Saturday, January 05, 2013

"Robin Hood" Taxes for the Poor of Developing Countries Are Really Handouts to Buy Influence with Third-World Despots

Dick Morris discusses
how the first global tax has been levied by France on American citizens. Where will it end? … The "Robin Hood" tax … is part of a scheme … to tax the American people and force the redistribution of wealth to … Third World countries — really, Third World dictators…

Friday, January 04, 2013

Burger King Returns to le Pays de la Gastronomie, Its Marseille Outlet Attracting 2,000 Customers Daily

While McDonald's has prospered in le pays de la gastronomie (France is now the second market for the Golden Arches, after only the United States itself), Burger King has had a much more ambivalent experience, which ended 15 years ago, when its last remaining "resto rapide" in France, on the Champs-Élysées, joined its almost 40 other outlets and closed its doors.

December was the season of revival, with the opening of the first new Burger King in 15 years, at the airport of Marseille, no less. The outlet attracts as many as 2,000 people daily, the Morandini website reports, and the customers sometimes have to wait up to as much as one hour to get served in the "fast-food" restaurant.

Movie Star Depardieu Has Long Phone Conversation with French President Hollande

While the French government's (foxy) spokes(wo)man declined to make any comments regarding Gérard Depardieu's being granted Russian citizenship, France's president has had a long telephone conversation with the actor.

Nounours told Flanby — to use the two mens' respective nicknames —that he was sickened by what was happening at the moment and that media had been dreadful with him.

Depardieu added that the fiscal aspect of his grievances was only one detail thereof, and that his main gripe was with the fact that, "in France, people who are successful and who take initiatives are spat upon."

This interesting item from Gégé's friend, who commented about the conversation to the Morandini website:
Toujours selon Arnaud Frilley, le Président a été à l'écoute, car "quand on est un politique on écoute toujours une personnalité populaire qui vous parle". 
"When you are a politician", says Arnaud Frilley without the least bit of protest or even of surprise, "one always listens to a popular figure who speaks to you."

In other words, it is far from abnormal for élites to listen to, and to pay attention to, each other, and it is just as far from abnormal that the little people are far from their concerns. 

Meanwhile, learning of Vladimir Putin's decision, Beligum has started digging in its heels: "Nationalities is not something that can be collected," opined one federal deputy.

It turns out that in 2012, 126 Frenchmen asked to become citizens of Belgium, exactly twice (!) as many as in 2011 (63).

Not helping the French government's case is the fact that a tennis star who was bestowed a significant ribbon (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was named Chevalier dans l'Ordre National du Mérite) turns out himself to be a fiscal exile, albeit one living in Switzerland.

What are Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's morality lessons to Nounours worth, asks the Moranidini web site, when the prime minister bestows a decoration on a sports star who provided the film actor with a blueprint for his actions?

Related: Check out the meaning of the last name Depardieu
and why it is particularly appropriate for the movie star

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Gérard Depardieu Granted Russian Citizenship

A few days after Vladimir Putin offered a Russian passport to Gérard Depardieu, the (now ex-) French movie star, disgusted with French taxes and offended by his treatment from France's ruling socialists and cultural élites, has accepted and, according to the Kremlin, become a Russian citizen.

Go to the BBC link to see Moscow residents commenting on Depardieu becoming a Russian citizen ("Let the president of France tax [wonderful French actors] even more, so they'll all come to live here", 01:45).

UpdateDepardieu Has Long Phone Conversation with French President Hollande

In related news, it emerges that at least one of the places that the name de Pardieu ("by God") comes from is Normandy and that the family's motto was Win or Die, i.e., Victory or Death. More interesting, according to some (rare) French libertarians, Nounours (or Teddy Bear, as Gégé has been known since gaining weight) has an extremely appropriate name, as Depardieu can also come from la Part-Dieu (God's Portion), an expression referring to the place where, in the Middle Ages, one went to to pay one's tithe — "an iniquitous tax" not abolished until the 1789 revolution.
Gérard Depardieu porte bien son nom. "Depardieu" désignait, au Moyen-Âge, le lieu où l'on payait la dîme, impôt inique aboli en 1789. 
Indeed, according to Wikipedia,
Ce toponyme désignait soit une terre ecclésiastique, soit le lieu où étaient recueillis les produits de la dîme.

Pat Buchanan puts it this way:
Socialism creates and exacerbates a conflict in loyalties. A regime that takes three of every four dollars a man earns is an enemy of what that man works to accomplish for himself and his family.

… Californians flee to Nevada, Arizona, Idaho and Colorado to escape Golden State taxes. Are they disloyal to their home state, or are they doing what is right by their families, their first responsibility?

… For many successful Americans, over half of all they earn is now taken by government.

… Can a man love his country and hate its government? Of course. Ask Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Ask the patriots of '76.

Non?! Is Le Monde's Plantu Celebrating One of No Pasarán's Blogggers?!

Plantu in Le Monde

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The breakdown of the family drives government spending because you and I then pay the bills for welfare, after school programs, and a host of other expensive (and unsuccessful) federal efforts to replace the nuclear family

Richard A. Viguerie's post came out at Yuletide, but it is timeless, and as the new year begins, along with the attendant resolutions, it bears reprinting:

… if Christmas is a celebration of the family, today, as First Lady of the conservative movement Phyllis Schlafly reminded us in her column, the American family is in serious trouble.

Last year, 41 percent of all babies born in the U.S. (including 53 percent of babies born to women under 30) were born outside of marriage. “It is obvious,” said Schlafly, “that when the mother of these children has no husband to support her and her babies, she calls on Big Brother Government.”

This is an important point to keep in mind as we take a holiday break from the battle over the fiscal cliff, taxes and spending.

America’s urban liberal elite, who are the arbiters of popular culture, constantly promote the idea that the family is irrelevant, motherhood is demeaning and stay-at-home mothers are a burden on the state.

After forty-five years of the sexual revolution, urban liberal feminists, the media and an amoral government-run education system have convinced less educated Americans that marriage and the “role of father or husband or wife” are not only unnecessary to emotional fulfillment and economic advancement, getting married will get in the way of the activities celebrated in the popular media, such as partying and casual sex.

Establishment Republicans don’t want to talk about marriage and the family. It all sounds so judgmental around the bar at the country club.

However, as Phyllis Schlafly noted, the breakdown of the family drives government spending because you and I then pay the bills for welfare, after school programs, Head Start and a host of other expensive and largely unsuccessful federal efforts to replace the nuclear family.

This is very much what Rick Santorum was saying out on the campaign trail during the Republican primary elections, but it is a truth that disappeared from the political conversation as soon as Santorum suspended his campaign.

This Christmas, please join me in celebrating the family and, in the midst of our battle over federal spending, let’s re-dedicate ourselves to helping to solve our government’s fiscal crisis by solving our nation’s family crisis.
In this context, it is never a bad idea to bring up the writings of Stephen Baskerville

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

We get more illegitimate babies supported by taxpayers every year; This striking change in our social structure is the primary reason that government budgets are so bloated

Contrary to politicians who want to call a truce about social issues, there is absolutely no way to separate social and fiscal issues
wrote Phyllis Schlafly last spring (echoing Stephen Baskerville);
they are locked in a tight political embrace. Politicians who say we can ignore social issues, or avoid talking about them, are really saying that they have no plan to cut federal spending and the growing national debt.

That's because the social issue of marriage, and its importance to our society, has become a tremendous fiscal issue. The problem of marriage absence is now costing the taxpayers even more than national defense.

We used to have a social structure in the United States where husbands and fathers provided the financial support of wife and children. Last year, 41 percent of all babies born in the U.S. (including 53 percent of babies born to women under 30) were illegitimate, growing up without their own fathers.

It is obvious that when the mother of these children has no husband to support her and her babies, she calls on Big Brother Government. You and I then pay the bills for what is labeled welfare.

It's not poverty that causes broken families; it's the absence of marriage that causes poverty and puts kids below the designated poverty line. Social issues cause fiscal expenses. 

I grew up during the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the American family, white and black, was not broken. It stayed together to face life's reversale.

The massive national problem of having babies without marriage started with Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty in the 1960s. LBJ Welfare channeled all the money and benefits to the woman, thereby making the husband and father unnecessary.

I'm not saying anything new; Charles Murray laid this all out more than 20 years ago. He said "Illegitimacy is the single most important social problem of our time ... because it drives everything else," imposing gigantic costs on the taxpayers.

After Barack Obama became President, he increased federal welfare spending by a third because, as he told Joe the plumber, Obama wants to "spread the wealth around." This was a conscious political strategy; it promotes dependence on government and more votes for the Democrats.

Most Americans are unaware that nearly $900 billion a year of federal taxpayers' money is handed out to non-taxpayers allegedly below a designated poverty line. Americans' lack of knowledge of the enormity of these handouts is why we sometimes hear reference to the "hidden" welfare state.

The Heritage Foundation reports that more than 70 types of federal means-tested handouts, in cash or benefits, are distributed. Half of Americans (47 percent) pay no income tax and depend for their living expenses in whole or in part on government handouts paid by the other half who do pay income taxes.

This federal welfare apparatus includes 12 programs providing food, 10 for housing assistance, 10 for social services, 9 for educational assistance, 8 programs giving cash, 8 for vocational training, 7 for medical assistance, 3 for energy and utility assistance, and 2 for child care and child development. Welfare recipients are eligible for a free cell phone with monthly minutes from the Universal Service Fund that the rest of us pay into.

So we get more illegitimate babies supported by taxpaying Americans every year. This extraordinary change in our social structure is the primary reason that government budgets, both federal and state, are so bloated. 

The Rasmussen Poll reports that 78 percent of American adults rate marriage as at least somewhat important to U.S. society, 60 percent consider it very important, and 77 percent say it's better for children to grow up in a home with both their parents. So why are we using tax dollars to discourage marriage and subsidize illegitimacy?

We should ask our presidential candidates who are worried about extravagant government spending, unbalanced budgets, and repeated raising of the debt ceiling, how they will stop the flow of money that promotes more and more dependency on government. Welfare spending is a major cause of our unbalanced budgets and colossal debt.

This hidden welfare state is the fastest growing component of government spending. And these figures do not include Social Security or Medicare payments.

Nor do the Heritage Foundation figures count the social and fiscal costs of the expensive problems that come mostly from female-headed households. These include drug addition, sex, suicides, school dropouts, runaways, and crime.

Welfare spending is a failure; it doesn't advance us toward any constructive goal, such as helping recipients to get on their feet economically. It merely increases dependence on government handouts and increases votes for big-spending politicians.

French Youth Poverty Rate Reaches 23%

While the French attack capitalism and America's way of life as being nightmarish — as compared to Europe's (oh-so-) compassionate economy and (oh-so-) generous society — the rate of French youth living in poverty has reached… 23%.
The diagnosis is critical.
That is Le Monde's interpretation given to the conclusion in the latest French report on the nation's youth.

Articles by Pascale Krémer and Catherine Rollot along with an interview of sociologist Olivier Galland, and filling the entire second and third pages of the French daily of reference along with the top four fifths' width of the front page, point out that "the young are the primary victims of the recession." And because "all youth do not suffer the recession as violently as their neighbors", the government's December report points out that the fracture is increasing between two castes of youth growing ever further apart.
Car les jeunes sont bien les premières victimes de la récession. Tous ne la subissent pas aussi violemment. Plutôt que le portrait d'une génération sacrifiée, ce rapport dessine la ligne de fracture entre deux jeunesses qui s'éloignent l'une de l'autre.
La première est dotée de diplômes, ils continuent bon gré mal gré de la protéger. La seconde en est dépourvue, elle est guettée par la pauvreté. Ce sont ces 15 % de jeunes qui ne sont ni en études, ni en formation, ni en emploi. Nulle part. Et que la puissance publique aide peu. Le taux de pauvreté des 18-24 ans atteint 22,5 %. Depuis 2004, il a progressé de 5 points. Au total, plus d'un million de jeunes sont désormais confrontés à une situation de grande précarité.
That's right: it's something we see over and over again: it turns out that — oui, even in Europe's compassionate© and generous™ societies — it is the rich who come out well and the poor who turn out not to be getting any aid (probably because, as usual, the poor are the ones paying for the rich).

Meanwhile, continues Pascal Kremer, 15% of people 15 to 29 are NEET (Neither in Employment   nor in Education and Training). Indeed, Pierre Cahuc, the author of The Pigeonholing Machine: How France Splits Its Youth in Two, tells Jean-Baptiste Chastand and Claire Guélaud that "we [French] have just about a million young people without a diploma and out of work, [and] half of those have stopped looking."
… on a quasiment un million de jeunes sans diplôme et sans emploi, et leur accès au travail est extrêmement compliqué. La moitié d'entre eux ne recherchent même plus un emploi... Ces jeunes sont dans une situation dramatique en France.

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year 2012 in Images

From the International Herald Tribune, the year in images

In the rest of the world, 75% of humans live their lives being ransacked by mafias, cops, and the military

Something I never see mentioned as an argument for an armed citizenry: look at the everyday life of regular people in the rest of the world, outside of the West and other developped nations. Until today, 75% of humans live their lives being ransacked by mafias, cops, and military. That's why I've always been suspicious of law enforcement and military: these people should never been allowed to outgun the citizenry.
 Thus writes Hervé as he sends us this National Review piece from Kevin D. Williamson. (When you're done reading it, be sure to check out the No Pasarán post on the Sandy Hook shooting).
Regulating the Militia
The Second Amendment is about protecting ourselves from the state.
My friend Brett Joshpe has published an uncharacteristically soft-headed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle arguing that in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook, conservatives and Republicans should support what he calls “sensible” gun-control laws. It begins with a subtext of self-congratulation (“As a conservative and a Republican, I can no longer remain silent . . . Some will consider it heresy,” etc.), casts aspersions of intellectual dishonesty (arguments for preserving our traditional rights are “disingenuous”), advances into ex homine (noting he has family in Sandy Hook, as though that confers special status on his preferences), fundamentally misunderstands the argument for the right to keep and bear arms, deputizes the electorate, and cites the presence of teddy bears as evidence for his case.
Brett, like practically every other person seeking to diminish our constitutional rights, either does not understand the purpose of the Second Amendment or refuses to address it, writing, “Gun advocates will be hard-pressed to explain why the average American citizen needs an assault weapon with a high-capacity magazine other than for recreational purposes.” The answer to this question is straightforward: The purpose of having citizens armed with paramilitary weapons is to allow them to engage in paramilitary actions. The Second Amendment is not about Bambi and burglars — whatever a well-regulated militia is, it is not a hunting party or a sport-clays club. It is remarkable to me that any educated person — let alone a Harvard Law graduate — believes that the second item on the Bill of Rights is a constitutional guarantee of enjoying a recreational activity.
There is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment for military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose enemies foreign and domestic, a guarantee against disorder and tyranny. Consider the words of Supreme Court justice Joseph Story — who was, it bears noting, appointed to the Court by the guy who wrote the Constitution:
The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
“Usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers” — not Bambi, not burglars. While your granddad’s .30-06 is a good deal more powerful than the .223 rifles that give blue-state types the howling fantods, that is not what we have a constitutional provision to protect. Liberals are forever asking: “Why would anybody need a gun like that?” And the answer is: because we are not serfs. We are a free people living under a republic of our own construction. We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled.
The right to keep and bear arms is a civil right. If you doubt that, consider the history of arms control in England, where members of the Catholic minority (and non-Protestants generally) were prohibited from bearing arms as part of the campaign of general political oppression against them. The Act of Disenfranchisement was still in effect when our Constitution was being written, a fact that surely was on the mind of such Founding Fathers as Daniel Carroll, to say nothing of his brother, Archbishop John Carroll.
The Second Amendment speaks to the nature of the relationship between citizen and state. Brett may think that such a notion is an antiquated relic of the 18th century, but then he should be arguing for wholesale repeal of the Second Amendment rather than presenting — what’s the word? — disingenuous arguments about what it means and the purpose behind it.
If we want to reduce the level of criminal violence in our society, we should start by demanding that the police and criminal-justice bureaucracies do their job. Massacres such as Sandy Hook catch our attention because they are so unusual. But a great deal of the commonplace violence in our society is preventable. Brett here might look to his hometown: There were 1,662 murders in New York City from 2003 to 2005, and a New York Times analysis of the data found that in 90 percent of the cases, the killer had a prior criminal record. (About half the victims did, too.) Events such as Sandy Hook may come out of nowhere, but the great majority of murders do not. The police function in essence as a janitorial service, cleaning up the mess created in part by our dysfunctional criminal-justice system.
We probably would get more out of our criminal-justice system if it were not so heavily populated by criminals. As I note in my upcoming book, The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome, it can be hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys:
For more than twenty years, NYPD detectives worked as enforcers and assassins for the Gambino crime family; in 2006 two detectives were convicted not only of murder and conspiracy to commit murder but also on charges related to such traditional mob activity as labor racketeering, running illegal gambling rings, extortion, narcotics trafficking, obstruction of justice, and the like. This was hardly an isolated incident; only a few years prior to the NYPD convictions more than 70 LAPD officers associated with the city’s anti-gang unit were found to have been deeply involved in gang-affiliated criminal enterprises connected to the Bloods street gang. Their crimes ranged from the familiar police transgressions of falsifying evidence, obstructing justice, and selling drugs seized in arrests to such traditional outlaw fare as bank robbery — they were cops and robbers. More than 100 criminal convictions were overturned because of evidence planted or falsified by officers of the LAPD. One scholarly account of the scandal concluded that such activity is not atypical but rather systemic — and largely immune to attempts at reform: “The current institution of law enforcement in America does appear to reproduce itself according [to] counter-legal norms . . . attempts to counteract this reproduction via the training one receives in police academies, the imposition of citizen review boards, departments of Internal Affairs, etc. do not appear to mitigate against this structural continuity between law enforcement and crime.”
The Department of Homeland Security has existed for only a few years but it already has been partly transformed into an organized-crime syndicate. According to a federal report, in 2011 alone more than 300 DHS employees and contractors were charged with crimes ranging from smuggling drugs and child pornography to selling sensitive intelligence to drug cartels. That’s not a few bad apples — that’s an arrest every weekday and many weekends. Given the usual low ratio of arrests to crimes committed, it is probable that DHS employees are responsible for not hundreds but thousands of crimes. And these are not minor infractions: Agents in the department’s immigration division were caught selling forged immigrant documents, and DHS vehicles have been used to transport hundreds (and possibly thousands) of pounds of illegal drugs. A “standover” crew — that is, a criminal enterprise that specializes in robbing other criminals — was found being run by a DHS agent in Arizona, who was apprehended while hijacking a truckload of cocaine.
Power corrupts. Madison knew that, and the other Founders did, too, which is why we have a Second Amendment.
Related: What Is to Blame for the Connecticut Shooting? Does the Blame Lie with the Right to Bear Arms Or Can It Be Found Elsewhere?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

If I Were the Devil by PAUL HARVEY

Duncan Hill sends us the following:
For those unfamiliar with Paul Harvey, he was the most popular radio commentator of his time … in the US. In 1965, he broadcast this message. Amazing how clear things were for him. Thank goodness we have Obama to prove him right.
Valerie adds that several
versions of the text can be found
for the message was rebroadcast over the years, again and again, slightly rewritten at times from its original form, in 1964.