As government continues to expand, finding ever more ways to feed itself through taxation, it seeks to justify this burgeoning existence. Enter the Nanny State.
New York is a leader in developing laws and regulations to protect us from ourselves, perhaps most famously with the Big Apple’s attempt to ban-large size sugary drinks. The Empire State has the highest cigarette taxes in the nation, which fuels a black market, and it places heavy restrictions on other “sins.” Continue reading »
Blue yard signs bearing the words “Yes on 14-55: Our Water, Our Future” dotted lawns throughout Hood River County, Oregon, in the run-up to the primary election held on May 17. Just as many of these signs appeared to share a lawn with a Cruz or Trump yard sign as with a Clinton or Sanders sign.
The issue that brought conservatives and progressives together in this way was clear-cut: keeping Nestlé Waters North America from building a water bottling plant and extracting over 118 million gallons annually from a spring in a small, rural community 45 miles east of Portland.
“We needed to act. It was our moment.”
When Primary Day came, Oregon voters in Hood River County passed a first-of-its-kind ballot measure that bans the production and transportation of large-scale commercial bottled water within the county. The measure succeeded by an overwhelming majority of voters — 68.8 percent voted in favor — and effectively ended Nestlé’s attempts to operate within the community.
Washington, D.C. – In 2015, the United States spent more on its war machine than the next six countries combined, with a total of $596 billion spent on military expenditures. This week the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with roughly $602 billion slated to be spent on military programs and armaments in the 2017 budget.
To put this amount in perspective, the U.S. spent more on its military than the next six nations combined, with China coming in second at $215 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia at $87 billion, Russia at $66 billion, with the United Kingdom, India and France spending roughly $50 billion each on defense expenses.
When looking at this spending in context, the U.S. not only spends more than the next six countries combined, but spends almost triple the amount on military expenses than the second biggest defense spender in the world, China, according to data from the Stockholm International Peach Research Institute. Continue reading »
Western Culture is built around ideals of individual choice and freedom. Millions of us fiercely defend our right to make “free” choices, while we ignore how we’re manipulated upstream by limited menus we didn’t choose.
This is exactly what magicians do. They give people the illusion of free choice while architecting the menu so that they win, no matter what you choose. I can’t emphasize how deep this insight is.
urosceptic, anti-immigration Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer won Austria’s Presidential election with 51.9 percent of the vote, official data from the Ministry of the Interior states. The figures could change when postal ballots are counted.
The Ministry states that Green Party candidate Alexander van der Bellen garnered only 48.1 percent of the ballots cast. Continue reading »
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest the far-right turn the government has signaled by choosing Avigdor Lieberman as Defense Minister. Activists say PM Benjamin Netanyahu is putting Israel on a path of war.
Demonstrators came together at HaBima Square in Tel Aviv, saying that by appointing Lieberman to head the military, Netanyahu had created the “most right wing government in the history of the State,” Israeli media reported.
“We think this government is a disaster for our country,” the Jerusalem Post quoted one of the organizers as shouting. “There is no future or vision.”
Protesters held up Peace Now signs and waved green left-wing Meretz party flags as they chanted slogans with Netanyahu’s nickname: “Bibi you failed, Bibi go home,” and “We don’t want more victims, Lieberman is a minister of war.” Continue reading »
An Afghan who once faced war crimes charges at Guantánamo has been cleared for release from the American military prison in Cuba, the US government has announced.
The Periodic Review Board, which conducts parole-style hearings for Guantánamo prisoners, determined it was no longer necessary to detain the man, known by the single name of Obaidullah. A statement announcing the decision was posted on a Pentagon website.
The board found that “the risks that the detainee presents can be adequately mitigated”, according to the three-paragraph statement. Continue reading »
Russia has not seen such a major military buildup close to its borders since 1941 when the Third Reich sent the Wehrmacht to conquer the Soviet Union, Professor Stephen F. Cohen said in his recent interview on The John Batchelor Show, referring to NATO’s increasingly assertive strategy in Eastern Europe and the Baltics.
One of Sweden’s most popular children’s writers, Jan Lööf, was recently told by his publisher that unless he makes his bestselling 1966 book, Grandpa is a Pirate, more politically correct by rewriting it and changing the illustrations, it will be taken off the market.
Taken to its extremes, the urge to cleanse a culture of elements that do not live up to the politically correct orthodoxy currently in political vogue unsettlingly echoes the Taliban and ISIS credos of destroying everything that does not accord with their Quranic views. The desire “not to offend,” taken to its logical conclusion, is a totalitarian impulse, which threatens to destroy everything that disagrees with its doctrines. Crucially, who gets to decide what is offensive?
The question arises: How much purging and expiation will be needed to render a country’s culture politically correct?
“When we have days of carnivals and music the goal is that these days should be experienced as positive by everyone. The Swedish flag is not allowed as part of carnival dress. … Positive and bright feelings must be in focus. … School photos must obviously be free of national symbols.” — Swedish school in Halmstad.
Rome covered up its classical nude statues for a visit from Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, in January 2016. A decade ago, who would have even imagined such sycophancy?
In 1966, one of Sweden’s most popular children’s writers, Jan Lööf, published Grandpa is a Pirate, an illustrated children’s book, which featured, among other characters, the wicked pirate Omar and the street peddler, Abdullah. The book has been a bestseller ever since, and has been translated into English (as My Grandpa is a Pirate), Spanish, French and other languages. Ten years ago, 100,000 copies of it were even distributed to the Swedish public with McDonald’s Happy Meals, as part of an initiative to support reading among children. Continue reading »
One month ago, pro-European voices in Austria, and all of Europe, were suddenly muted when in the first round of the Austrian presidential election, Norbert Hofer head of Austria Freedom Party (FPO), described as a “Euroskeptic, right-wing, anti-immigrant party” crushed his opposition buoyed by a migration crisis that has heightened fears about employment and security across the continent, and gathered a whopping 35% of the vote leaving the other five legacy candidates far behind. Today, Austria holds the decisive, run-off round between Norbert Hofer and former Greens leader Alexander van der Bellen, which according to preliminary opinions polls was set to be a close vote… although probably not that close.
On May 12, at dawn, members of Al Nusra and an allied Syrian rebel group known as Ahrar al-Sham stormed the Alawite village of Al-Zahraa, reportedly killing 19 people and abducting 120 others. In typical Salafist fashion, Ahrar al-Sham then posted a grisly YouTube video showing jihadis chanting Allahu akbar – “God is great” – and pointing in triumph to a bloody female body sprawled across the floor.
The incident, which occurred about 10 miles north of Aleppo, couldn’t have been more embarrassing for the United States since, just a day earlier, it had blocked a Russian proposal to formally designate Ahrar al-Sham as a terrorist group.
Under intense questioning, State Department spokesman John Kirby grew visibly flustered as he struggled to defend US policy.
“Portland school board bans climate change-denying materials,” reads headline in Portland Tribune.
A sad day for science.
19 May 2016 – In a move spearheaded by environmentalists, the Portland Public Schools board unanimously approved a resolution aimed at eliminating doubt of climate change and its causes in schools.
“It is unacceptable that we have textbooks in our schools that spread doubt about the human causes and urgency of the crisis,” said Lincoln High School student Gaby Lemieux in board testimony. Continue reading »