright, now I want you both to spin me around’¹

They talked about a number of issues, most of the issues were things they could all agree on, relatively. First was climate change. They all want to push for 50 percent of electrical energy to come from clean sources, and they’ve set the target date for 2025, which is less than a decade away. Trade was another hot topic. As the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is currently stalled, they are continuing to renegotiate the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), mostly to adjust for current economic instability. Border control is going to change as well, as the three countries are working on the NEXUS (I can’t actually find what this acronym stands for, or even if it is an acronym) system, which would allow frequent, low risk travellers privileges to cross the borders. A big topic was human rights, most notably towards the LGBTQ community, as well as indigenous women in all three countries.

So I’m awfully glad they sat down to have a yap over whatever they happened to be serving at Parliament Hill. Some big topics came up, Obama gave a nice speech calling Canadians his besties, I’m certain there was a couple of fist bumps and high fives, and maybe, behind the scenes, they had a couple of beers and tequila shots and lamented about how being the leader of the nation was a pretty difficult job.

Does this meeting and what they discussed actually matter, though?

One of the major problems with this meeting is that Obama is going to be leaving the White House pretty soon, and the following establishment might not agree to the same terns that Obama has. It’s hard to say what Hillary will do. She gone quiet in regards to NAFTA, a trade agreement her husband and former US President Bill Clinton championed. She’s decided against the TPP, even though she was behind it during her tenure as Secretary of State. Understanding the fact that it’s a poisonous topic at the moment, she may be turning her back on the idea due to politics, and pull a 180 if elected. Trump, on the other hand, would nullify most of the ideas laid out, especially in regards to climate change, the TPP, and the NEXUX system. All this talk might be just that. Talk.

In a world where building connections and bridges between nations would benefit everyone and make the world a smaller place, Brexit has shown us that many still want to build walls. Hell, that’s one of the reasons that Trump became so popular in the first place, and he’s suggesting a literal wall, not just a metaphoric one. Free trade is akin to a four letter word among both left and right wing demagogues. A war still rages in Mexico over a fail drug policy that’s been in affect for decades. Income inequality still rises in the United States.

Saying yes to change is difficult. It means challenging laws, it means reconfiguring systems of thought, it requires ideals to malleable, it needs research and discussion and planning. On the other hand, saying no is easy. It means there’s no need to grow, to learn, to evolve. Building a bridge is difficult, especially if you’re going to be bringing a lot of people over it. You need engineers, and planners, and lawyers, and construction experts. Building a wall is easier. You need steel and concrete and time to build a bridge that would allow a car to pass over it. If you want to stop a car with a wall, all you need to do is put some shit in front of it.

Brick_wall_close-up_view.jpg

All I had to do was put up some bricks and some mortar, and BOOM, car problem solved.²

Maybe that’s my issue with the meeting of the Three Amigos. They’re talking about how to build bridges, when the discussion that should be taking place is this; why does everyone want to start building walls?

Walls don’t work. Walls are meant to keep baddies out, and they rarely succeed. And in the process of trying to keep the baddies out, you end up stifling the flow of information. In a world where information is power, it’s strange to see everyone give that up for a sense of false security.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s.In a perfect world, they would have all taken time to have an old fashioned wrastle

¹ © Reuters/Chris Wattie

² Image taken from Wikimages

The Kingdom, the Trump, and the Footy

The fallout from the exiting of the United Kingdom from the European Union is still being felt across the globe. Investors are still scrambling, with many investors, banks, and insurers trying their damndest to get off of the ship. Trump landed in Scotland and in his usual deafness to the current state of affairs tweeted congratulations to the country for the Brexit vote, even though the majority of the Scottish people voted to stay.

Trump-tweet-001

The man is pure satire fodder

No games is right Mr. Trump. Not only did Britain fail the UK in the Brexit vote and is now leaving the EU, but they also lost the football match against Iceland and have to leave Euro 2016. Just like David Cameron decided it was time to step down as the Prime Minister of the country, manager Roy Hogdson of the British team called it quits and stepped down after their humiliating defeat. They say time flows like a river, but this is history repeating itself so quickly it might as well be the tail end of a catheter stuck in the mouth.

There is a growing rise of dissatisfaction in the western world at the moment, in both the United States and the United Kingdom, with striking parallels. Both countries are unhappy with the status quo, and they want change, real drastic change. For the UK, they were sending £350 million to the European Union every week. Every week! Those are pounds, people. This isn’t the colorful fun money we have here in Canadiana. The Leave campaign promised that £350 million would go back into the National Health Services. They even advertised it on buses.

Leave-bus-NHS

It was on the side of a bus, so that means it has to be true

They voted to leave. Great, I am now on board. We’ve got another 350 million kilograms of sweet cheddar to grease the mighty wheels of public health services. Right? What do you mean, you can’t actually do that and that you never made that claim? You had it on buses and it was all over your website. Why did you wipe almost all of your website clean of the promises you made?

Real talk for a second. The people in charge of the Brexit movement, guys like Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, have flat out lied to the British public. Not did the movement lie about what they were going to do with the money, they also didn’t mention all the money the UK got in return. I’m not talking about money that would trickle back in through the economic boon of open borders with the rest of the EU. I’m talking about cold hard cash they got back as a rebate. They manipulated numbers to scare people into voting to leave.

At least they had the decency to manipulate the numbers that existed, because when you compare this to Trump, he’s pulling numbers out of thin air like a magician who pulls cards out of his ass. There is simply no feasible way Trump can actually accomplish any of the tasks that he’s proposing. Great Wall of America? Not feasible. Banning Muslims from the US? Again, not even remotely feasible. Making America great again? Unless Trump decides to tax everyone like they did during the 1960’s, which strangely enough coincided with the highest economic growth decade in the last century, then you’re going to be getting more of the same not feasibleness.

I understand why people are angry and upset. I can fully appreciate it. The numbers don’t lie though. Economic prosperity is always correlated with high taxes on the rich. If you didn’t bother to click on any of the links that I provided, I’ll just flat out tell you; In the 1960’s, when the US truly became the juggernaut powerhouse it is, the income tax on the wealthy was at roughly 90%. The US didn’t crumble, investors didn’t leave, and the four horsemen of the Apocalypse didn’t come riding in to start the rapture. Instead, medical breakthroughs exploded, the US became the cultural hub of the world, and they even had time to stick a man on the moon.

Maybe you’re worried high taxes will affect you. Maybe you’re concerned people won’t work as hard if they have access to services. To be frank, if you’re reading this, you are not in that category, and you will never will be. You do not have hundreds of millions of assets strewn across the globe. You do not own a mega yacht with two helipads. But if you’re reading this and you happen to have a matching Ferrari for every outfit you own, maybe it’s time you started paying your fair share, because the roads you’re driving on were paid with taxes, and right now, they’re crumbling.

Sincerely, the Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Yes, I’m flat out stating that taxes are a good thing. It’s why we have public schools and hospitals and running water.

p.s.s. New logo! Thanks to the wonderful K.A.

¹ Image taken from Donald Trump’s Twitter feed.

² Image taken from leftfootforward.org

Brexiting Out

Well, isn’t this just ducky. If anyone has money in the stock market, I’m sorry most of your money is on fire. After news broke out the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union, the United States stock market is tumbling, the Canadian dollar is trending downwards, and the British Pound is taking a pounding. The pound hit thirty year lows, which is really not a good thing. The world’s markets are still recovering from the 2008 crash, and Brexit didn’t help the situation. The crazy got dialed up a notch when the Prime Minister David Cameron tearfully resigned after the news was announced. It was an incredibly tight race. 52% wanted to leave the EU, 48% wanted to stay.

Judging from my feeds, anyone who thought the UK leaving the EU was a good idea is also the kind of person that invests in gold bars, has a bug out bag, and is secretly hoping one day the whole planet goes to hell so they can live out their Mad Max style fantasy. Romantic for a crazy person, sure, but if you happen to like living in a city and getting sushi every once and a while, the Brexit vote simply added further destabilization in a market that was already hurting.

Let’s talk about what the EU really is, first of all. It started out after WW2, when people decided that two world wars fought on their soil wasn’t a whole lot of fun. They figured that extreme nationalism was an issue, and wanted to create an environment of cooperation between nations as opposed to feuding. The Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957, and more and more nations got on board with the idea of working together on the same playing field. A whole bunch more treaties were signed (there was some serious litigation going on here, check out the Wikipedia page if you’re interested) and today we now have the European Union, which comprises of 28 nations.

If you’re a citizen of one of those nations, you can freely move from nation to nation without the use of a passport. You can also work in any one of the nations as well. It’s great for allowing the nations to keep their cultural identity while still allowing people, information and money to move freely in the union. Scientific information is easier to share in the Union, with numerous universities working together to further our pursuit of scientific gains. Mostly though, it’s about trade. The EU has adopted one currency, the Euro, and can trade freely within the EU as if it were one country. Countries that are constantly trading with each other are less likely to go to war, the theory is. The UK has always been a bit of an outlier, as it refused to adopt the Euro in favour of the Pound.

Now that the UK has left the EU, it’s going to have to spend a lot of money putting those fences back up. It’s going to cost the UK money to trade with the EU. New laws are going to have to be drafted, sanctions might be passed for a period of time. People from France, Sweden, Germany and a host of others are going to have to get out their passports if they want to head to Britain. The UK has decided to isolate itself further, and they were already on a damn island to begin with.

Scotland gave out a massive “Stay” vote, and now that the UK is leaving, they have announced they’re going to be having another referendum to determine whether or not to leave the UK. The United Kingdom may no longer be a united kingdom. Also to note, young people voted mostly to stay with the Union, and they are the ones who will have to live with the decision. So Scotland might leave, but the younger generation might take flight as well, leaving England to be a bastion of curmudgeons and sourpusses.

Here’s the weird thing. A lot of people who voted to “leave” are now regretting their decision. ‘What is the European Union’ became a massive Google search in the UK after the voting took place. It boggles the mind that people would do their research after the vote. This is another example of a select few fear mongers shouting Globalization and Soros and Illuminati out to scare a bunch of terribly misinformed people to vote in a manner that isn’t going to help them. In fact, I’m having a really hard time thinking who exactly is going to benefit from the Brexit.

The facts remain. The Brexit will hurt the UK’s economy, it could trigger the breakup of the UK itself, it forced the Prime Minister to resign, and it could cause trouble for the migrant workers in the UK, and the British workers abroad. The process will take years, though, so who knows? Maybe they’ll vote again to stay if enough old people die in the next couple months.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. George Soros actually bet the UK would leave and planned accordingly. He warned of the Brexit, but still managed to walk away smelling of roses. So, yay hedge fund managers? I mean, it’s nice to see someone having a good day while the rest of us pour gasoline on our savings.