Sunday, 26 June 2016

Brexit Wins: Why That’s Great News for Europe, Too

 

During its Industrial Revolution, Britain was a beacon of domestic liberty and economic progress that stimulated liberal reform on the European continent. An independent Britain in the 21st century can could play that role again, argues Dan Sanchez in this guest post. In doing so, Britain would help Europe outside the EU far more than it ever could on the inside.

Brexit Wins: Why That’s Great News for Europe, Too
by Dan Sanchez

British voters have elected to leave the European Union in a national referendum. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage declared Friday Britain’s “independence day.” That is quite a statement given British history. A little over two and a quarter centuries ago, America had its own first Independence Day, and the British Empire was the super-state from which Americans declared independence.

It must be noted that independence is not isolation. This is the key distinction that is intentionally blurred by the “Better Together” rhetoric of the “Remain” camp. When they scaremonger about “leaving Europe,” it conjures images of Britain putting up the shutters and abandoning Western civilisation. But the European Union is not the same thing as Europe. Exiting a mega-state in defiance of an imperium is not withdrawing from civilisation. In fact, such an exit is propitious for civilisation.

Small Is Beautiful

Advocates of international unions and super-states claim that centralisation promotes trade and peace: that customs unions break down trade barriers and international government prevents war. In reality, super-states encourage both protectionism and warfare. The bigger the trade bloc, the more it can cope with the economic isolation that comes with trade warfare. And the bigger the military bloc, the easier it is for bellicose countries to externalise the costs of their belligerence by dragging the rest of the bloc into its fights.

A small political unit cannot afford economic isolationism; it simply doesn’t have the domestic resources necessary. So for all of UKIP’s isolationist rhetoric, the practical result of UK independence from the European economic policy bloc would likely be freer trade and cross-border labour mobility (immigration). Political independence fosters economic interdependence. And economic interdependence increases the opportunity costs of war and the benefits of peace. (Not to mention how taking one of the EU’s two big bill-payers from the checkout will help concentrate the minds of every European welfare project they’ve been paying for.)

The Power of Exit

Super-states also facilitate international policy “harmonisation.” What this means is that, within the super-state, the citizen has no escape from onerous laws like the regulations that pour unceasingly from the EU bureaucracy. But with political decentralisation, subjects can “vote with their feet” for less burdensome regimes. Under this threat of “exit,” governments have incentive to liberalise in order to compete for taxpayer feet. Today's referendum was a victory both for Brexit and the power of exit. That's good news for European liberty.

During its Industrial Revolution, Britain was a beacon of domestic liberty and economic progress that stimulated liberal reform on the European continent. An independent Britain in the 21st century could play that role again. In doing so, Britain would help Europe outside the EU far more than it ever could on the inside. Brexit may be a death knell for the European Union, yet ultimately a saving grace for the European people.


Dan Sanchez is the Digital Content Manager at FEE, developing educational and inspiring content for FEE.org, including articles and courses. His articles are collected at DanSanchez.me. This post first appeared at FEE.

Friday, 24 June 2016

EU v liberty: It’s all about the law

 

Why doeds the Brexit result matter to Britons? Because, says Andrew Bates in this Guest Post, the form of law imposed upon Europeans is vastly different to the common law that grew up in Britain. And that is the difference that makes the difference…


For me, every political issue comes down to this question: "what does this do to advance the liberty of the human individual?"

For me, liberty is the key. It's the safeguard of the principle that every individual is an end in himself and may not be treated as the means to another's (or many others') ends (by coercion). When every individual's liberty is upheld, then all interaction between adults occurs 'by mutual consent to mutual benefit.' Fix liberty firmly in her place and - accompanied by courts and parliaments of reason and not the mystic proclamations of various religionists - we can resolve all the problems that ail us (and drive us to ale ;-)) by debate, persuasion and negotiation. There have been some beautiful words written about liberty, and it's impact on the workings and prosperity of society.

So what does that all have to with the Leave / Remain question? Well, Britain has been governed (and well served) by the Common Law for over 700 years, while Europe's dominant legal systems are, and have long been, various civil law systems – based on things like the Justinian Code and the Napoleonic Code.

So what? Well, this is not just some potato-potahto matter, or even Slovenia-Slovakia matter (as Harry Redknapp would put it). They are fundamentally different systems, in their presumptions about the citizens/subjects, their rights, and their capabilities.
The Common Law holds that we're free to do whatever the hell we like so long as (a) it's not been banned (i.e. rape, murder, theft, fraud, etc.); and (b) we take responsibility for our actions and are liable for the damages our actions may cause others.

The Civil Law presumes no such freedom. The opposite in fact. It presumes we are only free to do that which we have been expressly permitted to do by law. (It is no accident that both Justinian and Napoleon were dictators.)

Stop and think on that for a minute. What does each say about the citizen/subject governed? To me it seems clear that only the British system treats people as adults, and only the British system is appropriate to a free people. The other system is appropriate only to a people living under slavery, people who live by the caprice of their rulers - be they bureaucrats or whatever.

It is a system that could only be favoured by those who favour social engineering, not liberty.

(It's important to note that this difference in legal systems both reflects and reinforces the cultural differences between Britain and Europe. It is why the British resile more than all the others at the screeds of regulations pouring forth from Brussels; they see it as an unwarranted affront to their liberty in a way the Europeans have never conceived. It is common to us Kiwis and you Aussies, and to the Yanks, and to a large extent even the Canadians (it's the French influence, you know) and it's also why we should be pursuing more trade with India, of all the BRICs - but I digress... This is also why Britain is a poor cultural fit in the EU, and will always be a square peg in a round hole there.)

Now clearly, the mainland Europeans have done much to expand the things they are allowed to do and Britons have lost much of their liberties to regulation – for both better and worse and the liberties permitted by both systems have tended towards each other both as their ideas and laws have affected Britain’s (for the worse) and vice versa (for the better). And the drug laws in Portugal and here in NL are more enlightened and free than in the UK.

(And as I said above, generations and indeed societies are not politically homogenous, so there are those in Europe who favour more British-style liberty while there are those Brits among us who favour more European-style intevention, but we can still draw broad - wait for it - generalisations about the British culture as distinct from the European cultures.)

But with every “integration” of European law with Britain’s, and with every new regulation passed, the edicts of the EU civil law system are trampling the principles of our common law system and with it, necessarily, our liberty. We can only restore our liberty by restoring the sovereignty of our common law system – and we may only do that by leaving the EU.

I am not saying we will become the freest nation on Earth in the immediate aftermath of Brexit (if only that were the case!), nor that we won't lurch further towards collectivism in the future, but if we do vote to leave the declining EU and seek greater integration with the world we will at least have a chance of changing our trajectory.


Andrew Bates is an Enzed living in Britain.

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The EU explained in one pic [updated]

 

NZers may be bemused at talk of Brexit or non-Brexit – of Leave or Remain.

What exactly is it with the EU? With what exactly was it that folk were voting to Leave or Remain?

Perhaps this will make it easy:

EU

[Hat tip Tom B.]

UPDATE: And right on cue, just as the vote closes – and against everything said by David Cameron and EU flunkies through the course of the campaign about how Britain will renegotiate if it remains in the EU….

There will be no further renegotiation of Britain’s relationship with the EU after the referendum, European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker has said.

Because that’s how the EU rolls.

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UP

Brexit: I’ve seen more subtle propaganda coming out of North Korea [updated]

 

Democracy is a system in which heads are counted regardless of their content.

Nonetheless, it is the system EU voters suppose that they have with the EU. Not so, says Simon Black in this guest post.


On November 11, 1947, Winston Churchill, then ex-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, rose to speak at a debate in the House of Commons:

“Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise.
    Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time;
    but there is the broad feeling in our country that the people should rule, continuously rule, and that public opinion, expressed by all constitutional means, should shape, guide, and control the actions of Ministers who are their servants and not their masters.

This may be the perfect summation of what democracy is supposed to be.

And western nations-- particularly the US and UK-- have been champions of ‘democracy’ around the world (though they typically mean ‘republic’).

Now, today the voters of the United Kingdom go to the polls to decide whether or not their country will remain in the European Union.

This is about as democratic as it gets-- direct voting by the people to choose their fate.

Or so they claim.

In reality, each side has had a long, drawn out campaign to influence the outcome.

The ‘leave’ leadership has been scaring voters with horrific stories of evil foreign-looking people who will infiltrate the United Kingdom should the country remain in the EU.

I mean, I’ve seen more subtle propaganda coming out of North Korea.

Meanwhile the ‘remain’ side has been threatening eternal economic damnation and financial Armageddon.

Most of the political and media establishment falls in the ‘remain’ camp, so this is where the propaganda becomes painfully obvious.

The IMF, for example, published a report recently suggesting that Britain leaving the EU would permanently lower incomes in the United Kingdom.

Really? Permanently?

So if voters choose to leave the EU, then the UK, which traces its sovereignty back more than 1,000 years and once had an empire so vast they ruled the entire world, will never be able to recover forever and ever until the end of time…?

We’re honestly supposed to believe that a few decades within the European Union has irrevocably thwarted Britain’s 1,000 year history in being able to achieve economic growth independently?

Or that Iceland (not a member of the European Union) can do it, but the UK cannot?

Or that a bunch of IMF bureaucrats can see decades, let alone centuries into the future with 100% certainty?

This is such blatant scaremongering, they’re not even pretending to be professional and unbiased. And this is direct from one of the top financial agencies in the world.

Clearly these people truly love democracy and embrace the idea of voters independently determining their own fate.

The British government (firmly in the ‘remain’ camp) has been using taxpayer funds to support its cause, which is really bizarre when you think about it.

If you’re British, even if you want to vote ‘leave’, the government has been using your money to influence your vote in the other direction.

One of the most absurd scare tactics has been telling people that they’ll lose visa-free travel rights to the European continent if the UK leaves the EU.

This is completely absurd.

Nicaragua has visa-free travel to Europe. Paraguay has visa-free travel to Europe. Are we really supposed to believe that Brits will be shut off from the continent?

They’ve rolled out every possible threat, every human emotion, every celebritythey can find, to influence voters.

In fact, these people love democracy so much they even had Barack Obama fly in to explain to British voters why they should remain in the EU.

(Because, of course, Mr. Obama would willingly hand over US sovereignty to a pan-American political commission based in Mexico City…)

Whichever side wins, it’s clear that no one in power gives a damn what voters want.

Despite having waged wars in foreign lands to ‘make the world safe for democracy’ and despite all the song and bombastic speech about your freedom, they have no respect for your right to self-determination, or even their own electoral system.

All they care about is getting their own way.

And they’re willing to engage in the most vile propaganda and blatant manipulation to do so.

This is a pitiful excuse for the democracy they claim to love so much.

And I’m not sure how long a road it is from here, to how Josef Stalin was quoted in his former secretary’s 1982 memoirs:

“Comrades, you know,” said Stalin, “I think that it’s totally irrelevant who votes, and how they vote. It’s extremely important who counts the votes, and how they’re counted.”

I suppose we’ll find out in a few more hours.

Until this afternoon… 

Simon Black

Founder, SovereignMan.com


UPDATE:

Why Today is a Great Day for Democracy – Brendan O’Neill, SPIKED
Yes, Pandora’s Box has been opened. Let’s keep it that way.
Today is a really good day for democracy. For British voters have been entrusted to make a real decision. A decision that could have a massive impact on both British politics and the global order. Where in recent years voting in General Elections has come to feel routine, and possibly even a little pointless, given you couldn’t squeeze so much as a beermat between the policy programmes of the main parties, today’s vote feels heavy, solid, like we’ve been given real democratic responsibility. I know that when I cast my ballot early this morning — for Leave — I felt powerful in a way that I didn’t on the two occasions I’ve voted in General Elections. I felt like a true democratic citizen, making a choice that could make a ripple in history itself, and make the future look very different to what we have today. It felt good.
    This is what we at spiked have found most exciting about the referendum campaign. Even though the debates have been lame, and both sides have plumped for the politics of fear, still there is something stirring about being asked: ‘Do you want to change Europe’s political order?’ The radicalness of that question has — quite by accident, given that the referendum’s architect, David Cameron, is hardly a democratic firebrand — served as a brilliant reminder of what it means to be a member of a demos. Too often today, it can feel like we are technically enfranchised, with all over-18s enjoying the right to vote, but politically disenfranchised, as more and more of the big, society-shaping issues are taken off the political agenda. But with today’s vote, we’ve been properly enfranchised, properly entrusted, to decide the fate of our nation, and of the EU itself, to rearrange the world order, if we like.
    It is precisely the hugeness of this decision that we the people have been entrusted to make that has made the political and media elites look upon the referendum with fear and loathing. They despise the referendum, openly…

Read on.

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Thursday, 23 June 2016

The European Union: A critical assessment [updated]

 

Guest post by Marian Tupy

The European Union (EU) is a culmination of a long process of economic and political integration among European states. The EU started as a free trade area and a customs union. Over time, it has become a supranational entity that resembles a federal state and is governed by a byzantine bureaucracy in Brussels. The EU claims to have brought about prosperity and stability in Europe, but those claims are increasingly at odds with reality. Europe is becoming worryingly unstable and is falling behind other regions in terms of economic growth. The EU model, which is marked by overregulation and centralization, seems increasingly out of place in today’s world. What European countries need in the coming decades is openness, rather than regional protectionism, and flexibility, rather than overregulation from Brussels. Above all, what European governments need to do is to reconnect with their increasingly restless electorates, rather than ignore the latter for the sake of the unwanted goal of a European superstate.

Continue to full version

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RELATED POSTS:

  • “I have repeatedly talked about how the very structure of the EU self-selects for sociopaths and/or worse, but perhaps not enough about how that was deliberately built into the design. A feature not a flaw.”
    The European Union’s Dark Secret—–It Was Founded In Deception With An Anti-Democratic Design – David Stockman, CONTRA CORNER
  • “Britons voting in the referendum to leave the EU should be reminded that leaving the EU does not mean leaving Europe… Britain is already outside both the monetary union and Schengen agreement on free travel (making the Brexit vote nothing at all about immigration), while countries both inside and outside the EU are outside and inside both.”
    From what exactly would Britain be Brexiting? – NOT PC
  • More ignorance put to the sword than a Martin Bradbury blog post being fed through a very sharp shredder.
    NZ Herald wrong about EU referendum – LIBERTY SCOTT
  • “I don't delude myself that Britain is suddenly going to become a paragon of individual liberty if a majority votes for Brexit next Thursday…
    “A win for Leave [however] will be a small step on the way back to the truly liberal society Britain once was. A vote for Remain will be the very end of the road for that great tradition.”
    Brexit could be a small step back to Great Britain – KIWIWIT
  • British Member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan invites British voters to make him redundant.
    Brits: Make this politician redundant – NOT PC

Get your effing hands out of my car!

 

The Automobile Association says GPS devices could be installed in every Auckland car, tracking where and when the driver goes around the city, as part of governent moves to introduce a form of road tolling in the city.

You know what: fuck you.

AA principal adviser Barney Irvine said the system would not be a road toll as we traditionally know it, but would cover the whole Auckland region and replace the fuel tax.
    Motorists would receive a bill based on the number of kilometres they travelled on which roads and at what times.
    "This is a very different proposition to what we saw come out of Auckland Council last year with a proposed motorway user charge," Irvine said.

The idea is that stealing from Auckland drivers as they travel around the city, or try to, will “manage demand” and make it easy to get around – and, not incidentally, to make a pile of money out of mototists at the same time (because anyone who believes this would replace a fuel tax should be immediately removed of the power to vote on the grounds of  being too simple to understand how politics works.)

However, there were numerous issues to consider, Irvine said. [You think? – Ed.]
    Fitting every car in the city with a GPS device would be a big job.
    "It's no easy task when you consider the average age of our fleet is 13-14 years old. It would be a stretch for a lot of people."

It would be a stretch even getting one into my car, which like many classic cars is well over 14 years old and entirely devoid of electronics, thank you very much.

There were also privacy concerns, he said. [You think!? – Ed.] "There's no precedent here for something as ubiquitous as this that spans the whole city and all drivers."

My immediate reaction is this: Keep your effing hands out of my car!

And you know what? After some thought, that’s my considered response as well. We roll over on this stuff far too easily.

You want a toll network, that’s a whole different question. And we can have that discussion if you wish. We can talk about choosing to use toll roads; about choosing to install a reader for those roads; about the increasing importance of making these roads private to keep our private information about how and where we’re getting around away from Big Brother.  But to blandly suggest ongoing govt surveillance simply for their pricing convenience shows how little respect is left for privacy and property. Because to quote from the blogger at No Right Turn, who mercifully lives miles away from this increasingly-congested place:

A GPS in every car, tracking you everywhere you go? This isn't a toll system - its a fucking surveillance network.
Again, once the information is collected, it is useable by other government agencies. The police can already access toll-road records through the production order system (or
simply by asking); this would let them get everywhere you have ever been. And they wouldn't even have to pay for the tracking device - you'd have to buy it for them in order to be allowed to drive.
    Fuck that shit. Lets keep our privacy. Lets say "no" to spy-roads.

Yes. Let’s.

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Alan Duff on the “bone-headed” Harawira

 

What do you call a "leader" with no idea to where me might lead his followers, or what he might lead them into? Answer, says Alan Duff of Hone Harawira: "bone-headed."

After a career of non-achievement, Harawira has just announced another "comeback," another effort in another election to lead “his people” who knows where. Another from “the bone-headed fighter? No thanks,” says Duff.

Duff, author of Once Were Warriors and co-founder of the tremendously successful Books in Schools programme, recognises Hone as just another blowhard who sees politics itself as the only game in town – a game where you seek out failure as a route to power without ever offering a solution of your own to bless it.

A man with a hero-complex is not what Maoridom needs. They - our people - do not need someone pandering to our lowest common denominator, telling them their failures are not their fault but the fault of rich white people, greedy capitalists, a stacked system, government, all on the assumption these people are incapable of helping themselves.
    Not once have we heard offered a solution to "poor" people's woes, to "poverty." He came up with no ideas on creating employment. Nor use of Northland Maori land.
    No ideas on instilling an education ethos in the outlook of the very culture of those he claims to be fighting for. His ideas were and still are zilch.
    He hasn't demonstrated by a single gesture that maybe he should take a less hardline stance. Oh, no. Not Hone. He's the self-described "fighter." Whoopee, that's gonna put a lot of Maori into their own homes and give them jobs, lift us up to the educated, aspiring middle class, a scrapper representing us.

Hone is not alone in seeking political power with no particular end or goal but the political power itself. Just the most obvious.

 Had Hone opened up by saying yes, he's making a comeback, now let's start with the awful fact that yet another Maori has murdered a child. Followed by ideas on what to do about it. A book on parenting skills, perhaps, Hone? Nah. Too hard. …
    He wants to lead. Not as in heading a large number of Maori into the Promised Land.
    He just wants to be a heroic figurehead yet don't dare subject him to scrutiny or criticism…

When you do scrtch that surface, you don’t find a warrior – you find only the crybaby underneath.

Maoridom doesn't need tough-guy rhetoric, or protest for its own sake, a ceaseless outpour of negativity and blame-laying…
    He could
try sitting down with people who are reasonable and come up with solutions to end Maori poverty and all our other problems….

Yes, he could try. But he wouldn’t be interested. Too few headlines. Too little interest. Because those who pursue political power are not about solutions. That’s because if the problems they go on about go away, so too, they think, does their powerbase. They feed on misery like flies on dung.

Such sham redeemers love poverty—of course, poverty of others. They remind me of Ayn Rand’s ‘Fountainhead.’ In this novel, Rand has beautifully delineated the personality of the socialist art critic Elsworth Toohey, a key character in the novel:
“You’re a maggot, Elsie,” she [his aunt] told him once. “You feed on sores.” “Then I will never starve,” he answered.
Nor will the NGOs. They feed on sores, wounds, lacerations—the more the merrier. Wherever there are sores and wounds, they ensure that the wounds are not healed, so that they can, like maggots, feed on them.

Politicians feast on misery.

Hone is just another politician.

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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

60 Policies from One Year of Donald Trump

 

It's been one year of Trump already; let's review his top suggestions to “make America great again.”

Guest post by David Bier


One year ago, Donald Trump thrust his bizarre, erratic, and incomprehensible campaign on the world. Much has been said since about Trump’s "rhetoric" during his campaign — the racism, sexism, incivility, and much else besides — but rhetoric is not what makes a Trump administration a unique threat to the country. It is his policy proposals that should receive our closest attention and concern.

Below is a list of nearly 60 “policies,” if you can dignify them with such a title, that Trump has proposed during his campaign. The list drives home how truly frightening a Trump presidency would be for the country and the world. Skimming the surface of Trump’s stream of consciousness brings out some particularly disturbing aspects of his agenda: notably, the way he singles out specific businesses and individuals for targeting by the government, as well as his obsessions with China, Mexico, Muslims, and immigrants.

Perhaps worst of all, Trump’s proposals expose how broad he thinks the powers of the presidency are: virtually infinite. There is never a glimmer of understanding that the government is bound by the Constitution, that the federal government has limited scope and authority, or that president is just one of three equal branches of the federal government.

Instead, it is Trump, and Trump alone, who will transform American laws, government, and society, from the top down. Trump will bomb and invade countries,Trump will steal their oil, Trump will kill deserters, torture suspects, bypass courts, ban Muslims, break treaties, and have the military do things like mass executions with bullets dipped in pigs' blood — all while getting Americans to say “Merry Christmas” again.

Well, all I can say is Merry Christmas, America. Here's what the primaries brought us this year.

KEY:
Bold:
attack on individual or business.
Italics: attack on Mexico or China.
Underlined: attack on immigrants and/or immigration.

June 2015

  1. Make Ford Scrap Expansion Plan in Mexico
    August 2015
  2. Deport 11 Million Immigrants
  3. Triple Number of Deportation Agents
  4. Force Cities and States to Help Deport Immigrants
  5. Force Mexico to Pay for Wall on US Border
  6. Strip US Citizenship from Babies Born to Immigrants
    September 2015
  7. Use FCC to Fine His Critics, Rich Lowry
  8. Place 35% Tariff on Ford Cars Made in Mexico
  9. "We Will Break" North American Free Trade Agreement
  10. “Government Will Pay” for Health Care for “Everyone”
    October 2015
  11. Deport Syrian Refugees Legally in the US
  12. Soldiers Who Desert Should Be Shot
  13. Spend Tens of Billions on Border Wall
  14. Keep Troops in Afghanistan
    November 2015
  15. Kill TPP Free Trade Agreement
  16. Get Americans to Say "Merry Christmas"
  17. Create Special Deportation Force to Remove Immigrants
  18. “Bomb the S***” Out of Syria
  19. Close Mosques in the United States
  20. Create Database for Muslims
  21. Bypass Courts in Mass Deportation Plan
    December 2015
  22. Restart Warrantless Surveillance, Metadata Collection
  23. Kill Family Members of Terrorists
  24. Washington Post Is a "Tax Shelter" for Amazon, Jeff Bezos
  25. Ban All Muslim Travel to US
  26. Shut Down "Parts" of the Internet
  27. Issue Executive Order Mandating the Death Penalty for Killing Police
    January 2016
  28. Impose 45% Tariff on Chinese Products
  29. Throw Bowe Bergdhal Out of a Plane in Afghanistan
    February 2016
  30. Tells Supporters to Knock Out Protesters
  31. Use Eminent Domain for Economic Development
  32. Tax Carrier-brand Air Conditioners Made in Mexico
  33. Force Apple, Tim Cook to Break into iPhone for FBI
  34. Keep Obamacare’s Individual Mandate for Health Insurance
  35. Praises Mass Executions of Captured Soldiers with Bullets Dipped in Pigs Blood
  36. Threatens Donor for Giving to Opponent’s Campaign
  37. Prosecute Hillary Clinton
  38. Proposes “Trade War” with China
  39. “Open Up Libel Laws” to Sue Critical Press
    March 2016
  40. Force Apple to Make iPhones in US, not China
  41. Force Military to Follow Illegal Orders
  42. Prosecute Ed Snowden for "Spying" for Russia
  43. “Torture” Terrorism Suspects
  44. Increase Military Spending
  45. Steal Iraqis' Oil
  46. “Pause” Legal Immigration
  47. Send 20,000 or 30,000 Troops to Middle East
  48. Trump Could Envision a Nuclear First Strike
  49. Appoint Supreme Court Justice to Investigate Clinton’s Email
    April 2016
  50. Raise Taxes on the Wealthy
    May 2016
  51. Threatens Pfizer, Carrier, Ford, and Nabisco With 35% Tariff
  52. Increase Minimum Wage
  53. “Go After” Amazon for Anti-Trust and Taxes
  54. Bomb Libya
  55. Threatens “Mexican” Federal Judge Trying His Case
    June 2016
  56. Threatens PGA for Moving Golf Tournament from Trump's Resort to Mexico City
  57. “Keep Business Out of Mexico”
  58. Ban All People from Countries with "History of Terrorism"
  59. Surveillance of US Mosques
  60. Ban Guns for People on Secret "Watch Lists"
  61. Imprison People Who Don't Inform on Their Neighbours


David Bier is an immigration policy analyst at the Niskanen Center.
He is an expert on visa reform, border security, and interior enforcement.
This post first appeared at FEE.

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Quote of the Day: What a Brexit win might mean

 

“I don't delude myself that Britain is suddenly going to become a paragon of individual liberty if a majority votes for Brexit next Thursday…
“A win for Leave [however] will be a small step on the way back to the truly liberal society Britain once was. A vote for Remain will be the very end of the road for that great tradition.”

~ Kiwiwit, from his post ‘Brexit could be a small step back to Great Britain

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Makers v takers

 

Victoria University researchers have been struggling to answer what they say is the “complex” question of why welfare fraudsters and tax evaders are viewed differenttly.

Lindsay Mitchell answers it quite simply: it’s because the money kept by tax evaders is their own, they made it; whereas the money taken by welfare fraudsters is not, they acquired it by fraud.

So when an individual attempts to keep more of what he has created there is less anger than when someone tries to take what he hasn't. That is why society has greater tolerance (and exhibits it through the courts) for tax evasion than welfare fraud.

Simple enough?

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How to create starvation in 2016

 

Bylund

 

How to Create Starvation in 2016
Guest post by Jeffrey Tucker

One of the great achievements of the human mind is having produced a solution to the single greatest challenge of life on earth: getting enough to eat. Shelter and clothing are no brainers by comparison. You find a cave, you snag a pelt, and you are good to go.

But finding food to eat is a daily issue for human beings, never finally solved. You need more than a stock of food; you need a system that produces a continual flow.

In 2016, we finally have such a system in place, one capable of supporting 7.4 billion people. It’s so robust at this point that the developed world has the opposite problem of obesity -- which, in the course of social evolution, is a nice problem to have.

Tucker1The creation of this system – which you can see on display at any grocery store in your own neighborhood – defied the expectations of legions of doubters in the 19th century. Population then was booming beyond belief. How would they be fed? Most intellectuals couldn’t imagine how it could happen.

And yet it did. So complex, well developed, and productive is the global market for food that it turns out to be extremely hard to break the system. To create starvation in 2016 requires extraordinary effort. It requires a comprehensive system of coercion that attacks all the institutions that make abundance possible: ownership, international trade, an adaptive price system, the right of commercial innovation.

Socialism Strikes Again

Such a system does exist, however. It goes by the name “socialism.” It is being tried today in a country that was once wealthy, comfortable, and civilized: a country with the largest oil reserves in the world.

Yes, it seems like fiction. It’s not. In one country in particular, over the course of 16 years of unrelenting destruction of property rights and human rights, step by gruesome step, socialism has resulted in unthinkable scenes of human suffering.

That country is Venezuela. It began under the rule of Hugo Chavez and now continues under the rule of his successor Nicolás Maduro. As bad, grafting, and despotic as their intentions, it is not likely the case that they intended to create starvation. Rather, they sought to bring about all the promises of socialism: fairness, equality, an end to exploitation, justice, and so on. But you look around and what you see instead is the end of everything we call civilization.

I can do no better than to quote at length from the New York Times report from yesterday:

CUMANÁ, Venezuela — With delivery trucks under constant attack, the nation’s food is now transported under armed guard. Soldiers stand watch over bakeries. The police fire rubber bullets at desperate mobs storming grocery stores, pharmacies and butcher shops. A 4-year-old girl was shot to death as street gangs fought over food.

Venezuela is convulsing from hunger.

Hundreds of people here in the city of Cumaná, home to one of the region’s independence heroes, marched on a supermarket in recent days, screaming for food. They forced open a large metal gate and poured inside. They snatched water, flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, potatoes, anything they could find, leaving behind only broken freezers and overturned shelves.

And they showed that even in a country with the largest oil reserves in the world, it is possible for people to riot because there is not enough food.

In the last two weeks alone, more than 50 food riots, protests and mass looting have erupted around the country. Scores of businesses have been stripped bare or destroyed. At least five people have been killed….

The economic collapse of recent years has left it unable to produce enough food on its own or import what it needs from abroad. Cities have been militarised under an emergency decree from President Nicolás Maduro, the man Mr. Chávez picked to carry on with his revolution before he died three years ago.

“If there is no food, there will be more riots,” said Raibelis Henriquez, 19, who waited all day for bread in Cumaná, where at least 22 businesses were attacked in a single day last week.

But while the riots and clashes punctuate the country with alarm, it is the hunger that remains the constant source of unease.

Tucker2A staggering 87 percent of Venezuelans say they do not have money to buy enough food, the most recent assessment of living standards by Simón Bolívar University found.

About 72 percent of monthly wages are being spent just to buy food, according to the Center for Documentation and Social Analysis, a research group associated with the Venezuelan Teachers Federation.

In April, it found that a family would need the equivalent of 16 minimum-wage salaries to properly feed itself.

Ask people in this city when they last ate a meal, and many will respond that it was not today.

Among them are Leidy Cordova, 37, and her five children — Abran, Deliannys, Eliannys, Milianny and Javier Luis — ages 1 to 11. On Thursday evening, the entire family had not eaten since lunchtime the day before, when Ms. Cordova made a soup by boiling chicken skin and fat that she had found for a cheap price at the butcher.

“My kids tell me they’re hungry,” Ms. Cordova said as her family looked on. “And all I can say to them is to grin and bear it.”

Other families have to choose who eats. Lucila Fonseca, 69, has lymphatic cancer, and her 45-year-old daughter, Vanessa Furtado, has a brain tumor. Despite also being ill, Ms. Furtado gives up the little food she has on many days so her mother does not skip meals.

“I used to be very fat, but no longer,” the daughter said. “We are dying as we live.”

Her mother added, “We are now living on Maduro’s diet: no food, no nothing.”...

Sugar fields in the country’s agricultural center lie fallow for lack of fertilisers. Unused machinery rots in shuttered state-owned factories. Staples like corn and rice, once exported, now must be imported and arrive in amounts that do not meet the need.

In response, Mr. Maduro has tightened his grip over the food supply. Using emergency decrees he signed this year, the president put most food distribution in the hands of a group of citizen brigades loyal to leftists, a measure critics say is reminiscent of food rationing in Cuba.

“They’re saying, in other words, you get food if you’re my friend, if you’re my sympathiser,” said Roberto Briceño-León, the director of the Venezuelan Violence Observatory, a human rights group.

It was all a new reality for Gabriel Márquez, 24, who grew up in the boom years when Venezuela was rich and empty shelves were unimaginable. He stood in front of the destroyed supermarket where the mob had arrived at Cumaná, an endless expanse of smashed bottles, boxes and scattered shelves. A few people, including a policeman, were searching the wreckage for leftovers to take.

“During Carnival, we used to throw eggs at each other just to have some fun,” he said. “Now an egg is like gold.”...

At the same time, the government also blames an “economic war” for the shortages. It accuses wealthy business owners of hoarding food and charging exorbitant prices, creating artificial shortages to profit from the country’s misery.

It has left shop owners feeling under siege, particularly those who do not have Spanish names.

“Look how we are working today,” said Maria Basmagi, whose family immigrated from Syria a generation ago, pointing to the metal grate pulled over the window of her shoe store.

Her shop was on the commercial boulevard in Barcelona, another coastal town wracked by unrest last week. At 11 a.m. the day before, someone screamed that there was an attack on a government-run kitchen nearby. Every shop on Ms. Basmagi’s street closed down in fear.

Other shops stay open, like the bakery in Cumaná where a line of 100 people snaked around a corner. Each person was allowed to buy about a pound of bread.

Robert Astudillo, a 23-year-old father of two, was not sure there would be any left once his turn came. He said he still had corn flour to make arepas, a Venezuelan staple, for his children. They had not eaten meat in months.

“We make the arepas small,” he said.

In the refrigerator of Araselis Rodriguez and Nestor Daniel Reina, the parents of four small children, there was not even corn flour — just a few limes and some bottles of water.

The family had eaten bread for breakfast and soup for lunch made from fish that Mr. Reina had managed to catch. The family had nothing for dinner.

It has not always been clear what provokes the riots. Is it hunger alone? Or is it some larger anger that has built up in a country that has crumbled?

Inés Rodríguez was not sure. She remembered calling out to the crowd of people who had come to sack her restaurant on Tuesday night, offering them all the chicken and rice the restaurant had if they would only leave the furniture and cash register behind. They balked at the offer and simply pushed her aside, Ms. Rodríguez said.

“It is the meeting of hunger and crime now,” she said.

As she spoke, three trucks with armed patrols drove by, each emblazoned with photos of Mr. Chávez and Mr. Maduro.

The trucks were carrying food.

“Finally they come here,” Ms. Rodríguez said. “And look what it took to get them. It took this riot to get us something to eat.”

Sometimes people wonder why people like me are so passionate about free markets and all that they imply. In the end, it is about the quality of life on earth. Will we thrive or will we starve? This is what economics is about. And it is not an abstract problem.

Any country on earth is capable of creating starvation. You only need to follow the path of Venezuela. Attack property rights and trade, pillage the rich, abolish the price system, jail dissenters, crush the opposition, dismantle the system of natural liberty that has fed the world.

This is socialism. It is the path to Hell on earth.


Jeffrey A. Tucker

 
Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education and CLO of the startup Liberty.me. Author of five books, and many thousands of articles, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events.
His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the WorldFollow on Twitter and Like on Facebook.

This post first appeared at the Foundation for Economic Education website.

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Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The Keynesian Blessing: People Are Broke

 

Guest post by William Anderson

_KeynesWriter Neal Gabler recently “confessed” his “secret shame” in an Atlantic Monthly article on how a huge percentage of the middle-class are living beyond their means, existing paypacket-to-paypacket, and are mired in personal debt. He writes:

I never spoke about my financial travails, not even with my closest friends—that is, until I came to the realisation that what was happening to me was also happening to millions of others, and not just the poorest among us, who, by definition, struggle to make ends meet. It was, according to that Fed survey and other surveys, happening to middle-class professionals and even to those in the upper class. It was happening to the soon-to-retire as well as the soon-to-begin. It was happening to uni graduates as well as high-school dropouts. It was happening all across the country, including places where you might least expect to see such problems. I knew that I wouldn’t have $400 in an emergency. What I hadn’t known, couldn’t have conceived, was that so many others wouldn’t have the money available to them, either.

The article is worth reading if only to track the spending habits and lifestyle of someone who has done well income-wise, but now is caught in a huge financial trap, and things will only deteriorate from there. Gabler tries to find and fix the blame, and it ranges from the banks to individuals to “keeping up with the Joneses.” That is all well and good, but he fails to point out the role of central banks and the American Federal Reserve System and the poisonous ideology that undergirds all their actions: Keynesianism.

No Emergency Funds: A Triumph for Keynesians

There is a sad irony in Gabler’s article, and that is that what he understands as a real financial crisis in middle-class households actually is the ideal state of things via the Keynesian lens of economic thinking. In the upside-down world of Keynesianism, the fact that most of the middle class now live hand-to-mouth without any appreciable savings is a triumph and is the key to prosperity, at least in the Land of Keynes. Let me explain.

In the 1950s, the so-called Keynesian Revolution began to steamroll its way through university faculties as “The New Economics” became the rage. John Maynard Keynes, in his alleged “path-breaking” book,The General Theory, had demonstrated that far from blessing an economy with the means of capital formation, household savings instead were actually a curse and when “too many” households saved too much money, the so-called Paradox of Thrift would take hold and actually drive down the economy into the dreaded Liquidity Trap.

Keynes1The middle class at the time were not aware of this new Holy Doctrine and continued to save. For example, I knew a single mother who for most of her working career made little more than minimum wage, yet upon retirement was able to purchase a home with cash for $100K and she has continued to live well into her 90s. Her mother and father were poor farmers, yet they managed to save an astonishing amount of money despite their very low incomes.

This was not unusual back then. Americans especially were known for their savings habits and continued to save even as Keynesian economists began to admonish them for denying that the economy needed “spending” to keep us at “full employment.” Like all Progressives, Keynesians believed that if people were not willing to do what they considered necessary, in this case, to allegedly sustain full employment levels, then the federal government would need to “nudge” them in compliance. Politicians were all-too-happy to earn the praise of the professoriate while also getting their chance to use their nudging gun.

And so little by little governments changed the economic landscape in order to conform to the Keynesian “ideals.” The most important official change in policy was the promotion of inflation. True, officials claimed that inflation was a bad thing, and could be “fixed” by application of wage and price controls, but at the Keynesian-dominated central banks and American Federal Reserve System, officials already were setting “inflation goals” in order to keep the economy from slipping into deflation.

While Keynesian “theory” sprouts many myths, one of the main ones is that inflation (read, monetary debasement) helps to create full-employment and that it is necessary because, if left to its own devices, a free-market economy quickly will deteriorate into a downward deflationary spiral and end up in a perverse “equilibrium” in which unemployment is high and economic activity is low. Only inflation can stop the spiral, and if it isn’t “high enough,” according to Keynesians, then the system will implode into the depths of deflationary depression.

To Austrian economists, none of this makes sense, at least if one is speaking about real economics, not politics. If Keynes were correct, then the government’s inaction during the recession of 1921 would have resulted in a major depression during the 1920s.

For that matter, since the government had not intervened in previous depressions and recessions, the Keynesian logic would have meant that the US economy would have been in permanent depression – and that upon exiting WWII and drastically dropping government spending governments would have started depressions and not recovery.

The Benefits of Saving and Investment

The historical results parallel economic theory. Economies do not grow because governments inject doses of  “aggregate demand;” they grow because entrepreneurs develop better uses of factors of production that permit more goods to be produced and also allow for more resources to be applied in areas where they have not been used, or at least used in lesser amounts.

Take the development of the washing machine, for example. Before washing machines were developed and made available to households, washing clothes was a huge chore that might take at least one day and maybe even longer than that. For the most part, household laundry chores were performed by women who worked for hours to clean clothes and other materials.

CaptureWashing machines, however, enabled housewives to do more laundry in less time, thus allowing them to apply some of their other skills elsewhere. Multiply this sort of thing across an economy, by putting capital together to make these new inventions, and one can have an idea how the development of such goods enables economic growth, which enables to the development of even more goods, and on and on.

Contra Paul Krugman and other modern-day Keynesians however, capital formation does not exist as a “given.” Instead, capital formation not only is a function (to use a mathematical term loosely) of savings, it must be so because modern economies involve a mix of capital and consumer goods, and their ratios are related to individual time preferences. One cannot consume all of its present production and simultaneously abstain from consumption in order to create capital goods that will produce more consumption goods in the future.

For example, if people (like our ancestors) are willing to save large portions of their incomes, it is not because they are irrational or are “hoarding” money (as Krugman would tell us), but rather because they wish to postpone some current consumption in order to be able to consume more in the future. Investors take that savings pool and then invest in the kinds of capital goods that would allow for the creation of even more goods to be consumed at a future time.

The key indicator in whether or not investors are going to invest in long-term capital (that results in fewer consumption goods made in the short run, but brings about much more consumption in the long run) is the interest rate. In a free-market economy, low interest rates mean that individuals are saving large amounts of their income, making a larger pool of “liquid capital” available, while high interest rates indicate that consumers prefer to consume now and save less — precisely the state of things right now.

Keynesians, on the other hand, claim that since the true economic “multiplier” is equal to 1 over the rate of savings, then the less a society saves, the more economic growth that economy will experience. (For example, if all individuals in a society save 10 percent of income, then that economy has a multiplier of 10. If the individuals save 5 percent, then the multiplier is 20. It reminds me of the ditty we used when I was in school in which we “proved” that the less we studied, the more we knew.)

Low Interest Rates vs. Reality

Of course, interest rates are not high, and certainly do not reflect current societal time-preferences. A society featuring a dearth of savings should have high rates, not low ones. Neal Gabler’s article, that I began with above, chronicles a life of spending and not saving -- whether it is paying for a daughter’s wedding or coming up with large amounts of money to pay for a pricey elite college education for the children. With central banks suppressing interest rates to less than 1 percent, there almost is no incentive for people to put money into savings accounts, given there is almost no appreciable return, and few of us are equipped to enter the equities markets without making serious investment errors. Multiply that across the economy and one finds a dearth of savings and a preference for present consumption — exactly what Keynes and his modern-day followers claim is the formula for prosperity: we spend ourselves into wealth.

So, we are left with a huge irony. We have low interest rates, but clearly the kind of real long-term capital investment is not common in most economies at the present time. (Of course, given the hostility of the American Political Class to private investment and given the fact that Sanders is running a campaign based on attacking and ultimately destroying private enterprise in the USA (with Clinton not far behind), American investors are reading the tea leaves and taking their money elsewhere, something that infuriates the Political Class. Not surprisingly, the Political Class is demanding laws that effectively would build a Berlin Wall around American investment, making it illegal for Americans to invest outside America. One does not need to be very astute to know immediately what a disaster that would bring, but given that the Political Class exists by looting others, its members would be somewhat shielded from the economic carnage.)

Lest anyone doubt that current American savings rates are low, the chart below presents an ominous picture. It also demonstrates beyond a doubt that the biggest offender in conducting policies that discouraged savings was not the Obama administration — as bad as it is  but the Bush administration with its housing bubble that exposed what Peter Schiff often has called the “phony economy.”  If you want to see the reason for America’s “rust belt” and the demise of many of its once-great manufacturing cities, then this is among the greatest of them:

Personal saving rate

The chart itself exposes much about the past 35 years that is harmful to the economy. Yes, there has been the rise of the high-technology sector and the improvements in transportation and telecommunications, thanks to the deregulation efforts of the Carter administration (something for which Carter never takes credit because his Democratic Party ideology tells him that private enterprise and profit are bad things).

CapThe steepest drop in the rate of savings came with the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, and I don’t think that we should be surprised that during those years, the Fed actively pushed down interest rates and helped create two massive financial bubbles, each of which burst and created destruction in their wake. From the Fed’s own statistics, savings has somewhat recovered during the Barack Obama years, even though Obama’s administration is extremely hostile toward savers.

But here we are. After decades of what essentially could be called a new “Industrial Revolution” with the advent of computers and the internet, the US government has managed through its monetary authorities and through its other policies to decimate savings and leave millions of Americans financially vulnerable.

It has been no accident. People are able to resist force only for so long before giving in, and given that the Keynesian war on savings has continued unfettered for decades, and has been blessed at the highest levels of government and academe, not to mention touted in the news media, we should not be surprised that people save less. We also should not be surprised to know that all of us will pay a steep price for this spendthrift way of life, even as the political classes scramble to protect themselves from the consequences of their actions.


anderson_0Bill Anderson is a professor of economics at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland. His Ph.D. in economics is from Auburn University, and he serves as an associate scholar with the Mises Institute.

He has published numerous articles and papers on economics and political economy, including articles in The Independent Review, Reason Magazine, The Free Market, The Freeman, Public Choice, The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, and others.

This post first appeared at the Mises Daily.

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AFL: Hot & bothered about an ice bath

 

7524728-3x2-700x467

Just one of many reasons I abhor the local media: it does precisely zero to report on AFL, yet the second it sees any kind of controversy in AFL it jumps in to report it.

Dickheads.

Anyway, if you do have an interest in the story they reported -- of AFL chairmen Eddie McGuire, James Brayshaw et al joking about Caroline Wilson, one of the few journalists to ask them hard questions (even if she does write them up for the paper at the worthy end of the spectrum) – you may (or may not) enjoy her response on the Footy Classified show last night.

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5 chemistry facts to know before opening your mouth

 

In our ongoing efforts here at NOT PC to help you avoid looking like an idiot out in public, here are five things you need to know before holding forth on the self-congratulatory Hippy Issue of the Day – “five rudimentary facts about chemistry that you must grasp before you are even remotely qualified to make an informed decision about medicines, vaccines, food, etc.”:

1). Everything is made of chemicals
[Hence :] A “chemical-free lifestyle” is totally impossible…
It’s also worth noting that the length of a chemical’s name does not indicate how toxic it is…

2). The dose makes the poison
No chemical is inherently safe or inherently dangerous…essentially all chemicals are safe at a low enough dose, and essentially all chemicals are toxic at a high enough dose. This is a fundamental fact that people in the anti-science movement routinely ignore…

3). There is no difference between “natural” and “synthetic” versions of a chemical
[So]…as long as the chemical structure is the same, it doesn’t matter if the chemical was extracted from a plant or synthesised in a lab.

4). “Natural” chemicals are not automatically good and “artificial” chemicals are not automatically bad
…this claim is nothing more than an appeal to nature fallacy. Nature is full of chemicals such as cyanide and arsenic that are dangerous at anything but a very low dose, so there is no reason to think that the “naturalness” of a chemical is an indicator of its healthiness…
Further, remember that chemicals are nothing more than arrangements of elements. There is absolutely no reason to think that nature has produced all of the best arrangements or that we are incapable of making an arrangement that is safe or even better than what nature produced….

5). A chemical’s properties are determined by the other chemicals that it is bound to
Chemical compounds are made by combining different elements or even molecules, and the final product may not behave the same way as all of its individual parts. Sodium chloride is a classic example of this concept….

Much more simple detail to back up those main points here: '5 simple chemistry facts that everyone should understand before talking about science.'

[Hat tip Bill Evers.]

Here’s Tim Minchin:

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Transcript: No oxygen, just Newspeak

 

The Obama administration released the transcript of the Orlando murderer* making its 9/11 call, but severaly redacted in order not to give his causes what Margaret Thatcher called “the oxygen of publicity.” As with Thatcher’s efforts, the attempt simply added humour to the tragedy:

Orlando Police Dispatcher (OD)
Shooter (OM)
    OD: Emergency 911, this is being recorded.
    OM: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]
    OD: What?
    OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic].
           I let you know, I'm in Orlando and I did the shootings.
    OD: What's your name?
    OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted].
    OD: Ok, What's your name?
    OM: I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].
    OD: Alright, where are you at?
    OM: In Orlando.
    OD: Where in Orlando?
[End of call.]

* PS: No, I won’t be using the murderer’s name. I have a policy:

Brexit B.S.

 

Liberty Scott points out that Granny Herald knows even less about the Brexit vote and Europe than it does about the news happening under its feet.

…its editorial on the issue is  woeful, it misses the point and is dotted with errors.  There is nothing in the editorial about the key problems with EU membership, around how EU laws are developed undemocratically (introduced by the European Council, MEPs can't introduce legislation), how the EU is inordinately wasteful including on policies that harm New Zealand's economy (including the Common Agricultural Policy) and harm developing countries.  Nothing about the protectionism of the EU slowing the ability of the UK to trade freely with growing economies in Asia and Latin America. 

But apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the show? Not much:

  • “It's not true that no country has ever left the EU…”
  • “It's true that Brexit could encourage a break up of the EU, but is that necessarily a bad thing?”
  • “The Herald editorial paints the picture that Brexit somehow increases the chance of Russia invading the EU? Why?  NATO provides the security guarantee for its members, it isn't weakened by the UK leaving the EU - at all.  Why would it matter?”

More ignorance put to the sword than a Martin Bradbury blog post being fed through a very sharp shredder.

Read it all: NZ Herald wrong about EU referendum – LIBERTY SCOTT

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Everyone loves Calloway

 

Could I please invite my Tauranga readers, both of you, to head down to the record store Vinyl Destination in Devonport Rd and pick up either a long player or a short black.

Why? Beacuse they’ve just made a mess of a bureaucrat in a way that’s got folk laughing right around the globe.

Before we begin, let me introduce you to Calloway:

Cap5

As you can see, Calloway is a cat who guards record bins – and Calloway’s presence on those bins was the very reason the bureaucrat was drawn to the store, brought there by a wowser’s complaint. I quote here from an American pet website:

That complaint initially came in the form of a message to the store’s Facebook page… the message stated, “You shouldn’t be allowed to do it” and “This is terrible. This is a cat in a place where you sell food.”
    The person making the complaint also stated that having the cat in the store was unprofessional and disgusting, [store owner Luke] Wormald added.
    The “food” in reference was the coffee customers can get to go. Wormald told the paper that he pretty much told the person to get a life prompting “a call from the council saying they’ve had an anonymous phone call complaining about the cat.”

Fortunately sanity prevailed, as it sometimes does in this fine land, and so charmed was the visiting bureaucrat by Calloway that he remembered that while “Animals must not be allowed in any area used for the processing and handling of food,” pets however “may — at the discretion of the business — be allowed in customer areas provided food on display is protected from contamination.”

So apart from the anonymous wowser, everyone loves Calloway. And to that wowser store owner Luke Wormald has extended an invitation “just to make sure there's no animosity”:

You have a free coffee waiting for you anytime here, all we ask is that you apologise to Callaway first -- he’s still pretty dark and his feelings have been hurt badly through this ordeal.

To be fair, he seems pretty relaxed to me. Maybe because he knows just how much free advertising for the store the wowser has just bought them.

Here’s Cab Calloway:

[Hat tip Monica B.]

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Monday, 20 June 2016

Muslim Americans Are More Likely to Reject Violence than Many Groups

 

One of the many reasons I started this blog was to challenge readers with facts, thoughts and ideas that regularly challenge comfortable worldviews, all the better to keep you and I on our intellectual toes.

Ten years ago that meant explaining to people who didn’t want to know that even if we aren’t at war with Islam, that doesn’t mean it isn’t at war with us – and has been for some decades. It meant pointing out five years ago that calling for the death of evil idea does not mean calling for the death of a person.

Today, now that many folk have belatedly realised that the core ideas of Islam really are evil, it still means acknowledging the west is at war, and identifying and naming the enemy -- while pointing out that not everyone who purports to follow Islam is themselves evil; indeed, that virtually all of them are far better morally than the prophet they claim to follow.

Case in point: the compelling evidence offered in this guest post by David Bier and Matthew La Corte – which relates to more than just Muslims in America.


Muslim Americans Are More Likely to Reject Violence than Many Groups

US Muslims are tolerant, peaceful, and integrated into American society.
Guest post by David Bier & Matthew La Corte

Donald Trump has proposed profiling Muslim Americans and shutting down mosques. He claims that Muslim “hatred is beyond comprehension.” But the truth is that Muslim Americans are not only integrating into U.S. society, but are actually more opposed to violence and more tolerant than many other Americans.

Muslim Americans Hold Mainstream Religious and Political Views

US Muslims score higher than most on Gallup’s religious tolerance index.

Muslims are similar to other religious Americans. Pew’s major survey of Muslims in 2011 found that religion was equally important to Christian and Muslim Americans. Christians and Muslims also attend religious services with about the same frequency. Only 35 percent of Muslims saw their religion as the only true faith, compared to 30 percent of Christians. Like 64 percent of U.S. Christians, a majority of Muslim Americans think different religions can lead to eternal life. Pew even found that Muslims are much less prone to scriptural literalism than Evangelicals.

Most American Muslims arrived in the United States after 1990, yet they are almost as likely as Christians to prioritise their American identity over their religious identity. As matter of fact, Muslims are much more likely than Evangelical Christians to see themselves as Americans first. More than two-thirds of Evangelicals identify as Christians first and Americans second.

The fear that Muslim Americans might be more loyal to other Muslims around the world than they are to their own country is unfounded. Gallup’s major survey of American Muslims in 2010 found that Muslim Americans were the least likely of any American religious group to strongly identify with their coreligionists abroad.

Far from being clannish, Pew found that 93 percent of Muslim Americans had close non-Muslim friends. A majority reported that most of their friends were non-Muslim. At the same time, 92 percent of U.S. Muslims don’t oppose women working outside the home (98 percent of Americans agree).

Pew also found that 62 percent of Muslims said they were “OK” with Muslims marrying non-Muslims, and another 11 percent said it depends. American Christians were not asked this exact question, but in 2014, Pew found that 77 percent of white Evangelicals would be unhappy if an immediate family member married an atheist.

Pew finds that U.S. Muslims are politically moderate (38% moderate; 27% liberal; 25% conservative). They were also swing voters in the 2000s, first going strongly for George W. Bush in 2000 before flipping to John Kerry and Democrats since 2004.

Muslim Americans Are Less Likely to Support Intolerance, Violence

US Muslims were the only religious group that opposed the targeting of civilians.

While there are no good polls on the attitude of American Muslims toward Sharia religious law,* U.S. Muslims score higher than most other believers on Gallup’s “religious tolerance” index. The index categorizes individuals as either “isolated,” “tolerant,” or “integrated,” based on their level of agreement with five statements about other faiths. Not all Americans share Muslim Americans’ openness to other faiths. In fact, recent Public Policy Polling (PPP) polls found many Republicans in Iowa, North Carolina, and New Hampshire believe Islam should be banned.

In 2010, Gallup also asked whether “targeting and killing civilians by the military” can be justified. U.S. Muslims were the only religious group that opposed such targeting. Protestants, Jews, and Catholics believed it could be justified. Muslim Americans were also the most strongly opposed of any religious group to “targeting and killing by individuals or small groups.” Catholics, Protestants, and Jews were all more than twice as likely to support civilian strikes.

Muslims moving to the US are more moderate and assimilate quickly. Internationally, Muslim views are more varied. Gallup found strong support for Sharia law in several countries, and Pew found support for violence against civilians “in defense of Islam” at high levels in several Middle Eastern countries.

This suggests that either the Muslims moving to the U.S. are from the more moderate Muslim communities abroad or that they assimilate quickly. A combination of both is likely. Islamic totalitarians, such as ISIS, consider it a form of apostasy to emigrate from a Muslim society to a secular one. Meanwhile, in America, young Muslims are pioneering more liberal forms of Islam — or abandoning the faith.

Religious Extremism Is Not a Significant Threat

Even if 5 percent of U.S. Muslims view al-Qaeda favourably, does that mean we will face a constant barrage of attacks? Actually, no. It’s possible for large numbers of people to hold dangerous views on violence without acting on them, as evidenced above.

We should not let our lives be dictated by fear of terrorism – of any kind.

But here’s more evidence: according to a YouGov poll, some 4 percent of Americans (nearly 10 million adult Americans) support attacks on abortion providers. Another 7 percent are unsure if those attacks are immoral. There have been two dozen murders or attempted murders, as well as many other attacks by anti-abortion extremists since 1993, but we understand that nearly all pro-life proponents oppose this kind of violence and those that don’t would never act on their views.

Why don’t some people understand that the same is true for Muslims? The problem is that 83 percent of Americans dismiss violence by Christians as not being committed by “real” Christians, while only 48 percent do the same for Muslims. But the unpleasant reality is that other ideologies are also subject to distortion by violent extremists. The New America Foundation, for instance, finds that various ideologies that it identifies as “right-wing” have been responsible for 18 instances of deadly attacks and 48 deaths since 9/11, compared to 9 attacks and 45 deaths caused by jihadists.

Shutting down mosques and banning Muslims will not make America any safer. Rather than treating them as enemies, America should see Muslim Americans as allies in our fight for freedom and peace.

* Frank Gaffney, the conspiracy theorist founder of the Center for Security Policy, has online “polls” from “Muslims” that are certifiably bogus, as has been explained by others.


Dave Bier is an immigration policy analyst at the Niskanen Center. He is an expert on visa reform, border security, and interior enforcement.
Matthew La Corte is a Research Associate at the Niskanen Center where he focuses on immigration policy.
This post first appeared at the Niskanen Center in December 2015, and subsequently at FEE.


NB: Please read this before commenting: Commenters are welcome and are invited to challenge the facts presented herein. Commenters who wish to ignore them however will themselves be ignored.

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