“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Free Trade is for Goods and Services. Not for the Farm.

I am not buying the idea that the market is the be all and end all to our lives, property and future. Free trade is a good idea when confined to goods and services and it is between equals. We accept the fact that trade in weapons systems that are going to come back at you is rarely a good idea. Free trade in drugs is not accepted and free trade in human beings, protected lumber, animals and antiquities are also banned or restricted. The term "free trade" is relative.

Trade between equals is important and both sides of a trading relationship should respect property rights and share rules of conduct. This is necessary in an age where intangible intellectual property is so important. Trade always has a political component. The highest form of free trade should be a privilege between defined equals or compatible parties. Free trade of goods and services need not be extended to ownership of property or equities. Free trade expanded to include equities and property should be between equals. Russia and China do not rise to that standard. The Euros have it right.

EU right to defend against sovereign funds-Juncker
Reuters Monday November 19 2007

BERLIN, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker was quoted on Monday as saying the European Union has the right to retaliate against sovereign wealth funds from countries under certain conditions.
"Countries that protect their own markets cannot expect to be allowed to make unimpeded investments in Europe," Juncker told Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper.
Juncker, who is also the Eurogroup president, said he did not view such moves as protectionism and argued that Europe had a right to take measures he described as "retaliatory action".
According to a draft law in Germany, foreign investors seeking to take large stakes in German firms can choose to inform the government of their plans ahead of time or risk a lengthy probe into their purchases.
The draft addresses Berlin's concerns about takeovers of firms by sovereign wealth funds and other outside investors. Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has been talking for months about introducing new legislation to shield German companies from cash-rich, state-owned funds, particularly from China, Russia and the Middle East.
Government-owned investment vehicles control around $2 trillion and are expected to grow rapidly to $12 trillion by 2015.
In one deal which sparked worries in Germany, China's state investment agency agreed in May to buy a non-voting stake of nearly 10 percent in U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group , which holds shares in Deutsche Telekom .

(Writing by Erik Kirschbaum)


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  2. Situation normal, illegal invasion proceeds unabated:

    Revised Rule for Employers That Hire Immigrants

    The Bush administration will suspend its legal defense of a new rule to punish employers who hire illegal immigrants.
    Judge Breyer also stopped Social Security from sending out about 141,000 no-match letters, covering more than eight million workers, which contained instructions from Homeland Security about the rule. Social Security sends the letters to clarify workers’ information so it can correctly credit taxes deducted from their wages.

    Some businesses welcomed the rule because it clarified what they had to do to avoid immigration raids. But the labor unions cited a report from the inspector general of the Social Security Administration finding that 12.7 million of the records of United States citizens in the agency’s database contained errors that could lead to them being fired

  3. chattel
    Main Entry: chat·tel
    Pronunciation: \ˈcha-təl\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English chatel property, from Anglo-French — more at cattle

    Date: 14th century

    1 : an item of tangible movable or immovable property except real estate and things (as buildings) connected with real property

    2 : slave, bondsman

  4. Trade in Human Chattel is to be discouraged, in that it constitutes slavery.

    Honest George, compassionate Christian "Conservative" that he is, is not concerned.

    Bonerdom Trumps Christianity.
    First tnings first.

  5. Critics decry Bush's inaction on pardons for border agents

    WASHINGTON -- Conservatives expressed bitter disappointment Friday that President Bush did not use the Thanksgiving holiday to pardon two U.S. border agents who have been imprisoned for a year for shooting and injuring an accused drug smuggler at the border.

    A group of Christian and evangelical leaders -- including Paul M. Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition and David A. Keene of the American Conservative Union -- excoriated Bush for a moral lapse in the case, saying inaction runs counter to compassionate conservatism and Christian values.

    Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have weighed in, saying the case highlights the difficulties of securing the border amid an intense national debate about immigration. After a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing in July, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called on the president to commute the 11- and 12-year sentences of the two agents.

    "The sentence does not match the crime," she said in a statement, calling the case an example of "prosecutorial overreach" and "a serious miscarriage of justice."

    A recent development in the case could further increase pressure on the White House to intervene. The suspected smuggler shot by the officers in February 2005 has been indicted for bringing marijuana into the United States during September and October 2005 -- the very period when he was in the country on a humanitarian visa so he could testify against the agents.

    "The latest disclosures show that the government knew the alleged drug smuggler was a career criminal," said T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing over 12,000 border agents. "He was their star witness. They portrayed him as a down-on-his-luck kid looking for $1,000 to pay for his mother's medical care."

  6. Schrodinger's Drug Smuggler: he has a 50/50 chance of being a career criminal.

    Given the many worlds theory, some alternative universe would show the absurd outcome where he is treated as an "down-on-his-luck kid."

    Schrodiner's Border Agents: the opinions surrounding their incarceration are randomly distributed around the government so that American people of all value systems can be catered to re: the controversy.

  7. Alderman, what will be the reaction in your town council when the Supreme Court rules the right to bear arms is not an individual right?

  8. We are the worst of them all, says the Archbishop

  9. British imperialsim was however a good thing, God Save the Queen.

  10. That b'sh'p's interview was published in a "Muslim lifestyle magainze" Emel

    Get this:

    The magazine was launched by Muslim convert, Sarah Joseph, in 2003. It had previously only been available in specialist Muslim bookshops and relied mainly on word of mouth to attract new readers and subscribers. It has since become the most widely read British Muslim magazine. It was the first mainstream Muslim magazine in the UK to also target non-muslim readership, and its circulation now covers 30 countries.

    How is that even possible?

    Awwright maiyts! weez gunna publish awselves a right bloody bri'ish muslim mag thatoll fin'ly stick it in the eye of uncle sam and his bloody whore lady "liberty!" Pip! Pip!

  11. Bobal: We are the worst of them all, says the Archbishop

    Worst one. Pee-shaw! Isn't he the boss of that branch of the Church that left behind the guidance of the Petrine Primacy because the mean old Pope didn't like it when 'enry the 8th married SIX WOMEN, one right after the other, and sometimes chopped off their heads to clear the way for the next one?

  12. bobal:

    something that gathers from the streets not only guns but also money needed for public projects.

    As Giuliani said, lower taxes is a telltale sign that your representatives are shirking their duties on crafting majestic 5 year plans. You as a citizen should demand your government be a better planner of your future!

    If only the government could get universal health care up & a universal disarmament campaign. Why, the two could be paired, given how much the AMA despises guns - more so even than super bugs in hospitals!

  13. The good Archbishop..

    ..."Williams went beyond his previous critique of the conduct of the war on terror, saying the United States had lost the moral high ground since September 11. He urged it to launch a “generous and intelligent programme of aid directed to the societies that have been ravaged; a check on the economic exploitation of defeated territories; a demilitarisation of their presence”...

    Now if his eminence would look at our little chart at the top of this post, he would notice that two particularly well-healed muslim countries have almost $1.5 trillion in foreign reserves. Dubai spends money on indoor desert ski resorts, Saudi Arabia does not even have an embassy in Iraq. I'll make a deal with this archeyebrowed fool. When the first Christian Churches our opened in Saudi Arabia, I'll listen to his pious pontifications to a muslim magazine.

  14. May Allah bless the Alderman for sharing. Blessings and peace be upon your village.

  15. Bobal,

    May always there by a large rock in hand should you ever come across the physical embodiment of cosmic evil and may always a sympathetic cameraman record your bravery!

    May your martyrdom mural be bright and the collage of tractors, watermelons and AK47s inspire every passerby to challenge authority with pre-meditated violence.

  16. Chubby 'enry 8 had mistresses too. Find out all about it here.

  17. Is the Archbishop jealous of the Imams? Doubtful his fiery sermons compel such sacrifice in his own congregations. Doubtful also that he does not seek more power.

  18. 'enry had gout, I'll betcha.


    I think you nailed it Alderman, the Archbishop ain't normal somehow. There's a screw loose, he's got unconscious drives--issues!--that need to be compensated somehow. He's nearly out of control.

  19. A memorable comment from that thread:

    If there was a good reason for the seperation of church and state, this is a prime example of why. When are the Christian's and Islamic leaders going to understand that " judge yee not lest yee be judged" means exactly that. I am sick and tired of this type of pandering and it is so transparent that to try and gain some form of alliance with each other there has to be a demiGod - the USA!! Stop it, prey to someone other then the idol of self importance, shame on the leadership of these two faiths and others that can only express the meaning of right by identifying the meaning of wrong. By the way, I know people that do not prey five times a day or once a week, they are good people, loving people and caring people. Preying doesnot make the Christian, actions do, and to judge others is not our place,teach this and tolerance and you might see an up swing in attendance.\
    Stew Berry, Wylie, Texas

    Amusing subversive pseudonym as well.

  20. I know folk that prey, too.

    Predators, not often are they found deep in prayer, unless the object of the hunt escaped.

  21. "'Enry's the 8ths Excellent Adventure in Search of a Viable Y Chromosome"

    a play in six parts

  22. I think you're charged half the going rate of carbon guilt if you expel carbon in the service of anti-Americanism, so it's really not a bad deal.

    A government-appointed parenting coach can help you learn not only the proper ideas for your children but also how to save yourself a bundle on carbon and jizya taxes!

  23. Early

    Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35 NIV)


    One of those days Jesus went out to a
    mountainside to pray
    , and spent the night praying to God. (Luke 6:12 NIV)


    But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16 NIV)
    Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." (Luke 22:39 NIV)

    We wouldn't have all these prayer meetings around if people followed the Master. When you pray, pray in your closet, he said.

  24. The Archbishop is hoping for a new gig after the fire sale of the Anglicans is complete. Grand Mufti of Canterbury has a ring to it, don't you think?

  25. Check out Dangerous Places before making your Holiday travel plans. Ratings from 'trip to grandma's' to 'your last trip'. Note: Mexico probably should be downgraded a notch or two.

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  27. Deuce neglects to give credit where credit is due to Dubai, failing to mention their openhearted willingness to spend their hard-earned cash giving tens of thousands of Indian Slaves gainful employment, and often even including generous living accomadations in the bargain.
    Such Selfless Folk!

  28. Flea's Red Hot Chili Pepper Home has "burnt to a crisp."
    One of the homes lost in the fire belonged to Flea, longtime bassist for the rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers. In a text message to a Times reporter, Flea wrote that the home had "burnt to a crisp."
    La Times Spoofed Again:
    Flea's Home NOT a Burnt Pepper
    Flea, the bassist for the the Red Hot Chili Peppers, did not lose his home today in the Malibu fires.

    KNX Newsradio confirmed that earlier reports that Flea's house burned down are untrue, according to his manager.

    According to KTTV, rocker Axl Rose lives in the area as well -- his home was damaged, but saved.

    FLEA at Work

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  31. hehe featuring home cooked customer...