Italy’s Fiscal and Demographic Death Spiral

July 5, 2016

An overly generous welfare state combined with demographic decline. There’s a recipe for national collapse.

International Liberty

European economic analysts are paying too much attention to the United Kingdom and too little attention to Italy.

Yes, the Brexit decision is important, and the United Kingdom is the world’s 5th-largest economy so it merits attention to see if there are any speed bumps as it escapes from the slowly sinking ship otherwise known as the European Union.

But one of the other passengers on that doomed ship is Italy, the world’s 8th-largest economy. And if the UK merits attention because of uncertainty on its way to a brighter future, then Italy should be getting five-alarm focus for its festering economic crisis as it descends into chaos.

Part of that crisis is quasi-permanent stagnation, as illustrated by this map showing changes in per-capita economic output since 1995.

To state that Italy is the slow student in the class is an understatement. There’s been a two-decade period with…

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(Video) Who’s more liberal on abortion: America or Europe?

May 23, 2016

The answers may surprise both conservatives and Europhiliac progressives alike:

Weird Related Fact: Here in the state of California, a minor can have an abortion without parental notification and consent. A legal adult, on the other hand, fully able to vote, sign binding contracts, and serve in the military, cannot buy a pack of cigarettes until he or she turns 21. Not sure what that says about us, but it can’t be good.


Brussels massacre: Your periodic reminder that they’re still trying to kill us

March 22, 2016

Fatwa this!

Brave knights of Allah waging jihad fi sabil Allah –“jihad for the sake of Allah”– bravely struck the Brussels airport and a subway station in Belgium this morning, killing at least 34 innocent people, wounding over 100 more.

But it’s a Religion of Peace, dontcha know?

A series of coordinated terror attacks in Brussels Tuesday have put Belgium on its highest threat level alert and sparked the U.S. Embassy there to warn American citizens in the city to shelter in place.

Multiple explosions targeted two locations in Brussels Tuesday morning. Two blasts struck a departure hall of Brussels Airport in Zaventem, and one occurred at the Maelbeek subway station.

The subway station is close to the offices of the European Union in central Brussels. At least one of the attacks is believed to have been the result of a suicide bomber.

Officials have confirmed that at least 31 people were killed in the attacks and 187 injured. Belgian media reports have indicated that the death toll has been elevated to 34.

“The level [of] threat in Belgium has been raised to 4 (maximum alert) with special emphasis on transport hubs, airports, stations, and nuclear plants,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said Tuesday.

Authorities have shuttered the subway system and closed the international airport in the wake of the attacks. Reports later Tuesday indicated that the Belgian nuclear plant close to the country’s border with Germany had been evacuated.

The attack came in the wake of the shooting and capture last week of Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris massacre of last November. A social media channel linked with ISIS has hinted at responsibility for the attack, but this hasn’t been confirmed.

Regardless, Belgian authorities have a lot of questions to answer about how this could happen. I’m not minimizing the challenges security services face –figures given by the head of the UK’s MI5 several years ago were mortifying, and intelligence agencies have to get it right every time, while terrorists have to be right only once — but still one has to ask how jihadists carrying explosives got past airport security. What weakness or flaw did they spot? Did they have inside help? The Belgian people and bereaved families will no doubt be demanding answers.

It’s also a somber reminder to us that, no matter how much we’d like to ignore the world outside our borders (whether America’s or the EU’s), that world will not ignore us. Despite one major party obsessing over electing the first woman president (solely because she’s a woman) and the other seemingly hell-bent on nominating a reality-show star, both of whom are utterly unqualified for office, we are still very much the targets in a very old war. The threat posed by the jihad is deadly serious, and the world needs an American president just as serious and who has a sober, realistic approach to his duties.

Meanwhile, good hunting to Belgian and European authorities as they hunt down these maniacs’ accomplices.

 


French President Approaches Cliff, Steps on Accelerator

January 19, 2016

France has been dirigiste since Louis XIV centralized all power under him, and the French leadership has been trapped in that intellectual straitjacket ever since. The idea of lowering the burden of government and letting market forces work is probably inconceivable to President Hollande — and most of his people.

International Liberty

When I wrote back in 2012 that France was committing fiscal suicide, I should have guessed that President Hollande would get impatient and push for even more statism.

Sure enough, the BBC reports that France’s President has a new plan. The ostensible goal is to reduce unemployment, but the practical effect is to expand the size and scope of government.

President Francois Hollande has set out a €2bn (£1.5bn) job creation plan in an attempt to lift France out of what he called a state of “economic emergency”. Under a two-year scheme, firms with fewer than 250 staff will get subsidies if they take on a young or unemployed person for six months or more. In addition, about 500,000 vocational training schemes will be created.

Needless to say, if subsidies and handouts were the key to job creation, France already would have full employment.

In reality, real jobs are created

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Britain Bracing for Extreme Winter, as Torrential Rain turns to Snow

January 11, 2016

Should this come to pass, it will of course be the fault of anthropogenic global warming, climate change, and the Dread Demon CO2, which can do anything. ANY-THING. (Say it after me, kiddies: “natural cycles.”)

Watts Up With That?

snow Could this be about to happen again? In January 2010, Britain was Covered in Snow

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to forecasters, Britain is bracing for extreme winter conditions which might last for months, as falling temperatures turn torrential rain into severe blizzards.

Arctic SNOWBOMB to smash into Britain: Coldest winter in 58 YEARS now just days away

BRITAIN faces WEEKS of freezing blizzards, crippling snowfall and brutal winter storms as a savage turn in the weather plunges the ENTIRE COUNTRY into winter lockdown.

Blistering Polar gales, several feet of snow and near-record low temperatures will grind the country to a standstill until MARCH, forecasters warn.

The first taste of what could be a historic whiteout arrived this weekend blanketing parts of Scotland and Yorkshire in thick snow.

A dramatic change in atmospheric conditions will drag a plume of freezing air from the North Pole across Britain through…

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British Officials Blame Climate Change for Floods

December 28, 2015

Say it after me, kiddies: “There is nothing the Dread Demon CO2 cannot do. Nothing.” I wonder what they think caused changes in flood patterns before the Industrial Age?

Watts Up With That?

Carlisle Civic Centre amid floodwater, author Rose and Trev Clough, source Wikimedia Carlisle Civic Centre amid floodwater, author Rose and Trev Clough, source Wikimedia

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Top British government officials have predictably blamed Climate Change for severe flooding which has afflicted England in recent weeks. But there has also been strong criticism of river management policies.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald;

London: Climate change is forcing England to re-assess its flood defences in the face of unprecedented river level surges, one of the United Kingdom government’s most senior environment officials says.

We are moving from a period of known extremes into a period of unknown extremes,” said David Rooke, deputy chief executive of the UK government’s Environment Agency, which manages the country’s rivers.
“We will need to re-assess all the defences right across the country.”

He linked the devastating Boxing Day floods, still engulfing swathes of the country, to climate change.

“What we are seeing are…

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From the farcical to the surreal: Putin endorses a grateful Trump

December 17, 2015
Fine as long as the mouth stays shut

Endorsed by dictators

When did I cross into Bizarro World?

Russia’s strongman took time out from bumping off political adversaries, putting his muscle in Iran’s service, and annexing other countries’ territory to praise GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump as “an outstanding and talented personality.”

A grateful Trump reacted: “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”

So, the currently leading Republican candidate is honored to be endorsed by a man intimidating and dismembering the countries around him, having opponents and critics assassinated, and generally acting like a global thug.

Analyst Tom Nichols offered this apt analogy:

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I won’t go as far as Tom did in another tweet and call Trump a “traitor,” but I do think he is a contemptible buffoon — and a dangerous one, should he win the nomination and the presidency.

Are we sure Rod Serling didn’t introduce this story?


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