Lessons learned after living in Ireland and the UK


By iwog   Follow   Wed, 12 Dec 2012, 4:17pm   7,172 views   135 comments
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Subjective, under-researched, and scientifically meaningless however here are my observations. I'll be here until Sunday. I don't vacation like most people and I spend most of my time hanging around the locals and chit chatting.

1. I can't stress this strongly enough. Most Republicans are ignorant misinformed fools when they say the UK and Ireland are socialist countries. You ignorant jackasses aren't going to listen to facts nor are you going to come look for yourselves, but the economy here is dominated by large corporations just like the United States. Real Estate, restaurants, airlines, construction, autos, heavy industry and almost everything else is dominated by national or multinational capitalist corporate interest. Poor people here are very poor indeed. Even transportation, which is generally assumed to be state run, is heavily contracted out to private firms who are allowed to charge tolls and fees in many cases.

2. There is a lot more racism than I expected here. Other than London, minorities are in small numbers and I've already talked with two locals who claimed they would never date anyone outside their race. The few black men and women I've seen did not look happy to be there although that might have simply been perception. The odd thing is that they see Americans as more racist even after electing a half black president.

3. The last 2 nights a friend and I have wandered the streets of Belfast at 2am after the bars let out. Yes those are the same streets that have been hit with rioting and gasoline bombs all week, in fact we've seen the emergency vehicles driving by us. We both felt perfectly safe although the locals were either scared or angry depending on which faction they supported. Mostly they were drunk and indifferent. I honestly believe that being right in the middle of one of these nationalist/IRA protests is safer than walking through almost any large American city. I did speak to one gal who was shot in the leg with a rubber bullet back during the "troubles" in the 1990s.

4. One of the biggest criticisms/stereotypes of American culture is the prevalence of so many guns. It is by far the most significant image of this country in the minds of almost everyone I've met. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that by any objective measurement, we live in a dangerous police state dominated by violence, prisons, and arrogant trigger happy officers of the law. Obviously there are many nations more dangerous than this one, but what is the point when it could be so much better?

5. Roads suck here.

6. The drinking age is 18 and age of consent is 16 although it's a joke. My friend and I questioned two girls in a bar drunk off their tiny asses and aged 15 & 16 with fake IDs. No one cares. The girls wear less than hookers in Las Vegas. FAR less, and it was 15 degrees out. They are totally off the leash and everyone knew where the after-the-bar-closes party was. I don't think this bodes well for future generations.

7. Police are stationed in front of the pubs at 2am to keep order and make sure anyone dying of alcohol poisoning is rescued, however they stand there like mother hens and don't try to fuck with anyone. These cops are a different species than in the USA and there is no way to even remotely describe how alien they appeared. I ran into (literally) a fully uniformed police officer in a convenience store. He politely said "excuse me" while reaching for an apple and laughed at my clumsy American comment. You don't touch a cop in America without expecting the taser or having him unclip his gun.

8. Americans are generally liked and solicited although I'm afraid me and my friend reinforced a few stereotypes. I talk too loud and my buddy slammed his fist on a restaurant table for emphasis during conversation and caused the entire restaurant to jump. Otherwise we went out of our way to be overly polite.

9. Feminism is on steroids here. Don't dare try to talk about traditional values or any patriarchal opinions to most women. A store clerk even took offense when I said "Hillary Clinton isn't that special." and started to go after me before I told her she was my second choice after Obama for president. Hillary is something of a hero over here. This is NOT a place I would look for a wife under any circumstances.

10. The British Islands are far more confused than I expected. Religious, cultural, and tribal divisions are deep and influence everything that goes on here. For some insane reason, the Republic of Ireland has all the road signs in English and Gaelic although I can't imagine there's one single person in the world who speaks Gaelic without knowing English as well. Belfast is a powder-keg. There is no clear national identity anywhere and petty politics dominate the radio and television. Everyone has an opinion and everyone knows what is best for everyone else. Those who call me a liberal don't know the meaning of the word. I'm far right by the standards in these two nations.

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  1. Peter P


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    96   11:46am Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    Peter P says

    It has to do with the attitude towards wealth re-distribution. They may still do some but hey certainly do NOT make that an objective.

    The attitude seems to be very restrained on the part of your President given the need to raise revenue.

    I am less worry about the rise of tax rate this time than what will come next.

    Ever heard of The Camel's Nose In The Tent?

  2. Bigsby


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    97   11:46am Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    See what I was talking about? :-)

    It is not about who is more capable. Wealth ought to be respected. If not, people will stop wanting to accumulate it and ask for more from the government instead.

    Debt is not really a problem. China and Japan may own a lot of our debt. But that is THEIR problem. They should be afraid.

    What nonsense. What do you mean wealth ought to be respected? It's not some untouchable entity. You keep repeating the line that people will stop wanting to accumulate it. Presumably because of a minor tax increase? Complete nonsense.

    And debt is a major problem for your country. Debt has to be funded.

  3. Patrick


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    98   11:46am Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    No, I'm pointing out his selective use of his own argument. It either has meaning in all related situations or else he needs to question its use.

    Wait a minute. What do you think my argument is, and how would the American Indians relate to that?

    Specifically point out my inconsistency when I say that all of Ireland should be unified.

  4. Bigsby


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    99   11:48am Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    I am less worry about the rise of tax rate this time than what will come next.

    Ever heard of The Camel's Nose In The Tent?

    Why not just stick to considering what needs to be done now rather than imagining scenarios that haven't even been proposed?

  5. iwog


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    100   11:50am Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    More protests next to the Belfast capital today but from what I saw they were peaceful. There were news crews, lots of press, and a lot of people wondering if something was going to spark. They all left peacefully about 2pm to parts unknown.

    I bought some "American" cupcakes.

  6. Bigsby


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    101   11:50am Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Patrick says

    Wait a minute. What do you think my argument is, and how would the American Indians relate to that?

    Specifically point out my inconsistency when I say that all of Ireland should be unified.

    What? My response wasn't to you, it was to the point the other poster was making.

    And what do you mean the inconsistency with you saying all of Ireland should be unified? Inconsistent with what?

  7. Peter P


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    102   11:51am Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    Presumably because of a minor tax increase? Complete nonsense.

    Again, it is the potential shift in mentality that worries me.

    Since it passage of the 16th Amendment, how long did it take to go from practically no tax to very high tax?

    Bigsby says

    And debt is a major problem for your country. Debt has to be funded.

    Debt is not a problem when other countries have worse problems. USD will still be credible. Russia defaulted on debt in 1998. They are still a major player in the world theater.

  8. Peter P


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    103   11:54am Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    Why not just stick to considering what needs to be done now rather than imagining scenarios that haven't even been proposed?

    Because that is what politicians count on you to do. Look 5 steps ahead.

  9. Bigsby


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    104   11:57am Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    Because that is what politicians count on you to do. Look 5 steps ahead.

    Politicians don't look 5 steps ahead. They invariably deal with the here and now. To get the deficit under control requires tax rises. You can speculate all you want about what the future holds, but it's just that, speculation.

  10. Peter P


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    105   11:59am Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    I will support tax hikes if they make the rate structure flatter and less progressive.

  11. Peter P


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    106   12:00pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    Politicians don't look 5 steps ahead. They invariably deal with the here and now. To get the deficit under control requires tax rises. You can speculate all you want about what the future holds, but it's just that, speculation.

    But the power behind the politicians do.

    All they want is to raise taxes on income-makers so that they can pay their workers peanuts and get away with it (because we are subsidizing wage through welfare).

  12. Bigsby


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    107   12:01pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    Again, it is the potential shift in mentality that worries me.

    Since it passage of the 16th Amendment, how long did it take to go from practically no tax to very high tax?

    Shift in mentality? Perhaps you should be more concerned with past shifts in mentality where it was decided tax cuts were a good idea whilst simultaneously embarking on two major military campaigns. Returning tax rates to a more reasonable level at a time of increasing debt doesn't represent a shift in mentality. It represents common sense.

    Peter P says

    Debt is not a problem when other countries have worse problems. USD will still be credible. Russia defaulted on debt in 1998. They are still a major player in the world theater.

    Ha, come back to me and repeat that if America defaults on its debt obligations.

  13. Bigsby


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    108   12:02pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    But the power behind the politicians do.

    All they want is to raise taxes on income-makers so that they can pay their workers peanuts and get away with it.

    What?

  14. Peter P


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    109   12:04pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    Perhaps you should be more concerned with past shifts in mentality where it was decided tax cuts were a good idea whilst simultaneously embarking on two major military campaigns.

    Which two MAJOR campaigns? World War One and Vietnam War?

  15. Bigsby


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    110   12:04pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    I will support tax hikes if they make the rate structure flatter and less progressive.

    Why should they? It makes better sense to make it more progressive. If you want it flatter whilst simultaneously raising revenues, then you want to shift more of the burden onto that part of society least capable of managing the increase.

  16. Bigsby


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    111   12:05pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    Which two MAJOR campaigns? World War One and Vietnam War?

    Iraq and Afghanistan were two major military operations or do you think the cost has been insignificant?

  17. Peter P


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    112   12:08pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    Peter P says

    But the power behind the politicians do.

    All they want is to raise taxes on income-makers so that they can pay their workers peanuts and get away with it.

    What?

    Workers need a certain amount to live peacefully. If more of that comes from the government, less will be required from the employer.

    High tax rates BUT with subsidies and loopholes would be perfect.

  18. Peter P


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    113   12:10pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    Iraq and Afghanistan were two major military operations or do you think the cost has been insignificant?

    How do they compare to WWI and Nam? (WWII was self-defense.)

  19. Bigsby


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    114   12:10pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    Bigsby says

    Iraq and Afghanistan were two major military operations or do you think the cost has been insignificant?

    How do they compare to WWI and Nam?

    What is your point?

  20. Peter P


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    115   12:12pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    Peter P says

    Bigsby says

    Iraq and Afghanistan were two major military operations or do you think the cost has been insignificant?

    How do they compare to WWI and Nam?

    What is your point?

    It meant that tax rates and wars are not connected in the way you thought.

  21. Bigsby


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    116   12:13pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    Workers need a certain amount to live peacefully. If more of that comes from the government, less will be required from the employer.

    High tax rates BUT with subsidies and loopholes would be perfect.

    ?

  22. Bigsby


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    117   12:15pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    It meant that tax rates and wars are not connected in the way you thought.

    What do you mean? They didn't cut taxes during WWI. Tax revenue went up from $761m in 1916 to $3.6bn in 1918. They didn't decrease taxes during a time of war, they increased them. Military campaigns need to be funded not passed down the line for other generations to pay off.

  23. Peter P


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    118   12:19pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    If I were rich I would push for higher tax rates so long as I could structure my business to avoid (or benefit from) the changes. Entitlement programs would be important to me because poor people might start misbehaving otherwise.

  24. Bigsby


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    119   12:21pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    If I were rich I would push for higher tax rates so long as I could structure my business to avoid (or benefit from) the changes. Entitlement programs would be important to me because poor people might start misbehaving otherwise.

    Because rich people never misbehave...

  25. Peter P


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    120   12:22pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    What do you mean? They didn't cut taxes during WWI. Tax revenue went up from $761m in 1916 to $3.6bn in 1918. They didn't decrease taxes during a time of war, they increased them. Military campaigns need to be funded not passed down the line for other generations to pay off.

    So I would prefer a tax-cut regardless.

    Why is national debt worrisome? Looking at the state of affairs in the world I think we will be fine for a while.

  26. Peter P


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    121   12:22pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    Peter P says

    If I were rich I would push for higher tax rates so long as I could structure my business to avoid (or benefit from) the changes. Entitlement programs would be important to me because poor people might start misbehaving otherwise.

    Because rich people never misbehave...

    Not according to THEM. I was "channeling" them. :-)

  27. Bigsby


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    122   12:26pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Peter P says

    So I would prefer a tax-cut regardless.

    Regardless of what? That things need to be paid for?

    Peter P says

    Why is national debt worrisome? Looking at the state of affairs in the world I think we will be fine for a while.

    It's fine if it is sustainable...

  28. Peter P


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    123   12:42pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Bigsby says

    Peter P says

    Why is national debt worrisome? Looking at the state of affairs in the world I think we will be fine for a while.

    It's fine if it is sustainable...

    Nothing is infinitely sustainable. We just need to outlast the rest of the world. Then it is a new game.

  29. Peter P


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    124   12:50pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    iwog says

    Those who call me a liberal don't know the meaning of the word. I'm far right by the standards in these two nations.

    I know. :-)

    Even in Canada, you will be considered a right-wing extremist.

  30. GraooGra


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    125   1:04pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Peter P says

    One thing the USA is still infinitely better: the Common Law system.

    The Civil Code is the worst invention of Napoleon. (The best being the dessert, did he even invent that?) It will be the downfall of many countries in the coming age.

    Even in this often idolized Switzerland, the burden of proof is on you, not on the government. Also the idea of telling on someone is so foreign to us.
    The Efficiency of the bureaucracy is scary. They found me, they translated these letters to English, they paid for postage to USA, they pursued for $600. Installing and working cameras on empty cross sections on Sunday afternoon. It is like big brother, 1984, black helicopters...

  31. Peter P


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    126   1:06pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    GraooGra says

    Even in this often idolized Switzerland, the burden of proof is on you, not on the government. Also the idea of telling on someone is so foreign to us.

    I believe Switzerland has a Civil Code system.

    GraooGra says

    The Efficiency of the bureaucracy is scary.

    So... do you want it to be scarily efficient or scarily inefficient? :-)

  32. GraooGra


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    127   1:12pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Peter P says

    So... do you want it to be scarily efficient or scarily inefficient? :-)

    Depends where I live. I want scary inefficient in totalitarian country and scary efficient in a free country, I guess.

    If I do something against authority in totalitarian country, and they are inefficient, they cannot find or harm me.

  33. Peter P


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    128   1:14pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Switzerland is not quite totalitarian. :-)

    But I prefer to live in a Common Law country.

  34. Peter P


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    129   1:23pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    GraooGra says

    If I do something against authority in totalitarian country, and they are inefficient, they cannot find or harm me.

    But it is always efficient enough to make you live in fear.

  35. justme


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    130   2:47pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Bellingham Bill says

    Drove a stick out of King's Cross station to the M1, right-hand drive, in the snow, with no GPS, and not knowing WTF a roundabout was until hitting the first two or three. . .

    And don't forget: With no gun! :-)

  36. Peter P


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    131   2:53pm Sat 15 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (4)   Dislike  

    You guys are way too brave attempting to drive in Europe.

  37. PolishKnight


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    132   7:58am Wed 26 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (2)  

    I agree that Europe isn't socialist and, like the left in the USA, is more traditional Italian fascism.

    The media racism is often misplaced and directed towards Poles because the left there are afraid to appear racist towards non-whites so they just bash "immigrants" as Poles. Rather sick and much like the USA where leftists love living among whites even as they use non-whites as "socialist"/fascist Democrat voters.

    Feminism: Surprisingly, not so bad in Europe especially the mainland as in the states. Heck, even in Finland the women seemed more feminine. But the UK may be different because they speak English and are connected to the USA as strongly as the rest of Europe. Overall, mainland European women joke that American and UK women are fat "party" girls (women who work and eat but don't do much outside of that other than party.)

  38. bob2356


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    133   12:19pm Wed 26 Dec 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Peter P says

    You guys are way too brave attempting to drive in Europe.

    I love driving Europe, especially France where the only real rule is go for it.

  39. bg


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    134   8:14am Sat 12 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    iwog says

    t's just the feeling I get after talking to many women that men are not held in high regard here. I even overheard a conversation about how women are more intelligent than men are. There's a mandatory waiting period here for divorce which can last years, and I've noticed that separated is a common category for both men and woman although they have years ago left the marriage

    Well, I don't want to see any group of people treated badly or held in low regard, male or female. My concerns are mostly about equal rights. I can't see how it serves men or women to complicate dissolution of a marriage.

    I think love should be celebrated and family cherished. I think marriage should be less like a party and more like a contract. Talk about your values up front. Talk about your expectations. The man and the woman should know what they are getting into at the beginning. I don't think is should seem like a cruel or unfair surprise when the terms of divorce, child custody, and child support or alimony need to be discussed.

    To me, it is like reading your mortgage contract. Know what you are getting into. Write a pre-nup if you don't like the way that society is likely to handle your divorce if you need one.

    Thanks for clarifying what you were thinking. I like hearing your perspective on things broader than just home prices.

  40. Peter P


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    135   11:38am Sat 12 Jan 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    bg says

    I think marriage should be less like a party and more like a contract. Talk about your values up front. Talk about your expectations.

    Well said! Life is really about expectations management.

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