Badtux the Snarky Penguin

In a time of chimpanzees, I was a penguin.

Religious fundamentalists are motivated by the sneaking suspicion that someone, somewhere, is having fun -- and that this must be stopped.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Enabling Act of 2006

I'm wondering whether the passage of the Enabling Act of 2006, which like its predecessor the Enabling Act of 1933 gives Dear Leader or his successor the right to jail anybody without trial forever in a military gulag with a simple declaration that said person is an "enemy of the state" (whoops, "enemy combatant", same difference), means I ought to start the process of leaving now rather than later when the borders might be sealed to prevent Americans from leaving rather than foreigners from entering. Penguins are not a member of one of the groups that Dear Leader's core constituency wants rounded up and placed into detention camps (gays, feminists, evolutionary scientists, etc.), but still...

In my post below I mention some places. Here we go:

  1. Canada: Easy to get residency if you have a professional degree and professional experience. Hard to get work outside of a taxi cab, especially if you have a stereotypically American accent. 25% unemployment rate amongst immigrants.
  2. New Zealand: See Canada.
  3. Panama, Chile, Uruguay: Relatively "pro-business" by South American standards (meaning it takes only six months and tens of thousands of dollars in bribesfees to start a business, and if you hire someone, it takes only a year to fire them and you must pay their wages for that full year even if they find another job), note that because they are so "pro-business" you'll probably end up working in the "irregular" economy as an "independent businessman" dodging the policia, rather than as an employee. Still, if you can hack it as an "independent businessman", either place is a nice place to live. Panama has no military thus isn't going to be invading anybody, Chile has a military but the only people they would want to invade are Argentina, and the Andes make that kind of hard, so their military mostly just goose-steps a lot and occasionally overthrows the government in a junta (but that hasn't happened for 30 years now, so that's good, I guess).
  4. Brazil: Enormous underclass, don't like Americans, period. Not safe for Americans anymore, alas.
  5. Europe: You're kidding, right? Europe is a bunch of effete snobs who are bigotted against anybody who wasn't born in whatever country you're thinking about. And sometimes even against people who WERE born in that country. You have Algerian Muslims who have been living in France for three generations who were born in France, whose parents were born in France, whose grandparents were born in France, who aren't allowed to become citizens or to legally work, thereby forcing them into the underground economy (i.e., slave labor for the unscrupulous). Same deal with Turks in Germany.
  6. Africa: Don't go there. Period.
  7. Asia: As a white European you can do okay in China or South Korea or even Thailand, but you'll always be a foreigner. Some people can deal with that, others can't. Don't even think about Japan -- they're the most bigotted people on Earth, even more bigotted than the French.
  8. Eastern Europe: You gotta be kidding.
All in all, your best bet is Canada if you're one of the groups targetted by Dear Leader's SS (gays, evolutionary biologists, etc.), followed by New Zealand. The Latin American locales are cheap and if you are good at hustling you can make a decent living there, but aren't particularly friendly to the groups that the Enabling Act is going to target -- e.g., abortion is illegal in most of them so feminists fleeing the camps probably won't feel welcome, and homosexuality is viewed as beyond disgusting down there. The only good news is that they will take anybody with money -- if you can get $200K out of your house (easy for Californians, hard elsewhere), Panama will take you in a heartbeat, for example. Canada and New Zealand are more picky, only accepting degreed professionals in certain fields. If you're an auto mechanic, neither wants you -- though it is proposed in Canada to change that (they've noticed that they have too many software engineers and not enough auto mechanics thanks to rubber-stamping so many visas from software engineers).

-- Badtux the "Enabling Acts suck" Penguin

Posted by: BadTux / 10/02/2006 10:13:00 PM  


You seriously need to pull your ideas of eastern Europe out of the sixties. As an European, I can tell you there have been MAJOR changes in the last 10 or 15 years. I have and would live in any country west of Russia. Plus your theories about western Europe are just ridicolous, especially compared to the other options you list.
# posted by Anonymous : 3/10/06 4:39 AM  

So much negativity, you're never gonna find a new country. Becoming an Expat is not easy.

How about Prague. Inexpensive, good beer, great walking city.

Just get rid of your ugly american accent, shed a few pounds, and pretened top be french or belguim, you'll get by.

Reading your post almost had me convinced to stand out in front of my building and start singing "G-d Bless America", but then I tripped and woke up. The BushCo is slowly building us up for a great big fall, and it's gonna hurt.
# posted by niCk (Mem Beth) : 3/10/06 5:20 AM  

i have a total soft spot for Spain, especially Andalucia. Malaga is a favorite. Valencia not far behind. Speaking the language is a big plus. I tore a concert hall in Malaga to shreds one night by turning up all the shit on my Strat and playing "Malaguena." I introduced it as "Shake Your Booty Macho Man Malaguena Uber Alles."

Just north of Panama is Costa Rica. Also small, not aggressive and on comparison to most of Central America reasonably corrupt (meaning you do get value for your bribe dollars). Throw in a shitload of white sand beaches and there you go.
# posted by The Minstrel Boy : 3/10/06 10:14 AM  

Costa Rica is tired of gringos, who they feel are driving up property values and driving down the standard of living for native Costa Ricans. They're also experiencing increasing crime problems due to the declining standard of living incentivating starving people to go mug and rob and steal. Panama, on the other hand, is still generally safe outside of Colon. Same with Chile and Uruguay.

For nick: "Becoming an Expat is not easy": I think that's the point I was making. You have to be a real hustler, and likely outside of Canada and New Zealand you'll need to resort to the informal economy. For example, I know of a guy who's getting by in Chile despite lack of legal status there, but he is doing so by looking at what's expensive in Chile due to import duties, and having friends "back home" buying "gifts" for him such as laptop computers and such, which he then turns around and sells for a significant profit (personal gifts apparently aren't subject to the same import duties). Then there's the issue of when you're an expat in a culture that is far different from your native culture, you're always a foreigner, a stranger in someone else's land, never to really feel comfortable or at home with wherever you end up. Some people can deal with that, some people can't, but it's something to keep in mind.

On the other hand, most of what I state about most of countries I mention applies quite well to the United States, which is swiftly declining to third-world status insofar as medical system, government corruption, infrastructure, and rule of law are concerned. A third-world banana republic with the world's most powerful military is a pretty scary thing...

For anonymous: You're a European. What do you know about the experience of the Algerians in France or the Turks in Germany? They are regularly the victims of hate crimes, and at least in France are not allowed to become citizens even if their parents and grandparents were born in the country. A friend of mine is a native French speaker (from Louisiana) and tried to make it in France. It wasn't pretty.

# posted by BadTux : 3/10/06 11:04 AM  

Here's the answer:

# posted by Anonymous : 3/10/06 11:52 AM  

Is there any other country that really wants Americans (or whatever other identifier I can come up with, since that term is repugnant to me now)?

Is there a crash course I can take so I can pass as a retired Belgian shopkeeper in Prague?
# posted by K. Ron Silkwood : 3/10/06 12:59 PM  

Yeah, would you really want US washing up on your shores? Ambulatory red tide if you ask me...

Me? I'm staying and I promise to be as much of a pain in the ass as I can on a daily basis.

Besides I would make a terrible Belgian shopkeeper.
# posted by TheCultureGhost : 3/10/06 1:29 PM  

knock, knock -- um, sir -- seems like you forgot one

Mexico - our neighbor to the south

they love our american dollars - and even have english speaking zones where they cater to your every wish and speak english -- no need to learn pesky spanish...

san carlos is an excellent choice...been there, loved it!!

and with the majority of the poor coming here, it's can hang with the richies...

tongue out of cheek now...
# posted by azgoddess : 3/10/06 1:40 PM  

Hmm, I already live in Mexico North. I think I'll pass on Mexico South :).

Chile is looking interesting. Somewhat multicultural, growing economy, free trade agreements with a number of countries, low to moderate crime even in the big cities (no high-crime areas like Colon), growing democratic institutions rather than declining ones like in the USA. Its somewhat-isolated location means that those free trade agreements don't mean as much as they'd mean for Panama tho, since Panama is pretty much in the center of trade for the Americas. Also means it's more expensive to get there from here, of course, that may not be an issue once the borders are closed and the Jesus Curtain goes up to keep out us heathen Papists and evolutionary scientists and other such non-believers.

# posted by BadTux : 3/10/06 2:17 PM  

What about Australia??

Know what you mean about wanting to look for another country. Hopefully mainframe COBOL / PL/I programmers will be welcomed elsewhere.....
# posted by Anonymous : 3/10/06 5:09 PM  

Australia? They're as bigotted as the Japanese, in their own way. They have this habit of interning dark-skinned immigrants in concentration camps, while releasing white-skinned immigrants upon their own recognizance with electronic tracking bracelets. Scratch Prime Mister Howard, and see the white robes underneath that facade. Or something close.

Besides, I'm too old for Australia :-(. They only want people who are under 40. That excludes me.

Panama looks better every day...

# posted by BadTux : 3/10/06 10:08 PM  

Of course, Germany and France represent all of Europe, just like Alabama and Texas represent all of the US... I'm all for simplification, but this is ridicolous (and rather disappointing)!
# posted by Anonymous : 4/10/06 4:37 AM  

I guess you could come live in the UK,every bugger else is at the moment.
# posted by tallkev : 4/10/06 4:56 AM  

Okay, should I talk about Paki-bashing in Britain (which is sort of their backup national sport, after soccer and cricket)? Or the experience of Albanians in Italy? Or the experience of Morrocans in Spain? Or the experience of Muslims in the Netherlands, where hate crimes against them are rising?

Face facts: Western Europe is not a friendly place for immigrants, due to concerns about "ethnic purity" that seem laughable to Americans outside of the KKK. Racial discrimination isn't even illegal in Western Europe. The population would riot in the streets if their politicians tried to pass something similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1965 over there, which prohibits employment and housing discrimination based upon race.

While Western Europe is somewhat less bigotted against white immigrants (and of course if you are a citizen of a EU state you're welcome), we're still not talking about places that welcome immigrants. While I don't doubt that European nations are a nice place to live -- if you're European -- about the only place that's even halfway welcoming of immigrants right now is Ireland, and they've gotten a bit nasty recently too, passing laws that basically make it harder to get citizenship there, including repealing parts of their Constitution and passing laws similar to the French laws that mean you could be born there, your mother could be born there, and you still wouldn't be a citizen.
# posted by BadTux : 4/10/06 7:21 AM  

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