Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Bankrupt Finnish Welfare State

 A nice long article to keep you busy whilst I’m away. Enjoy!

Progressives in America are often keen on promoting the European welfare state as an argument for big government, not least in the healthcare debate. They point to European countries, often the social-democratic Nordic countries, as role models, with their universal healthcare, public school system, generous social-safety net, and all the happy people who live there.

This line of argument got a significant boost when Newsweek proclaimed that Finland was the best country in the world to live in, closely followed by Sweden and Switzerland. And of course they are happy. After all, there is no poverty in these great countries, the populace is educated, and people generally don’t have a care in the world, because the benevolent government is always there to solve every problem.

Many people have tried to dispel this myth, but it still persists. I don’t presume to be able to put this issue to rest, but there are some things that should be known about this mythical utopia, the “best country in the world” — Finland.

Government Education

Like other Scandinavian countries, Finland likes boasting about its public education system. All schools are run by the government, even the universities. There are no tuition fees for Finnish students. On the contrary, students actually get paid over 400 euros per month to get a degree, in addition to heavily subsidized student loans, student lunches, etc. Free higher education is seen as a right, and because it is a right it must be accessible. To this end, Finland has 20 universities and 27 polytechnics. This in a country with about 5.3 million people, of which 1 million live in the capital-city area, and where only five other cities have a population over 100,000.

One might think it great that there are so many places of higher learning in a country with so few inhabitants, a proof that its people are educated and civilized. Few things could be further from the truth.

First of all, the reason for having so many universities is regional politics. Politicians buy votes by creating and maintaining government jobs in depressed areas — the oldest trick in the book.

Second, the multitude of universities and polytechnics brings the overall level of education down, because such a small population can’t possibly maintain a high standard of education in so many different places. There simply aren’t enough competent people to go around, not to mention that many of the universities and polytechnics are located in less than desirable places. Only very few of the Finnish universities can lay claim to a really high standard of education. Of course, the economics education is subpar across the board.

Third, with higher education so accessible, it lures thousands of people every year to go for a degree, even though they have no business in the world of academia. This produces a great number of bachelors, masters, and PhDs who don’t have any value on the job market because they studied literature, art history, religious studies, or something like that. In many cases, they didn’t choose their major because they actually thought it would give them a job; they chose it because it seemed fun or interesting, or it was easier to get into than law school or medical school.

Unemployment among educated people has become a chronic problem. The other side of the coin is that Finland has long had an acute shortage of people with trade skills: carpenters, plumbers, mechanics, and so on — people who can actually provide a valuable service. The shortage has, predictably, driven up prices and prolonged delivery.

Universal Healthcare

Like the other Scandinavian countries, Finland has universal healthcare. This is one of the things many like to boast about. However, the healthcare system is bad even by the standards of universal healthcare.

First of all, it is not a single-payer system in the way you’d imagine a government-run and -financed healthcare system to be — i.e., where it is the central state that provides for and runs the system. Instead, the Finnish system is municipal. Every municipality is formally obliged to provide its citizens with healthcare. Of course, not every municipality can afford a hospital or even a health center. That is why Finland is divided into myriad healthcare districts, each served by hospitals and health centers located in some of the municipalities that make up each district. On the face of it, this may seem reasonable and good. After all, what’s the difference between national and municipal healthcare systems? A quite significant one, as it turns out.

A major problem with a municipal healthcare system is that it is very restrictive. Only people who are registered in the district are allowed to use the healthcare services there. If you have an emergency, you have the right to get treatment, but as soon as you’re out of the ICU, you have to transfer to a hospital in your own district. This has led to numerous cases where people have been shipped around from one place to another, at taxpayer expense, to accommodate these administrative rules.

One of the most bizarre examples of this was when a woman fell ill in the capital city, Helsinki. She was given emergency treatment, but as soon as the emergency was over she had to be transferred back to her own district, which was in Rovaniemi, over five hundred miles to the north. Bear in mind that just because you’re out of the emergency room you’re not necessarily all well and ready to be released. Because of the way the municipal healthcare system is set up, a sick individual had to be driven more than five hundred miles to a different hospital.

One of the most basic laws of society is that the more administrative areas there are within one state, the more bureaucracy it breeds. All these healthcare districts must of course have their own administrations, which in turn have to liaise through the healthcare officials in each municipality of the district, and they all have to coordinate with the administrators of each hospital and health center. And then you have to have healthcare officials, a whole department full of them, at the national level to top things off.

As you can well imagine, efficiency is not one of the Finnish healthcare system’s main attributes. Studies have shown surpluses of doctors in some places with corresponding shortages in others. Very few of the municipalities can afford to maintain the healthcare services the law mandates. Health centers have been and are being closed all the time, but no administrator is ever laid off. The central government must transfer money to the districts to keep them afloat on a continual basis. In other words, Finland seems to have a central-state-run and -financed healthcare system, but in reality it has a municipal system, which has resulted in even more bureaucracy.

Any country that wants a universal healthcare system should not look to Finland for an example to follow. One of the real tragedies of this fiasco is the fact that Finland has some of the best private hospitals in the world, but because of our universal healthcare, very few Finnish citizens ever get to benefit from them.

With a License to Rob

As a tax consultant, I am frequently engaged in legal battles with the tax authorities, representing my clients and trying to protect their rights. In these fights, I encounter the arrogance, and in some cases the sheer malevolence, of the taxman, completely uncensored. I never cease to be amazed by the ignorance and the callousness of this particular department of the state.

As a rule, the tax authorities don’t care about the law, in the rare event they even know it. Not only that, but it is clear from the way they act that they consider every penny to be their money, and may only be retained by the taxpayer at their discretion. It even happens that they make up arguments that are blatantly false and without any legal ground whatsoever in order to levy more taxes and impose various other sanctions. When the taxpayers challenge their outrageous claims, they simply ignore the challenges and press on as if nothing has happened — even though the constitution mandates that all decisions and rulings made by a government agency must be based on law and thoroughly explained.

This doesn’t seem to apply to the tax authorities though, and neither do other legal principles. In all other matters, you are innocent until proven guilty, but if the taxman charges you with something, it is you who has to prove your innocence. If you fail, you’re guilty, and it is the tax authorities who decide whether you fail.

This type of behavior is certainly familiar to the American public, as the IRS has subjected them to all kinds of violations. However, these violations, taking place no less regularly in Finland than in the United States, fly in the face of the aura of utopia that seems to surround the social-democratic welfare states of Northern Europe.

The statists may be very comfortable with high taxes, but even they tend to become squeamish when they hear of the havoc wrought upon private individuals and their families by the tax authorities. And it is of course the private individuals and small businessmen who suffer the most aggression, because they seldom have the knowledge or the resources to defend themselves. Billionaires and big corporations at least have a fighting chance; the little guys don’t. So much for the compassionate society.

In a system such as this — with a very vague tax code; tax officials who are exempt from responsibility for their conduct; and onerous, never-compensated legal expenses arising from litigation against the tax authorities — the rights of the taxpayers are routinely violated. The officials have no interest in making the right decision, so whenever a case is not utterly and totally obvious, they rule in favor of the state.

“The state enacts vague legislation and then makes the taxpayer pay for its interpretation.”After that, the taxpayer can choose between paying the additional and often unlawful tax, or spending time and money challenging the decision. And because the tax officials can and do routinely ignore the taxpayer’s arguments, even the most trivial of cases can be appealed through the judicial system all the way to the Supreme Administrative Court, the highest court in the land. If the taxpayer is unlucky, it can take as long as ten years to settle a dispute, costing tens of thousands in legal fees. And if he wins, he is not compensated for the time and money spent defending his rights, nor are the responsible tax officials reprimanded for their conduct. For this reason, most tax disputes are settled mainly by referring to case law, and the case law has to a large extent been paid for by the taxpayers. In other words, the state enacts vague legislation and then makes the taxpayer pay for its interpretation.

Increasing Debts

The reality and future of the Finnish welfare state is not very bright. The crisis in Greece and the other PIIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain) has given rise to much-needed discussion about the state of the public finances in Europe. For the first time in a long time, politicians are actually talking about the need for cutting government spending. While this is undoubtedly positive, even those politicians who do advocate spending cuts don’t seem to comprehend what that actually means.

The increasing deficits and national debts are not the result of a shortage of tax revenues. In Finland, the maximum marginal income-tax rate for individuals is over 50 percent. A value-added tax is levied on all goods and services at every level of production. The tax rate of normal consumer goods and services has recently been raised from 22 to 23 percent. As in the United States, there are a great host of other taxes and duties levied on everything under the sun.

What has brought the Finnish welfare state close to fiscal calamity is its ever-increasing government spending. Even during the 15 years prior to the collapse of 2008, a period referred to as one of continual economic growth, the national debt was not paid off. In 1994, the Finnish national debt was 51.7 billion euros. In 2007, it rose to €56.1 billion. At the end of 2009, the debt shot up to €64.3 billion, and at the end of June 2010, it rose to €69.8 billion. This in spite of the fact that the tax revenues had remained stable and even risen from 2000 to 2009. Figures show that government spending during the same time rose from €33 billion in 2000 to €46.9 billion in 2009. The projected spending in 2010 and 2011 is €52.5 billion and €50.4 billion respectively. It is estimated that the national debt will hit €85 billion at the end of fiscal year 2010.

Conclusion

Finland is, and has long been, a poster child for the utopian European social-democratic welfare state, and has now been named the greatest country in the world, in a bizarre remake of Time’s Person of the Year award to Ben Bernanke.

In Finland, the progressives believe, big government works. So do universal healthcare and public, “free” education. And if Finland can do it, so can the United States. The flaw in that argument is that Finland actually can’t do it, no more than Obama can keep his promises.

The Finnish welfare state comes at a price we can’t afford. The healthcare system is severely inefficient and costly, and stands in the way of normal people’s access to the truly great medical care provided by the private sector. The public education is also very costly and constantly short of money. Textbooks are passed on from generation to generation, everybody learning the same fallacies as the ones before them, provided that books are even readable.

The idea of everyone’s right to a university degree has resulted in a very high number of university graduates, but their degrees are often of no value on the job market. Due to high taxes and both the legal and financial risks of employing people, an 8 percent unemployment rate is considered normal. And did I mention that the retirement system is every bit as much of a Ponzi scheme as the US Social Security system, and is on the verge of collapse?

The national debt has already reached alarming levels. What’s more, there hasn’t been an extended period of time when the principal of the debt has been systematically paid off. At best, it has remained fairly stable, only to shoot up by almost 50 percent in the last couple of years, if the projections hold true. Bankruptcy will come unless significant changes are made.

I do, however, want to end on a positive note. In survey after survey, the Finnish people overwhelmingly favor cutting government spending as a means to get the public finances under control. Previously, the Finnish have not minded paying taxes, but now they are waking up to the fact that raising taxes is not a viable option anymore.

Next year, we Finns go to the polling stations to elect a new parliament. I hope the outcome of the election will reflect this important and new-found realization.

Source

Limelite away on business

Will be back early next week (first week of September).

This very crowded isle: England is most over-populated country in EU

Ministers have indicated that they will be caping immigration next year – although some in the Coalition government are hostile to such a move – they want to see even more people move to the country! Good luck with that…

England is now the most overcrowded country in Europe.

It has more people per square mile than the Low Countries, which has long been the most densely-populated region of the continent, MPs have been told.

Only tiny Malta, an island city state with a population no bigger than that of Bristol, has greater population pressure among the 27 EU members.

The confirmation of England’s position at the head of the European overcrowding league table was given by the highly authoritative House of Commons library, which examined figures from the Office for National Statistics and the EU’s Eurostat.

Officials said that by next year England will have 402.1 people for every square kilometre, overtaking the figure of 398.5 in Holland and 355.2 in Belgium.

The density of the population in England by 2011 will be more than four times that of France, which has 99.4 for each square kilometre.

According to the Commons Library estimates, it will reach double the density of Germany in 20 years’ time, when there will be nearly 460 people for every square kilometre in England against 224 in Germany.

The overcrowding figures come in advance of fresh official figures on immigration and its impact on the size of the population due for release today.

Ministers have promised to bring in a cap on immigration next year to bring numbers of arrivals down to 1990s levels and ease population pressures.

However some members of the Coalition, notably Business Secretary Vince Cable, are hostile to any move to reduce immigration and sympathetic to calls from industry to allow more foreign workers into the country.

The figures have underlined concerns over the effects of rising population on transport and housing, and on both cities and countryside, as numbers rise towards the officially predicted level of 70million by 2029.

Read more here

Obama administration reports to the UN on human rights issues in U.S.

 I think I’m going to cry. That the USA, a once proud, world leading country, under the watch of the traitor Obama, has submitted a report on the state of human rights in the USA to the UN. Please read below to see who contributed to the report – it’s the who’s-who of progressive liberal wankers. Shame on you Obama – you have the audacity to submit a report to the very oppressors of people who make up that UN council. Shame, shame, shame on you… 

Under the administration of Barack Hussein Obama, the United States submitted its first ever “Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report” to the United Nations. This is the first time in the history of the United Nations that the U.S. has submitted a report to the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, which is the first step in submitting the United States to international review by some of the most repressive and abusive nations in the world. The 29-page report can be read here.

The report is the product of about a dozen conferences held across the U.S. between January and April 2010. The participants of these conferences featured such luminaries as Stephen Rickard and Wendy Patten, from George Soros’ Open Society Institute; Devon Chaffee, Human Rights First; Andrea Prasow, Human Rights Watch; Imad Hamad (a suspected member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization), American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; Dawud Walid, Council American Islamic Relations; Nabih Ayad, Michigan Civil Rights Commission; Ron Scott, Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality; Osama Siblani, Arab American News; Shannon Minter, National Center for Lesbian Rights and Cynthia Soohoo, Center for Reproductive Rights, among others.

According to its authors, the report to the United Nations “gives a partial snapshot of the current human rights situation in the United States, including some of the areas where problems persist in our society.” Obviously, one of the “problems” identified with the report is illegal immigration and Arizona’s own initiate to solve the problem through state legislation. SB 1070 has been a particularly thorny issue to the Obama administration, which has now been moved to an international venue and potential international oversight by the United Nations. The stakes for our national sovereignty have been just raised by the submission of this document, which is the first step of “voluntary compliance” to the provisions of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council.

It is no surprise that the report is dripping with the all too familiar “blame America first” rhetoric that has been the gold-standard of “citizen of the world” Barack Hussein Obama. The report promises that “President Obama remains firmly committed to fixing our broken immigration system…” and promises to work “with fellow members of the Human Rights Council.”

Taking counsel from the list of individuals and organizations, some who have openly called for the subjugation of our country to the United Nations and supported our enemies, while engaging in self-flagellation before an international body of dubious distinction… it’s the “gold-standard” of Barack Hussein Obama.

Source

‘Son of Hamas’ warns U.S. fatally falling for lies

I’ve edited the article below as it’s quite lengthy, but well worth the read. If you’d like to read the original article, click here. This is a pretty good summary of how the Muslim Brotherhood plans to take over the USA and the rest of the world. We all wish that they were dreaming, but it makes scary reading and we need to take notice as what is described is happening all over the West. Who would have thought that after 9/11 the USA would stupidly allow Muslims into their country?  Now with Obummer as President anything is possible. Time to toughen up people!

Mosab Hassan Yousef

As the son of a Hamas co-founder who became a Christian, a spy for Israel and a consultant to the Holy Land Foundation terror-finance trial, Mosab Hassan Yousef offers a rare perspective on the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood – at once the spawn of nearly every major Islamic terrorist group and of “mainstream” operatives in the U.S. such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Yousef, who recently was granted asylum in the U.S. after the Department of Homeland Security tried to deport him, told that the ultimate goal of the highly influential Brotherhood is not terrorism but to establish a global Islamic state over the entire world.

“If they can establish this in a peaceful manner, that’s fine,” he said. “But they are required by the Quran to establish this global Islamic state on the rubble of every civilization, every constitution, every government.”

The Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas in 2008 – the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history – presented evidence of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “100-year plan” to gradually destroy the U.S. and Western civilization from within “so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

“This is not a doctrine of some freak Muslim,” Yousef observed. “It’s the doctrine, the requirement, of the god of Islam himself and his prophet, whom they praise every day.”

One of the Brotherhood’s prime strategies to help achieve its ultimate aim is to spin off groups such as the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, that attempt to give Islam a positive face, he pointed out.

CAIR, casting itself as a human rights organization, has often been called on by government and media to represent Muslims in the U.S. But it’s origin as a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is now widely documented.
CAIR and some of its leaders were confirmed by the Justice Department as unindicted co-conspirators in the trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, which was convicted of helping fund Hamas.
At the Holy Land Foundation trial, the FBI presented a transcript from a wiretap of a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia in which Hamas supporters sought to establish Muslim organizations in the U.S. “whose Islamic hue is not very conspicuous.” CAIR was soon founded by two Palestinian participants in the Philadelphia meeting, Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad.

Wiretaps revealed Ahmad argued for using Muslims as an “entry point” to “pressure Congress and the decision makers in America” to change U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. One FBI official quoted in “Muslim Mafia” says CAIR and the other Muslim Brotherhood front groups differ from al-Qaida only in their methods.

“The only difference between the guys in the suits and the guys with the AK-47s is timing and tactics,” the official explained.

While CAIR repeatedly has denied it receives foreign support, the covert operation that produced “Muslim Mafia” obtained video footage that captured CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper boasting of his ability to bring in a half million dollars of “overseas money,” including from Saudi Arabia.

Money continues to flow in the other direction, as well, Yousef said.

He noted the FBI documented that the Holy Land Foundation sent $12.4 million from the U.S. to Hamas committees. But based on his 10 years of experience as a spy for the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet, he believes many times that amount has been smuggled to Hamas in cash.

As an example, Yousef cited the case of a Palestinian terror operative he met in prison who was arrested transporting $100,000 after Shin Bet provided information to law enforcement authorities.

“I guarantee you that there still people who collect money in mosques that go directly to Hamas in cash,” Yousef said. “And this is a problem that the government doesn’t have control over. Obama doesn’t have control over this money.”

‘Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood’

Hamas itself was formed in 1987 as part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategy to advance the movement by spinning off new organizations, Yousef said.

“If they have a confrontation with Israel as the Muslim Brotherhood, they are going to pay a very high price,” he explained. “So they choose people like my father, from the Muslim Brotherhood originally, and they ask them to establish an independent movement that shares the same exact doctrine.”

Yousef worked alongside his father, Sheik Hassan Yousef, in the West Bank city of al-Ghaniya near Ramallah while secretly embracing Christian faith and serving as a Shin Bet spy. Since publicly declaring his faith in August 2008, he has been condemned by an al-Qaida-affiliated group and disowned by his family.

“Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood,” Yousef said. “It’s the same organization.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in the 1920s in the wake of the collapse of the Ottoman Turkish empire, considers itself an instrument of the charge Muslims have been given since Islam’s founding 1,400 years ago – to make the Quran and Allah’s authority supreme over the entire world.

Along with CAIR, prominent U.S. organizations launched by Muslim Brotherhood leaders include the Muslim Students Association, North American Islamic Trust, the Islamic Society of North America, the American Muslim Council, the Muslim American Society and the International Institute of Islamic Thought.

“Before we start to listen to their lies,” Yousef said, “we have to ask ourselves all the time, what is the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood? Ask them, ‘What do you want?'”

He said the Muslim Brotherhood “will keep the hope and the ultimate goal very clear in the eyes of every Muslim who belongs to the organization that one day [we will] establish an Islamic state and establish Shariah law.”

In unusually candid moments, CAIR leaders have expressed that aim.

CAIR founder Ahmad was reported telling a Muslim group in the San Francisco Bay area that Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant and that the Quran should become the highest authority in America and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth. CAIR spokesman Hooper indicated in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune he wants to see the U.S. become a Muslim country “through education.”

The West, Yousef said, has fallen for the “lie” that there are two types of Islam, radical and moderate. While there may be individual Muslims who are radical or moderate, Islam itself is not moderate, he contends.

“Let’s learn what Islam says about itself,” Yousef said. “Forget about what the Muslim Brotherhood, what al-Qaida, what Hezbollah – what even Americans or Westerners say about Islam. Let’s study and see what Islam says about itself, then we will understand why we have this problem.”

‘Buying the lie’
American foreign policy, especially under President Obama, he said, has “bought the lie of Muslim groups who are trying to make Islam look good in the eyes of Westerners.”

Because of that approach, he said, Muslim leaders such as Feisal Abdul Rauf have developed “the courage to come forward with a very aggressive symbol” of Islamic authority, the proposed Islamic center and mosque near the site of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks.

“If it was any other American president, we wouldn’t have this aggressive step,” Yousef contended.

He noted the State Department has designated Rauf an ambassador to the Muslim world despite the imam’s unwillingness to condemn Hamas as a terrorist group.

“Of course, he cannot condemn Hamas, because he knows that Hamas is an organization that is doing the will of Allah,” Yousef said. “How can he condemn an organization that serves the same god that he worships every day five times?”

Yousef pointed out Rauf has claimed Obama based his highly publicized Cairo speech to the Muslim world last year on a chapter from the Arabic version of Rauf’s book, “A Call to Prayer From the World Trade Center: Islamic Dawah in the Heart of America Post-9/11.”

Obama asserted in the speech that violent extremists have exploited tensions between Muslims and the West, insisting Islam was not part of the problem but part of promoting peace.

‘This is the red line’
Defenders of the proposed Ground Zero mosque cite American Muslims’ First Amendment freedoms to practice their religion.

But Yousef makes a distinction between Islam and other religions, arguing Islam is a subversive system that threatens America’s very existence.

“Even if it’s a religion, and 1.5 billion people around the world believe in it, this doesn’t mean that they are right; and this doesn’t mean that we compromise with them,” he said. “We tell them, ‘You’re accepted, but guess what? This is the red line: We don’t compromise with your god. We don’t compromise with your belief system.'”

Yousef reasoned that he certainly would not be allowed to create a religion in which he demanded that his followers kill everyone who doesn’t embrace his beliefs.

“Will I be able to register this religion here and build my symbols for this religion in this country?” he asked. “I will go to jail for that – and all my followers as well.”

‘A matter of life and death’
No one in the Middle East has the courage or the power to confront Islam, he said, but transformation can start in the most powerful country in the world.

“Instead of giving Islam credit, this is the country where we can start to fight – not against Muslims, against the bad teachings of Islam.”

Americans can begin, he said, by “understanding the real nature of Islam.”

“I am telling you, this is not a matter of politics,” he said. “It’s a matter of life and death. It’s a matter of hundreds of millions who have been killed because of this deadly ideology of Islam that has been here 1,400 years.”

“This is the time” to speak out, he said, “especially here in America. This is the time to stand firm and strong against this crazy, big system.”

Yousef said that while some may want to “scare people about Islam” for some kind of financial or personal profit, he is speaking out because of his concern for America and as “a person who loves my people.”

“I cannot wait for them to be liberated,” he said of his fellow Palestinians and Muslims worldwide. “And when I see the example of liberty and freedom in this country, I want this to go to my people.”

If America leads the way in confronting Islam, change can come, he said.

“But if the country of liberty and freedom welcomes a radical and violent belief that wants to destroy everything, we won’t be able to defeat them,” he said.

“This is why we need to work all together. This is not for America only. This is for the world. This is for the future of humanity.”

USA: A Difference Of Attitude

The difference between Obama and Reagan:

This is not something that we’re just doing to grow government. We’re doing this because this is what the best minds tell us needs to be done. — President Barack Obama, House Democratic retreat in Williamsburg, Va., pressing for passage of his stimulus plan, February 2009

Anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we’re denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we’re always “against” things—we’re never “for” anything. Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so. — President Ronald Reagan, speech to the American people, October 1964

President Reagan sure had a way with words (and with fiscal policy), and is Barack Obama exhibiting Einstein’s definition of insanity?
(Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – Albert Einstein )

Source

Sweden Democrats publish report on rape

The Sweden Democrats presented a report on Wednesday showing that of 114 convictions for rape in 2009, 48 percent involved men born outside Sweden. Could someone please explain “the definition of rape differs too greatly among countries”? Is this the best the happy-clappy brigade can do to defend the indefensible?

“This sample is less than half of the court rulings last year,” said Klara Hradilova Selin at The National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå) which compiles official statistics on crimes committed and reported in Sweden.

The Sweden Democrats have gone through 114 district court rulings from 2009 in cases of rape or aggravated rape. 48 percent (or 55 cases) of the convicted rapists were born outside of Sweden, with 39.5 percent of the total born outside of Europe.

The 55 convictions constitute an over representation of overseas-born as a group. There were 648,426 overseas-born males registered as resident in Sweden in 2009 of a population of 9.34 million.

According to Brå statistics men account for 98 percent of all rapes in Sweden.

According to the Sweden Democrats the over-representation is due to cultural differences, and that the view on rape and on women varies significantly between cultures. But Brå dispute that any conclusions can be drawn from the statistics.

“There were 253 court judgements last year, there were 6,000 rapes reported to the police and the Sweden Democrats have chosen 114 cases,” said Klara Hradilova Selin to The Local.

Selin also rejected the Sweden Democrats claim that there is something of a “wave of rapes” sweeping Sweden, with the country enduring the highest incidence of rape in Europe.

The comparison can not be done, according to Selin, the definition of rape differs too greatly among countries. Since a 2005 law change Sweden has one of the broadest definitions of rape in an international perspective.

Sweden Democrats’ party leader Jimmie Åkesson has meanwhile rejected the argument that it is irresponsible for a politician to draw conclusions from such a small sample.

“I think that it is a reasonable limitation. It confirms the same pattern in other reports which, for example Brå has done, and confirms also patterns seen in some foreign countries,” Åkesson told news agency TT.

But Klara Hradilova Selin argues that it is impossible to draw any general conclusions over rape from Brå statistics.

“There simply aren’t any statistics which indicate the actual incidence of rape – it is the crime with the highest degree of hidden statistics and most cases are not even reported,” she told The Local.

The Sweden Democrats have identified the incidence of rape as the “key equality issue of the election campaign” and argue that tighter controls on immigration would help to address the issue as well as placing a ten year trial period for new citizens.

They further propose to raise the penalties for rape and spend 1 billion kronor ($134 million) annually on measures to rebuild risk areas, adding cameras and improving lighting.

Source

This is why there are no jobs in America

A great way to explain the American way of life and taxes….ain’t life grand?

I’d like to make you a business offer.

Seriously. This is a real offer. In fact, you really can’t turn me down, as you’ll come to understand in a moment…

Here’s the deal. You’re going to start a business or expand the one you’ve got now. It doesn’t really matter what you do or what you’re going to do. I’ll partner with you no matter what business you’re in – as long as it’s legal.

But I can’t give you any capital – you have to come up with that on your own. I won’t give you any labor – that’s definitely up to you. What I will do, however, is demand you follow all sorts of rules about what products and services you can offer, how much (and how often) you pay your employees, and where and when you’re allowed to operate your business. That’s my role in the affair: to tell you what to do.

Now in return for my rules, I’m going to take roughly half of whatever you make in the business each year. Half seems fair, doesn’t it? I think so. Of course, that’s half of your profits.

You’re also going to have to pay me about 12 percent of whatever you decide to pay your employees because you’ve got to cover my expenses for promulgating all of the rules about who you can employ, when, where, and how. Come on, you’re my partner. It’s only “fair.”

Now … after you’ve put your hard-earned savings at risk to start this business, and after you’ve worked hard at it for a few decades (paying me my 50 percent or a bit more along the way each year), you might decide you’d like to cash out – to finally live the good life.

Whether or not this is “fair” – some people never can afford to retire – is a different argument. As your partner, I’m happy for you to sell whenever you’d like … because our agreement says, if you sell, you have to pay me an additional 20 percent of whatever the capitalized value of the business is at that time.

I know, I know. You put up all the original capital. You took all the risks. You put in all of the labor. That’s all true. But I’ve done my part, too. I’ve collected 50 percent of the profits each year. And I’ve always come up with more rules for you to follow each year. Therefore, I deserve another, final 20 percent slice of the business.

Oh … and one more thing.

Even after you’ve sold the business and paid all of my fees, I’d recommend buying lots of life insurance. You see, even after you’ve been retired for years, when you die, you’ll have to pay me 50 percent of whatever your estate is worth.

After all, I’ve got lots of partners and not all of them are as successful as you and your family. We don’t think it’s “fair” for your kids to have such a big advantage. But if you buy enough life insurance, you can finance this expense for your children.

All in all, if you’re a very successful entrepreneur, if you’re one of the rare, lucky, and hard-working people who can create a new company, employ lots of people, and satisfy the public, you’ll end up paying me more than 75 percent of your income over your life. Thanks so much.

I’m sure you’ll think my offer is reasonable and happily partner with me, but it doesn’t really matter how you feel about it because if you ever try to stiff me – or cheat me on any of my fees or rules – I’ll break down your door in the middle of the night, threaten you and your family with heavy, automatic weapons, and throw you in jail.

That’s how civil society is supposed to work, right? This is America, isn’t it?

That’s the offer America gives its entrepreneurs. And the idiots in Washington wonder why there are no new jobs.

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Sweden Loses Patience With Refugee Champion Role

I generally don’t have much sympathy for Sweden seeing as they were at the front of the queue hounding South Africa during Apartheid. Seems like they have come full circle and have realised that to take all the worlds refugees is harming their own country (you don’t say!). Good to see that Sweden is currently under a center-right government and they seem to be doing right by the country…

Six years after his brother was beheaded by Iraqi insurgents, Riyad is still haunted by the memory of identifying the disfigured body and watching the mutilation on a video distributed by the killers.

Yet Riyad now has fresh worries to contend with: the threat of deportation from Sweden, which recently rejected his application for asylum. “They murdered my brother and would have done the same to me,” he told an immigration official in a secretly recorded meeting broadcast on Radio Sweden.

“Yes, I know that,” replied the official. “But it doesn’t count that they might do the same thing to you; you have to prove there is an actual threat.”

Riyad, who worked with his brother on a US army base, was drawn to Sweden by its reputation as the most welcoming European country for Iraqi asylum-seekers, having absorbed tens of thousands in the past decade. In the past two years, however, numbers have dropped sharply as Sweden shows signs of losing patience with its role as champion of refugee rights.

In 2007, 18,559 Iraqis sought asylum in Sweden and nearly three-quarters were accepted. Last year the number arriving was 2,297—and less than a quarter were granted asylum.

The decline can be explained partly by better security in Iraq. But experts say the main factor was a Swedish court ruling in 2008 placing a greater burden on refugees to prove they were in danger.

Tobias Billström, Sweden’s migration minister, insists there was no political involvement in the ruling, but the centre-right government has been quick to stress the court’s message. “Now you have to show there is a real threat,” he says. “You cannot just turn up and say you’re from Iraq.”

The tougher approach is welcomed by some Swedes, amid unease over the changing face of their traditionally homogenous society. More than a tenth of the population is now foreign-born, with Iraqis among the largest group.

Anti-immigration sentiment could make itself felt in next month’s general election, with opinion polls suggesting the far-right Sweden Democrats could win their first seat in parliament.

Few places feel the tension more than Södertälje, an industrial town where 8,000 Iraqis live, many in high-rise ghettos. Anders Lago, the town’s Social Democratic mayor, says the strain on public services is unsustainable. “We need a new system. Södertälje cannot take care of everybody.”

Behind Sweden’s new approach lies frustration that other European Union states have not taken more refugees. Before the ruling, Sweden received about 60 per cent of Iraqi asylum applications in the EU.

If Stockholm is sending a message to other countries, critics say it has come at a heavy price for vulnerable refugees. It was among four European nations recently rebuked by the UNHCR for forcibly deporting asylum-seekers to Iraq despite the continuing violence.

Mikael Ribbenvik, director of legal affairs for the Swedish migration board, said his agency had issued new recommendations to take account of persecution of minorities in Iraq—a sign, perhaps, Sweden is anxious not to let its humanitarian halo slip too far. But this may be too late for Riyad, who says he would be at risk in Iraq not only because of his past ties to the US military, but also his Christian faith. “I don’t have to remain here,” he told Radio Sweden. “Just send me anywhere in the world—except Iraq.”

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USA: Used car prices skyrocket a year after Cash for Clunkers

This is Obama-logic at its best. This President has managed in the last two years to out-spend ALL the other USA Presidents put together…! With logic like this, what’s the bet the USA gets deeper into debt under his watch? Hope and change – three words that’s going to haunt the US for a long time (together with “fundamentally transform”)…

With home prices falling, fewer people employed, and every economic indicator on the dashboard flashing red, deflation has started to become a big enough worry that the Fed has adjusted its monetary policy to account for it. There are no such worries in the used-car industry, however. Prices have jumped 10% overall and in some cases as much as a third for used cars, thanks not to demand as much as a restricted supply after the government destroyed billions of dollars in assets as part of its Cash for Clunkers program last year:

Car buyers on average paid $1,800 more for a used vehicle in July than they paid a year ago at this time, according to Edmunds.com data. That’s a 10.3 percent increase, bringing the average cost of a 3-year-old vehicle to $19,248. The price of a Cadillac Escalade spiked nearly 36 percent. “A lack of confidence in the economy is driving more people to used cars, putting upward pricing pressure on a limited supply of vehicles,” said Joe Spina, a senior analyst for Edmunds. …

Spina said that at this time last year, a troubled economy had consumers buying less- expensive fuel-efficient vehicles and trading in “gas guzzlers” through Cash for Clunkers (more formally known as the Car Allowance Rebate System). “Now, those who need trucks and large SUVs are buying them and in many cases are turning to used vehicles as a way to save money,” he said. ”Prices are high because this demand comes at a time when inventory is low as a result of the current shortage of lease returns and trade-ins for vehicles of this type.” And, he said, while prices are indeed very high now, last year’s prices were low, making the gains even more dramatic.

In other words, there was real and rational demand for the cars that the Obama administration sent to the grinders. That demand hasn’t stopped, even if tainted with political incorrectness. The top four vehicles for price increases in Edmunds’ used-car tracking are all high-end, larger cars or SUV:

Cadillac Escalade – 35.6% increase

Chevy Suburban – +34.2%

Dodge Grand Caravan – +34%

BMW X5 – +33%

As predicted last year, the people most hurt by the price increases are those who can least afford them. The used-car market usually attracts people who need transportation on a budget, who cannot afford to buy new. By destroying a quarter’s worth of trade-ins in three weeks and permanently taking them off the market, the Obama administration has forced an artificial inflation by supply restriction. Moreover, they did so by subsidizing new-car sales that would have occurred anyway, eating up three billion dollars in taxpayer money.

In other words, the White House spent $3 billion to make used cars more expensive for working-class families. Nice work.

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