Archive for the ‘Behaviour’ Category

Trump wasn’t wrong about Sweden (just a little early)

February 21, 2017

Fake news in Sweden is nothing new  – it is mainly by omission of course. Politically unpalatable stories are generally ignored or downplayed by a docile main stream media which never questions the basis of political correctness. They have also made a god of multi-culturalism and cannot (or will not) distinguish between multi-ethnic and multicultural (A “society” – to be a society – can be multi-ethnic but not multicultural).

After what seemed to be another “ignorant” Trump comment about Sweden, he has been proven to be correct in substance if not in timing by the extensive riots in Rinkeby (an immigrant dominated suburb of Stockholm) yesterday. What he said was “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible”. His reference to “last night” was wrong but the rest was spot on. Of course there was high indignation from Sweden in general and from the liberal/left in particular, but their high dudgeon may prove to be badly misplaced.

Meanwhile, Rioting Breaks Out In Sweden

It would appear the mainstream media (along with several celebrities and Swedish politicians) is going to be apologizing to President Trump once again.

Having spent the entire new cycle trying to ignore the immigrant crisis facing Sweden, and pin the ignorant tail on Trump, both Dagbladet and Expressen reports riots breaking out in the highly immigrant concentrated Stockholm borough of Rinkeby, Sweden with police firing warning shots as 100s of young people throw stones and burn cars.

During the evening hundreds of young people gathered in the center of Rinkeby, well known for its high concentration of immigrants and people with immigrant ancestry. In June 2010, Rinkeby was the scene of riots and attacks against the local police station and Rinkeby is the region in which the ’60 Minutes’ crew were attacked in 2016.

……. warnings of increasing radicalization among Sweden’s Muslims – warnings he started to broadcast a decade ago – now seem eerily prophetic in light of an Associated Press investigation that found Stockholm to be a breeding ground for jihadists among Swedish Somalis. 

According to the AP report, which first ran Jan. 24, an al-Qaida-linked group is busy recruiting anti-government fighters among Somali youths living in Rinkeby. A suburb of Stockholm, Rinkeby has earned the nickname of “Little Mogadishu” because of the number of Somalis living there. Rinkeby is also the center of the recruiting efforts of al-Shabab, a group with ties to al-Qaida.

Rinkeby is a known problem area in Stockholm. It was here NRK journalist Anders Magnus was attacked with stones last spring, and here the police never go in the evenings without reinforcements from other patrols according to Dagbladet. A freelancer the newspaper spoke to, described the situation as serious. …

Rinkeby riots Feb 20th 2017

Rinkeby riots Feb 20th 2017

As an immigrant in Sweden, I find a decided lack of courage among Swedish politicians and the main stream media when they will not talk about the immigrant problems (which are primarily issues with Muslim immigrants, and religion is not irrelevant) because:

  1. they cannot bring themselves to admit that the multicultural meme  that they have religiously propounded is shallow, lazy and discredited (as opposed to multi-ethnic but with an evolving mono-culture), and
  2. they believe that keeping silent may make it go away.

Donald Trump is not big on academic, rational, logical thinking. He reacts from the gut and, at least in this instance, his gut emotions about Sweden are not wrong.


 

The essence of human sapience lies in having opinions

February 12, 2017

When the answer to a question is not thought to lie in the field of “certain” knowledge, we expect our best specialists in the field (doctors and lawyers and judges and scientists and engineers and even economists) to have considered opinions and accept that different specialists may have differing opinions. If a specialist declines to address a question in his field and express an opinion, we think the less of him and consider him lacking in “expertise”. On the other hand when lay persons or non-specialists have intransigent opinions we consider them “opinionated” and that they have “closed minds”. Human opinions can change – though slowly – and generally due to a change of starting conditions. The same lawyer, for example, may well change his opinion about the same matter at a different time or if given different facts to address the question.

An opinion is a judgement, a conclusion about the unknown, based on knowledge and the application of intelligence and reason. We take opinions to be something characteristic of being human. We don’t expect a computer, no matter how well-programmed, to have an “opinion”. The computer (artificial intelligence) may be able to present an “answer” to a question as being most probable, but it always presents the same “answer” given the same inputs and that answer is not considered an “opinion”.

It is having an opinion which is, I think, the mark of sapience.

I take sentienceknowledge, intelligence, valuesjudgement, wisdom and sapience to be different – if sometimes connected – qualities. I take these to be as defined here.

sentience is the presence of consciousness. All living things are not sentient. While most mammals and even fish and birds and even insects seem to be sentient, it is not apparent that trees or sponges or algae have consciousness. A brain is necessary. It seems theoretically possible for a non-living artificial intelligence to become conscious, but that has yet to be achieved.

knowledge is an accumulation of observable, verifiable facts about the surrounding world. Knowledge can be recorded and stored in a variety of media including in the memory of brains (both living and artificial). It would seem that all sentient entities possess knowledge. (I take science to be the process by which some area of ignorance is investigated and converted into knowledge. Thus, a tiger exploring new territory is engaged in science).

intelligence is a composite, cognitive skill. It requires knowledge. It is a measure of an entity’s skill in solving problems by the application of its knowledge together with its ability to reason, its speed of reasoning, its language abilities and its capability to learn. Knowledge is essential and the greater the knowledge, the greater the entity’s potential intelligence. However, intelligence is a composite skill and a treasure trove of knowledge without the ability to reason would give no intelligence. A brain is required, but for intelligence to be manifested, sentience is not.

values is an internal set of referents that an intelligent, sentient entity may have. The set of values becomes an ethical code where these values allow the distinctions of the three fundamental ethical values (right and wrong, good and bad, and just and unjust). The set of values may include many distinctions and referents based on learning and experience.

judgement is the ability to compare some knowledge or event against some reference values and to make a conclusion about that piece of knowledge or event. A set of inbuilt values becomes a necessity to be able to make a judgement. The conclusions to be reached by means of making a judgement are relative and qualitative and often abstract (right, good, just, better than, more beautiful, tastier, safer, friendlier, …..).  Judgements which lead to quantitative conclusions, in contrast, are just new pieces of knowledge (faster, higher, heavier, …). Having a set of values is a necessary ingredient for the exercise of judgement which then becomes the value derivative of knowledge. Knowledge and intelligence are both required but sentience is not.

wisdom, I take to be the accumulation of knowledge about the quality of judgements. It is thus the second value derivative of knowledge, and requires not only knowledge, intelligence and a set of values, but also an accumulation of previous judgements to which values can also be applied.

And so we come to sapience. In the hierarchy of these qualities, humans are first sentient, then accumulate knowledge (by the practice of learning or of science) and have intelligence. However to be able to then move on to making judgements and accumulating wisdom, something else is required. An internal set of values is necessary. But just the capability to make judgements is insufficient. There must also be a drive to make these judgements and draw conclusions. It is this propensity to make judgements and draw conclusions which gives sapience. Sapience is not wisdom. It is the ability and the drive to make judgements (have opinions) and judgements when valued and accumulated give wisdom.

The drive to take what is known and leap in to what may be, in the form of opinions, is the essence of sapience. Having opinions is what makes us human.

And that also means that to decline to have an opinion is a denial of sapience.

sapience

 


 

“92% of radical, left activists still live with Mommy” – Bild

February 8, 2017

German newspaper, Bild, reports on a new analysis from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV). Apparently 92% of radical, left activists still live at home with their mothers. A third were unemployed.

Bild:

The number of crimes committed by violent leftist offenders is increasing: In the period from 2009 to 2013, a total of 1523 cases were recorded, more than twice as many as from 2003 to 2008. “Most politically motivated violent crimes come from the left-wing scene ,” says Interior Senator Frank Henkel (52, CDU).

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution , has determined in a study that the profile of the average, left perpetrator:

He is male, 21 to 24 years old, despite average maturity usually no job – and 92 percent of them still live with their mothers.

Linksradikale – image Berliner Kurir

The report also shows that:

Of the 873 suspects identified, 84% were men, 16 % were women and 72 percent were between 18 and 29 years old.

► Nine out of ten were not in any relationship.

► 34 percent have average maturity, 29 percent have a high school diploma. One in three is unemployed.

► One in ten had committed more than one act of violence, and one offender even twelve. Four out of ten were awaiting other punishment.

► Between 2009 and 2013, left-wing assassins attempted eleven murders and two attempted homicides.

► 902 violent acts (59 per cent) were directed against persons.

► Four out of five  were acts against policemen.

►15 percent were against right-wing extremists.

► In the case of violence against objects, car fires are the most common offense with 62 percent. In 58 cases police cars were torched.


 

The Islamic Republic of Gambia is no longer “Islamic”

January 31, 2017

It always strikes me as ridiculous when so-called religious laws (which are just as man-made as any other and are always anachronistic) are allowed to prevail over more recently made, more appropriate laws. This applies especially to countries which claim to be secular but then allow the inflow of people who claim that their own religious law takes precedence over the laws of the country they are emigrating to. Of course, at the present time, this means Sharia law and immigrants who claim that it takes precedence over the laws of the country they are emigrating to.

I wonder why all these countries do not require of immigrants that they attest – in writing – to their acceptance of the local law of the land over any religious law.

The new President of Gambia has realised that there may be more disadvantages to being an Islamic country than advantages. He has changed the name of his country from the “Islamic Republic of Gambia” to “The Gambia”.

gambia-loses-islamic

Gambia loses “Islamic”

IBTimes: 

The Gambia’s new President Adama Barrow has removed “Islamic” from the official name of his country pledging more reforms in the tiny West African nation. In his first press conference since taking over as leader, Barrow said he would soon be overhauling government institutions to make the administration more effective.

“The rule of the law, that will be the order of the day,” said Barrow, adding that The Gambia, where Muslims constitute 90% of the population, would no longer be an “Islamic republic”. The word “Islamic” was added to the country’s name in 2015.

Calling on the nation to unite, the 51-year-old former businessman promised to develop the country by implementing a series of democratic reforms.

“The field will be level for everybody, and in total reconciliation, if people reconcile, that will unite everybody, and we want to hold that line… My government will look at all areas and there will be a complete overhaul of the system,” said the new leader.

A political crisis gripped The Gambia after Barrow’s predecessor, Yahya Jammeh, the autocratic leader who ruled the African nation for 22 years, refused to step down despite losing the polls in December 2016. Jammeh faces a series of human rights abuse allegations forcing him to go into exile as soon as Barrow took oath from neighbouring Senegal.

Maybe it is no longer politically correct to be “Islamic”?


 

More countries from the SDC list could be added to Trump’s immigration restrictions

January 31, 2017

Seven countries are currently on the US list for immigration restrictions, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia. However there are clear indications from Trump’s chief of staff that other countries could get added to the list. Reince Preibus said on CBS News on Sunday:

“The reason we chose those seven countries was, those were the seven countries that both the Congress and the Obama administration identified as being the seven countries that were most identifiable with dangerous terrorism taking place in their country. …… Now, you can point to other countries that have similar problems, like Pakistan and others. Perhaps we need to take it further. But for now, immediate steps, pulling the Band-Aid off, is to do further vetting for people traveling in and out of those countries,”

These seven countries covered by Trump’s order are also included in a list of countries labeled as specially designated countries (SDCs) that “have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members.”  This list – held by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department (ICE) consists – it is thought – of 35 countries. The list as of 2011 is still available. However, Barack Obama apparently added Israel to this list but his list was later scrubbed from public view.

While the immigration restrictions are temporary, ostensibly to check screening processes, since these 7 countries are “failed states” and cannot provide sufficient information, government to government, further countries from the list may also be subjected to temporary restrictions. I suspect that this is why Saudi Arabia is not on the list. The government there is fully functioning and has probably promised the US information about travellers. (Much of the support for Saudi support for Sunni, terrorist groups, is from non-governmental sources). Pakistan does not always provide information about terrorists which it has – especially if this is Taliban or Kashmir related. It would not be surprising to see immigration from Pakistan also being subjected to restrictions.

These are countries that harbor and train terrorists. These are countries that we want to know who is coming and going in and out of to prevent calamities from happening in this country.

……….. He was elected president in many respects because people knew that he was going to be tough on immigration from countries that harbor terrorists. And I can’t imagine too many people out there watching this right now think it’s unreasonable to ask a few more questions from someone traveling in and out of Libya and Yemen before being let loose in the United States.


The ICE list as of July 2011

ICE List of Specially Designated Countries (SDCs) that Promote or Protect Terrorists

July 2, 2011

Screening Aliens From Specially Designated Countries

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General issued a report in May 2011 titled “Supervision of Aliens Commensurate with Risk” that details Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) detention and supervision of aliens.  The report  includes a list of Specially Designated Countries (SDCs) that are said to “promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members”.  The report states that ICE uses a Third Agency Check (TAC) to screen aliens from specially designated countries (SDCs) that have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members and that the purpose of the additional screening is to determine whether other agencies have an interest in the alien. ICE’s policy requires officers to conduct TAC screenings only for aliens from SDCs if the aliens are in ICE custody.

According to the report, ICE provided this list of specially designated countries. ICE policy requires officers to perform a TAC for detained aliens from these countries.

  • Afghanistan
  • Algeria
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Israel
  • Jordan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Malaysia
  • Mauritania
  • Morocco
  • Territories of Gaza West Bank
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • Tajikistan
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uzbekistan
  • Yemen

 

Illegal voting in the US is rampant because voter eligibility is never checked

January 28, 2017

UPDATE! 

Why Trump’s probe of voter fraud is long overdue

All industrialized democracies — and most that are not — require voters to prove their identity before voting. Britain was a holdout, but last month it announced that persistent examples of voter fraud will require officials to see passports or other documentation from voters in areas prone to corruption. 

The real problem in our election system is that we don’t really know to what extent President Trump’s claim is true because we have an election system that is based on the honor system.  …….. The Justice Department has also opposed every effort by states—such as Kansas, Arizona, Alabama and Georgia—to implement laws that require individuals registering to vote to provide proof of citizenship.


It is politically incorrect to question the US voting system. After all, it is the greatest democracy in the world!

But what is notable among all the various politicians and the media who claim there is no significant ineligible voting is that they all just make bald assertions or state “that there is no evidence of illegal voting”. Of course there isn’t. But there is no evidence that ineligible voting is not happening – or that it is not happening on a large scale. First, data on eligibility is never published and, in most cases is not even collected. The onus is surely on the election commissions to check and ensure that voters are all eligible, not for others to prove that some voters are or were ineligible.

Only citizens are supposed to vote in federal elections. Even “green card holders” are not eligible to vote in federal elections. Since 1996, a federal law has prohibited non-citizens from voting in federal elections, subject to punishment by fines, imprisonment, inadmissibility, and even deportation. But while voter registration forms require that a box for citizenship be ticked (a self-declaration), the immigration status for non-citizens is rarely – if ever – checked. There are virtually no prosecutions and even then, only if someone complains against a particular individual.

American Immigration Center:

Non-U.S. citizens are not allowed to vote in the federal elections. Non-U.S. citizens include Green Card holders, those in the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas, undocumented immigrants, refugees and asylees. These categories of immigrants do not have the right to vote for the President of the U.S.

Natural born U.S. citizens and naturalized citizens can vote in the Presidential Elections. U.S. citizens have more rights than legal permanent residents. Green Card holders can remain in the U.S., work here and also bring certain categories of relatives to the country. But they are not granted all the rights granted to U.S. citizens, including the right to vote, serve on juries and work in certain government positions. Though the immigration status granted to legal permanent residents is permanent, they might lose their Green Cards if they commit deportable crimes.

Green Card holders who misrepresent their status as a U.S. citizen and vote in the federal election are more likely to lose their immigration status in the U.S. This misrepresentation can also make them deportable from the country.

Federal law does not prevent non-citizens from voting in state or local elections.

I have heard many anecdotes of green card holders (by definition non-citizens) who did vote in the 2016 US elections. This is not definitive evidence of course but suggests that very little checking is done. What is even more remarkable, and quite amazing, is that neither identification nor proof of status as a citizen is required as a matter of routine when voting.

Plain stupidity.

The bottom line is that no non-citizen is eligible to vote. The opposition to having ID to vote is primarily from politicians who wish to make use of ineligible voting. A large number of the voters – especially in States like California – in the 2016 elections were non-citizens. A significant number were green-card holders.

Stupidity

Stupidity

Add to this that even citizens are permitted to be registered in more than one state. They are not supposed to vote more than once, but there is no check that they do not.

It is not just likely – but is highly probable – that as many as 5 million voters in the 2016 presidential election were ineligible to vote.

As William Campenni writes in American Thinker:

lllegal Aliens Really Do Vote – a Lot

………. A voter registration form was thrust in my hands.  The very first item on these forms, in Virginia and the rest of America, was “I am a citizen of the United States of America,” with YES and NO blocks to check.

“Don’t I need to show you some proof of citizenship?” I asked. She replied “no.”  I asked her how she could verify that I wasn’t lying. Sensing she might be on a slippery slope, she called over a supervisor from the Registrar’s Office and told the woman of my concern.  The official told me they never checked citizenship status because I would be penalized if I lied. Really? So I asked her how she would verify my truthfulness, or those of the dozens of new voters being registered that day.  Defensively, she replied that they checked all registrations for accuracy at the Registrar’s Office when they were turned in.

I called the Registrar Monday, and asked if they do indeed verify citizenship status.  I was told that they didn’t unless someone made a specific complaint against an individual applicant.

……… nobody at the Registrar’s Office is checking citizenship.

The brutal truth is that illegal aliens vote, and in large numbers.  Voter fraud is not exclusive to illegal aliens.  There are also legal aliens (green card, H1B visas, tourist visa holders, etc.) who vote illegally.  And it’s not just Latin Americans.  The non-citizen demographic includes South Asian tech workers, Irish overstays, West and Horn of Africa immigrants, and Asian students. Then there are dual-state voters (college kids, snowbirds, transients), reincarnated voters, and un-purged voters long moved from their precincts.

While few cases are prosecuted, it’s not because few crimes are committed.

So much for the greatest democracy in the world where – in my estimation – upwards of 5% of the votes cast are ineligible.


 

Seeking “asylum” in Europe carries a whiff of fraud

January 26, 2017

It is hardly surprising that “asylum seekers” in Europe are perceived as including many fraudsters. This article is from the Basler Zeitung in Switzerland:

Eritreans enjoy their “home leave”

Many Eritreans regularly return to their home country where they are supposedly “threatened with life and limb”. The refugees, who mostly live on social welfare, are a good source of foreign currency for the home country.

The scene took place in July 2016 at Zurich-Kloten Airport. It’s a holiday season. Thousands of people fly for their summer vacation. Among them are numerous people from Eritrea, men, women, whole families. They have travel documents as refugees or as temporary residents, who can stay in Switzerland despite a rejected asylum application. The cantons have issued the documents after the Eritreans have submitted a request and this has been examined by the Confederation.

Many of them do not fly to Italy, Germany or Sweden, where there are a large diaspora of Eritrean communities.  They fly to their homeland. Thus, to the very country in which, according to the refugee policy, they are “threatened with life and limb” , and therefore can not at any time be returned after a rejected asylum application, says Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga.

However, the trip does not go directly to Eritrea. Such flights are not available from Zurich at all, but, according to BaZ research, via an intermediate station, for example via Istanbul. From there to the Sudanese capital Khartoum or to Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. This is shown by the boarding cards of the Eritreers, which have been seen by BaZ in Zurich. Up to fifty people leave daily from Switzerland and fly to a neighboring country of Eritrea. A return flight via Istanbul costs around 650 francs during the high season in summer. At present they are available for 599 francs.

In Sudan or Ethiopia, the Eritreans finally get buses, which bring them home in a few days. From Khartoum there are also flights, which after an hour’s flight lands in the Eritrean capital, Asmara . Four out of five Eritreans in Switzerland receive social welfare. This is evidently generous enough that it is possible for many to travel to their homeland.

So far, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), said it was difficult to determine who was going to Eritrea through a neighboring country because there are no direct flights. It was merely a few persons who were abusing the status of asylum. At the end of May 2016 the SEM , as reported by BaZ , claimed that every year about 20 suspicious cases were tested, less than half as many as flew daily just from Zurich-Kloten to Sudan, ……

…. This means, in the plain text, that many Eritreans, who are mostly unable to present their Eritrean passports when seeking asylum, suddenly have travel documents, when they go on home leave, either from the Swiss authorities or from the Eritrean consulate in Geneva or elsewhere. New papers. … (It was) revealed  already three years ago that the Eritrean representation in Switzerland not only participated in tax drives from the Eritrean diaspora but also organized travels to Eritrea. Refugees are a source of revenue for the home country. ……. 

No doubt there are genuine asylum seekers, but the many cases of fraud mean that the seeking of “asylum” has lost both credibility and value.


 

The agenda for the daily news show

January 25, 2017

It is early morning in Europe and the US is still asleep.

Another news cycle has started. (The world news cycle is de facto on US time). But the agenda for this cycle – apart from unforeseen events – is being set by Donald Trump’s late night tweets before going to bed (sent at around 10pm EST). In fact, in my morning sweep of news from around the world, usually starting with New Zealand and Japan and working westwards, I have now started to look first at the Trump tweets.

The tweets this morning:

trump-tweets-20170124

From the New Zealand Herald to The Australian, through the Indian papers and in the European media Trump’s tweet on the immigration wall is picked up universally to make prominent headlines. The gratuitous remark about CNN (though it is well deserved) is not picked up to the same extent. The comments about Chicago (and the wall, of course) are prominently covered by the US media. CNN also covers the wall and Chicago but refrains from adding fuel to the raging feud they currently have with Trump.

The US (and some European media) also cover the current ban on public statements by US State agencies.

But the Trump tweets are driving the news cycle.


 

Highly likely that at least 3 million illegal voters voted against Trump

January 24, 2017

A study carried out in 2014 and reported in the Journal of Electoral Studies concluded that in the 2008 and 2010 elections, a large number of non-citizens voted illegally. In 2008 and 2010 the researchers estimated that 2.8 million votes were cast illegally. It is highly likely therefore that in 2016, where Obama and Clinton were trying specifically to mobilise the illegal votes, that this number was well in excess of 3 million votes.

The main stream media are stating (not suggesting) that Trump’s claim about illegal voters has been debunked. But it hasn’t. The “debunking” consists entirely of pointing to the the lack of hard evidence from Trump. They have no evidence to show themselves that it was lower. The “debunking” story itself is little more than Fake News. In fact, considering the influx of illegal immigrants since 2010, there is a high probability that the number of illegal voters could have been closer to 5 million rather than 3 million.

Jesse T. RichmanGulshan A. Chattha and David C. EarnestDo non-citizens vote in U.S. elections?Electoral Studies, Volume 36, December 2014, Pages 149–157, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2014.09.001

  • Some non-citizens cast votes in U.S. elections despite legal bans.
  • Non-citizens favor Democratic candidates over Republican candidates.
  • Non-citizen voting likely changed 2008 outcomes including Electoral College votes and the composition of Congress.

 

Abstract: In spite of substantial public controversy, very little reliable data exists concerning the frequency with which non-citizen immigrants participate in United States elections. Although such participation is a violation of election laws in most parts of the United States, enforcement depends principally on disclosure of citizenship status at the time of voter registration. This study examines participation rates by non-citizens using a nationally representative sample that includes non-citizen immigrants. We find that some non-citizens participate in U.S. elections, and that this participation has been large enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes, and Congressional elections. Non-citizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.

A Harvard paper claimed that the authors were biased but themselves had only their own speculations based on their own biases and no evidence to back up up their claims.

Most of the 3 – 5 million illegal voters were concentrated in heavily Democratic areas and while they boosted Hillary Clinton’s vote totals, probably did not impact the electoral college results very much. Trump won the Electoral College handily and won 30 of the 50 states. In California alone, Clinton won by 4.2 million of the votes. In New York she won by 1.6 million. In the country as a whole she won by 2.9 million, which means that outside of California alone, Trump won the rest of the country by 1.3 million votes, and outside of the two states, Trump won the rest of the country by as much as 2.9 million votes. It seems fairly obvious that most of the illegal voting was probably in California. Clinton spent some $1.6 billion while Trump spent some $600 million.

There are probably some richer illegal voters around.


 

 

Bilateral is always preferable to multilateral (and the EU is not smart)

January 24, 2017

This continues my thesis that the age of global, multi-lateral agreements is counter-productive (see previous post). Multi-lateral agreements are part of a centralisation paradigm which is becoming obsolete. It is time to shift to smart, distributed, networks which build on bilateral agreements.

An agreement with the EU as a whole (28 countries, or 27 after Brexit)  is always more rigid and less flexible than making individual bilateral agreements. Over time, in a changing world, the mutli-lateral deal always ends up as a barrier to growth. It is my contention that since 2008 when the financial crisis was triggered, the rigidity of the EU has been a brake not only on the recovery of individual member countries, but has also acted as a brake on other countries having agreements with the EU.

The Canada – EU trade agreement (CETA) is an illustrative example. Negotiations started in 2004. The terms were agreed in 2014. It was signed in October 2016. It has still to be ratified by all the EU parliaments. It has taken that long because of the differences between the EU member countries. What has been signed is already obsolete since the world has moved on. But the agreement cannot be changed without all the EU countries agreeing. The possibility of renegotiation is an essential requirement for any agreement, but for CETA it is virtually impossible. Canada, and each of the EU member countries would have been far better off, with 27 bilateral trade agreements. Instead of a faceless Brussels negotiating for all 27 as a group (lowest common standards and minimum level of internal disatisfaction applying) each country could, instead, have used a common core agreement as a basis for variations for each country and being negotiated by its own representatives. It would have taken less time than the 13 years for CETA.

GATT was and the WTO is equally inflexible and unfriendly to changes. The WTO rather than allowing free trade has ensured that some countries (mainly the rich countries) can maintain high import duties and quotas in certain products, blocking imports from developing countries. The injustices are enshrined and renegotiation (for example by a country moving from developing to developed status) is virtually impossible. The WTO ensures that there is inbuilt protection of agriculture in developed countries while developing ones are pressed to open their markets. The less developed countries have neither the expertise or the money to fully participate in the negotiations which is dominated by the developed countries. The developing part of the world would have been – and still would be – far better off with making bilateral agreements only as needed with relevant partner countries, rather than being coerced to sign up to grandiose, global agreements.

It is good that Trump has withdrawn the US from the 12 country (China excluded) Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP). Apart from being another inflexible multi-lateral agreement it was actually just a political response to the  Asia-Pacific-Trade-Agreement (APTA) and the RCEP which China was putting together, both excluding the US. APTA started with Bangladesh, China, India, Lao PDR, Mongolia, South Korea, and Sri Lanka, but has all the disdavantages and inflexibility of multi-lateral agreements. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand)”.

There are many multi-lateral agreements in Asia Pacific and are more talking shops than any real promoters of trade:

  • ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA)
  • South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (SPARTECA)
  • South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA)
  • Pacific Islands Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA)
  • Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)
  • Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Agreement (CISFTA)

The divide between developing countries and the developed world is blurring. Intelligence is available at each sovereign country. Each country, individually, is best placed to know and to look after its own interests. With a bunch of “idiot” elements, there is strength in “unity”, but when each entity is intelligent, forcing the intelligences to join groups and comply with the lowest common standards is counter productive and “not smart”.

In the EU, for example, forcing the member countries to forego their sovereignty, ignore their own intelligence in favour of some bureaucratically defined “common intelligence” is definitely “not smart”.


 


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