Brexit Observations

Brexit Observations

Now, what is the definition of insanity? Brexit I would think!

What exactly is the Proper Brexit of which Nigel Farage speaks? Pre-referendum, Nige declared that even the worst case scenario would leave Britain better off economically. He now believes that the Brexit we are heading for will leave us worse off that we currently are within the EU. The truth of the matter is this: Farage’s entire premise was entirely dependent on the EU ‘banging on Britain’s door to do a free trade deal’. And this would happen because ‘the German car industry would force the politicians to do so’. There was no real Plan B (as detailed in one of my most prescient posts of the last decade) should it transpire that the German car industry would not be leading the Brexit negotiations.

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Ancesters dot come?

The argument has arisen over who belongs in the U.S. Some would have only those who are white and educated, with skills to come into the country. Someone did a pretty good study on the family backgrounds of those who push the idea that only legal immigrants, preferably white, be allowed to come in. The findings cast doubt on the arguments that only legal immigrant be allowed.

What follows is a very good article first appearing on Yahoo. Much of the credit for this article should go to  Jennifer Mendelsohn, who created the #resistancegenealogy hashtag. And of course Lisa Belkin, Chief National Correspondent for Yahoo News.

So where did you grandparent come from? Did they enter the country legally? We all have our stories. Maybe you will share yours.

Trump aide Stephen Miller, meet your great-grandfather, who flunked his naturalization test

Lisa Belkin

Chief National Correspondent


Yahoo News
Stephen Miller with the document denying citizenship to his great-grandfather Nison Miller. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP, background Getty Images)

A photo of Nison (aka Max) Miller stares out from the screen, sullen and stern, in faded black and white. “Order of Court Denying Petition” is the title of the government form dated “14th November 1932,” to which it is attached, the one in which Miller is applying for naturalization as an American citizen.

And beneath the photo, the reason given for his denial: Ignorance.

Nison Miller is the great-grandfather of White House adviser Stephen Miller, who has taken credit for being one of the chief architects of the administration’s family separation policy. And this 85-year-old document is just one bit of ammunition in a campaign being waged by the unofficial band that goes by the hashtag #Resistance Genealogy.

Believing that the past is prologue, they search online archives for nuggets about the ancestors of public figures and politicians who disparage today’s immigrants. They use tools they developed as a personal hobby to make the point that people like Miller are holding newcomers to a standard that their own forebears could not meet.

“Unless your ancestors came on a slave ship or you’re Native American,” you came here as an immigrant, says Jennifer Mendelsohn, who created the #resistancegenealogy hashtag last summer after Republican congressman Steve King or Iowa was quoted as saying “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” So she went on a genealogy website and quickly documented that King’s own grandmother was one such baby, arriving in 1894 from Germany as a 4-year-old, along with her infant siblings.

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; background photo: Getty Images

“The point isn’t to play ‘gotcha,’” says Renee Stern Steinig, a former president of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island, who first found the Miller naturalization application last summer. “It’s to show that we are a nation of immigrants, and you are here because someone else picked up and came here for a better life.” In fact, she is careful to point out that Miller’s great-grandfather being labeled “Ignorant” on that application was probably because he slipped up on a few questions on his citizenship test, not because he was in fact stupid or unworthy of being a citizen — an example of the same harsh, presumptive judgment that she believes is being used against today’s immigrants. Eventually he retook the test and became a citizen.

Another part of Stephen Miller’s family tree seems to have been the first skirmish on this genealogical battlefield. During the summer of 2016, before Steinig found great-granddad Nison, Rob Eshman of the Jewish Journal became intrigued by the apparent hypocrisy of Miller’s description of himself as a grandchild of Jewish refugees while portraying today’s immigrants as dangerous. He reached out to attorney E. Randol Schoenberg, who had famously won the case forcing the Austrian government to return a valuable painting by Gustav Klimt to the Jewish family from whom it had been stolen by the Nazis — the story that was the basis of the 2015 film “Woman in Gold.” Schoenberg has developed an expertise in tracing family histories.

Together he and Eshman followed Miller’s mother’s side (great-grandpa Max was on his father’s side) back to Wolf Lieb Glotzer and his wife, Bessie. That couple arrived from Belarus in 1903 with $8 to their name, escaping anti-Semitic pogroms. In an instance of what today would be called chain migration, they were joined by their son Natan and Wolf’s brother Moses, and eventually by another brother, Sam, who changed his name to Glosser. Sam Glosser was the maternal great-grandfather of Stephen Miller.

Eshman’s article laid out the story, concluding that “Miller demonstrates that in America, truly anything is possible: The great-grandson of a desperate refugee can grow up to shill for the demagogue bent on keeping desperate refugees like his great-grandfather out.”

Eshman went on to pose, and then refute, what has become the most familiar objection to these stories, writing: “But it’s different now, you say. Miller’s forebears came here legally…” It is an argument that Megan Smolenyak, a former chief family historian and spokesperson for and a regular contributor to the TV series “Who Do You Think You Are?” hears regularly. “It’s a glib, easy response,” she says, “but it ignores history.”

With the glaring exception of the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned all immigration from that country once its workers were no longer needed to build U.S. railroads, all immigration was legal in America for its first 300 years. So yes, almost everyone who came during those centuries came here legally. Until the early 1920s, all people needed to do to move here was walk off a ship and prove they were basically sane and free of obvious communicable diseases. Had today’s existing and proposed rules been in effect back then, Smolenyak says, a high percentage of the ancestors of current citizens would never have been admitted.

In addition, she says, many who think their ancestors entered completely legally are wrong. Fox contributor Tomi Lahren — who tweeted last year, “We are indeed a nation of immigrants. We are also a nation of laws. Respect our laws and we welcome you. If not, bye” — didn’t know that her great-great-great grandfather had been indicted for forging his naturalization papers until Mendelsohn tweeted that information back to her.

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; background photo: Getty Images

And Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, the Republican chair of the House Judiciary Committee, whose website states, “I do not support a special pathway to citizenship that rewards those who have broken our immigration laws,” seems not to have known that his grandfather had lied during his naturalization process but was permitted citizenship nonetheless, until Smolenyak found his naturalization papers.

Most interesting to Smolenyak is that this research “is so easy. You don’t have to go very far back.” It’s startling, she says, “how many of the people who are virulently anti-immigration are children or grandchildren or great-grandchildren of immigrants. We should have to work a lot harder for these stories, but there they are, on the lowest, easiest branches.”

She originally expected that such views would be held by people whose stories go further back on the American timeline, but former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and his daughter, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, whose roots begin in the 1600s, are the exception. “Most of the rest of the time you think you’re going to have to really dig in and go very far back, you don’t,” she says. “Why are the children and grandchildren of immigrants so eager to keep immigrants out?”

It’s the desire to make that point — “to point out to people who are being needlessly mean and spreading misinformation that they are conveniently forgetting their own family, which in turn means forgetting our national commonality” — that keeps Smolenyak and others in this fight.

It’s why, when Miller said earlier this year that “we favor immigrants who speak English,” Mendelsohn responded with evidence that four years after Miller’s great-grandmother arrived in the U.S. in 1894 she was still speaking Yiddish.

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; background photo: Getty Images

And when Fox host Tucker Carlson asked, “Why does America benefit from having tons of people from failing countries come here?,” Mendelsohn found a memoir from Carlson’s great-grandfather talking about how he left the poverty of Italy for the promise of America.

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; background photo: Getty Images

Or when White House aide Dan Scavino vowed to end “chain migration,” Mendelsohn tweeted: “So Dan. Let’s say Victor Scavino arrives from Canelli, Italy in 1904, then brother Hector in 1905, brother Gildo in 1912, sister Esther in 1913, & sister Clotilde and their father Giuseppe in 1916, and they live together in NY. Do you think that would count as chain migration?”

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; background photo: Getty Images

Or when Lahren recently said, “You don’t just come into this country with low skills, low education, not understanding the language and come into our country because someone says it makes them feel nice. That’s not what this country is based on,” Mendelsohn parried on Twitter with: “Except the 1930 census says Tomi’s 3x great-grandmother had been here for 41 years and still spoke German. Her 2nd great-grandmother had been here for 10 yrs. Spoke no English.”

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; background photo: Getty Images

Ditto for when White House chief of staff John Kelly said on NPR that today’s immigrants are “not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society,” because they are uneducated, come from rural areas, and “don’t speak English.” Mendelsohn posted screenshots of documents showing all those things were also true of Kelly’s maternal ancestors.

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; background photo: Getty Images

With every flurry of immigration policy uproar comes a spike in interest in the #resistancegenealogy hashtag. So much research has been done at this point, that often the most active participants merely resurface earlier findings.

When Stephen Miller told the New York Times that the decision to begin separating children from their parents at the border was “simple” (in an interview he gave during what happens to be Immigrant Heritage Month in the U.S.), Steinig’s post about his great-grandfather’s naturalization problems found new life on Twitter.

Or when Goodlatte proposed legislation that would stop the separation of families but still detain children, telling NPR, “It’s very important that people coming to this country not try to enter the country illegally,” Smolenyak reposted her story about his grandfather’s naturalization untruths.

This might look like “weaponizing genealogy,” Smolenyak says, but in fact she believes it is just the opposite.

“The point is our commonality,” she says, “a reminder that this is everyone’s family.” Donald Trump’s grandfather, she noted, came here in part to avoid the draft in his native Bavaria while “his mother came here as a servant. Imagine if they tried to come today.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story failed to include a reference to the Chinese Exclusion Act in the statement “Essentially all immigration was legal in America for its first 300 years.”

Tales of Time & Space

This is what I have been reading on my Kindle. Many of the short stories in this collection date back to the fifties. It is almost comical what what science fiction writer and their fans thought about what the future might be. I started on science fiction reading from this types of collections.

Wilson, Richard. The 42nd Golden Age of Science Fiction MEGAPACK®: Richard Wilson. (vol. 2) (Kindle Location 1). Wildside Press LLC. Kindle Edition.

42nd Golden Age of Science Fiction (3)  Analog SFF, December 2009 - Dell Magazine Authors  cover

Robots, Isaac Asimov's Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction vol 9 - coverMy brother Andy introduced me to these magazines. He had a huge library of stories.


We had such strange ideas of what the future might bring! We had such strange ideas of what the future might bring!






Here are some images of what these science fiction collections imagined. Of course we were way off base as to what the future had in store for us. It was nothing like these images!

ra116   ra206  ra210

Instead, it may be more like these.

cover  Strange Future_ A 23rd Century Guide for the 21st Century Cynic - Josh Smith  Brave New World

I enjoy reading futuristic science fiction. It would please me to see some uplifting ones instead of just the doom and gloom types.

Image result for Lost Horizon by James Hilton Amazon review. James Hilton’s bestselling adventure novel about a military man who stumbles on the world’s greatest hope for peace deep in Tibet: Shangri-La.

Hugh Conway saw humanity at its worst while fighting in the trenches of the First World War. Now, more than a decade later, Conway is a British diplomat serving in Afghanistan and facing war yet again—this time, a civil conflict forces him to flee the country by plane.

When his plane crashes high in the Himalayas, Conway and the other survivors are found by a mysterious guide and led to a breathtaking discovery: the hidden valley of Shangri-La.

Kept secret from the world for more than two hundred years, Shangri-La is like paradise—a place whose inhabitants live for centuries amid the peace and harmony of the fertile valley. But when the leader of the Shangri-La monastery falls ill, Conway and the others must face the daunting prospect of returning home to a world about to be torn open by war.

Thrilling and timeless, Lost Horizon is a masterpiece of modern fiction, and one of the most enduring classics of the twentieth century.

This might be interesting reading.

My Family History

Perhaps I was being a bit creative in writing this piece but …

My Family History
Richard Montoya
Thursday, January 20, 2000

My grandfather, Andres Montoya, kidnapped my grandmother, Encarnacion Montoya,
from a ranch in Gomez Palacio, Durango, Mexico. She was fourteen years old when it happened. This was a way of proposing marriage back then. I have no idea
if they had known each other socially before, that such courting
but he must have known her before taking off with her. That is about as far
back as I can go back on my father’s side of the family history. Grandpa and grandma came to the border and crossed to the U.S. side using a ferry. The Rio Grande was just that big and wide. This was around 1910. Revolutionaries, such as Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata as well as other bands of outlaws, were in control of Mexico. Grandpa was involved in bringing the railroad from the interior of Mexico to the U.S./Mexico border. Mexico was in turmoil being divided among the various revolutionary bands. The revolutionaries were suspicious of anyone
with an education or skills. Grandpa worked as a civil engineer and so he was not above that suspicion. He feared for his life and safety, and that of his family. He fled to the stability and safety of United States.

Grandpa Andres and his wife, Chonita, wandered around West Texas in a horse-drawn wagon. I can almost imagine a covered wagon, but that is up to the reader’s
imagination. There were only dirt roads at the time. They did make at least one stop along the way at Stanton, Texas where my Dad, Andres Montoya was born. There is no record of his birth there as the courthouse burned down along with all its records. That is why Dad
has two birthdays. One of these is his own birthday and the other one has to
do with his entry into the Army during World War Two.

GDdadSince Dad’s birth certificate burned up the Army created a new one for him.

I don’t know how long the wandered before settling down in El Paso, Texas.
The address at 3204 ½ Frutas was a narrow half lot.  In time two houses were built on this lot. One was a duplex built toward the back of the narrow lot. A single-family home was later built in front. This land was a homestead where my dad and his brothers built these homes. Uncle Raul and Aunt Mary lived on one side of the duplex, and Grandma and I on the other side. Other family members live there too.  Born February 1, 1944, I was too young to recall much about when I got there or who was living there. The duplex on Frutas must have existed prior to 1944.

Frutas StreetThis may give you an idea of the layout. The duplex where I lived was behind, the newer house can be seen in front. I am on top of the picnic table. It looks like I am about eleven or twelve years old.

Before this, I lived at Grandma Margarita Ochoa’s home. I think the house was on San Antonio
Ave. That area no longer exists being demolished by the North-South Freeway. My earliest childhood recollections of living there are of two events. One of these is of some game that I was playing with a pretty kitty. My first memory was of my being up on a swing and playing jump on the basins. Stuffed in between the basins was this furry white cat. It was a beautiful white cat and I did not think about hurting the cat. I must have been close to four years old at the
time. The second memory is of finding ants in my pants after sitting on an ant hill. Don’t know why I would ever logically do that. These two memories endured. And these tied me into my Grandma Ochoa’s home. I kind of remember living there for a while before moving to Frutas Street. I must have spent a lot of time there too because I recall playing with my uncle’s Hector and Efrain. And I remember my aunt Lily being there. Most of all I remember grandma’s sweet
smelling cedar chest where she kept special linens and doilies. She made the doilies. My mom, Consuelo died when I was two years old and I must have been living here when that happened. This was at Grandma Margarita Ochoa home.  Anyway, that is where I spent my very early years.

mecowboyHere I am standing in front of Grandma Ochoa’s home.

Richie, Andy, Hector and WhThe backyard of Grandma’s place with uncle Hector, cousin Fina, and brother Andy. I’m the tiny guy in the center.

#TBT El Presidente

#TBT El Presidente

Great satire! Love this paragraph. Tens of millions of green baseball caps emblazoned with the MAMA logo should be made and distributed for free. Want one shipped to the US? No problemo, postage is free too! Twitter should be swamped with the #mama hashtag. It should be all that anyone is talking about. Make America Mexican Again! Come back to MAMA, gringos! And just for good measure, perhaps employing a Russian based internet marketing company to promote secession movements in some of the USA’s southern states would also add a humourous twist.

The photo is from 2006, and Lopez Obrador’s first attempt to win the office of president. This protest occurred at the IFE building across the road from our home. Obrador came and gave a speech to a sizeable and noisy crowd there. Voto por voto! I think I took this photo on that very day. In just a couple months time, Mexico will go to the polls to decide which political crook gets to screw them over for the next six years. Obrador has his hat in the ring again. And he looks to be in with a realistic chance of finally realising his dream.

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Here Comes The Sun

Here Comes The Sun

Life with Gary. It is always nice to see what is going on on the other side of the pond. Great pictures with a fine narrative.
Thank, Gary.

Would you just have a look at that! Have you ever seen something so fabulous in your life? A beautiful blue sky. My scepticism was, happily, unfounded. Fair weather has arrived and the temperature soared into the mid 20s. In the space of just a few days, barren wintry branches have sprung to life. Hesistant cherry blossom has decided now is the time to turn our dreary streets into a kaleidescope of colour. The sound of the lawnmower has returned, bringing with it one of my favourite smells – freshly cut grass. It’s almost enough to make you sing out loud Lennon and McCartney’s famous ode to our solar friend.

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