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Nordic Countries Are Not Socialist

Private healthcare: the lessons from Sweden–healthcare–lessons–from–sweden

Deregulation, privatisation and marketisation of Nordic comprehensive education: social changes reflected in schooling

Scandinavian Economies and Corporate Tax

Face It,–it–nordic–countries–are–not–socialist/

Former CBS Reporter Exposes Media Lies, Internet Shills & Astroturfing

Trump Is Going Full Alinsky – and His Opponents Are Flummoxed

Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals is considered a bible to the left, a how-to guide for community organizing and activism. Barack Obama was an Alinsky protégé before, during, and after his presidency. Obama used the rules to his advantage, advancing his left-wing agenda.

The left, despite conventional wisdom, has no monopoly on Alinsky's rules. Instead these rules can be used by the right, also as blueprint for effecting change.

The dirty little secret is that Alinsky has little in common with modern leftists. As Ralph Benko writes, "Alinsky was an aggressively anti-communist, anti-big government, populist with a healthy contempt for liberals." He would more likely be found at a Tea Party rally wearing a MAGA hat than at a resistance march wearing a pink pussy hat.

President Trump is reaping the results this month of his foreign policy initiatives. He blew up Obama's sketchy Iran deal. The U.S. embassy opened in Jerusalem, fulfilling a promise made, but never kept, by a slew of recent U.S. presidents. Trump is hopefully sitting down with North Korea's Kim Jung-un after Kim pledged to scrap his nuke program, despite media reports of last-minute attempts by Kim to scuttle the talks. Trump is keeping and following through on promises his predecessors have made but tossed aside due to lack of resolve or political expediency.

All in all, it's been a few good weeks for a rube, unfit for the presidency, out of his depth in conducting foreign affairs, with a temperament to make war as opposed to peace. So how did it happen? Trump, whether intentionally or not, is following Alinsky's rules in shaking up the world, effecting the change that eluded his predecessors, despite their Ivy League pedigrees, silver tongues, and sharp pant creases.

Let's look at a few of the rules Trump has used to turn the new world order upside-down.

"Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have."

Remember how Trump told Kim his nuclear button is bigger than Kim's? And how Trump had no qualms about unleashing the fury of the U.S. military on Afghanistan and Syria – not a ground war, but a salvo of missiles and bombs, and threats for far worse from the U.S. if necessary? Does anyone think Iran and North Korea want to call Trump's bluff?

"Never go outside the expertise of your people."

Trump is sticking to what he knows best – negotiating, financing, and playing hardball. He is staying far away from the nuance of the Kerry-Obama cabal, instead delivering a simple and straightforward message to his geopolitical foes. This message is easy to understand, including by the American people, who can smell John Kerry's nonsensical diplomatic-speak from a mile away.

"Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy."

North Korea and Iran know only threats and intimidation, tactics that have kept past U.S. presidents dancing to their tune. Trump added a new tactic, something not used by past administrations, which they haven't yet had to contend with: economic strength. Trump is using U.S. economic might as a national security club, imposing sanctions and tariffs to squeeze countries opposed to his agenda. Trump took it farther, threatening to stop doing business with countries continuing to do business with North Korea or Iran. China, France, and Germany will think twice before supporting N.K. or Iran over the U.S.

"Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules."

Past administrations have promised to contain N.K. and Iran. They also conveniently, on the campaign trail, promised to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. All Trump is doing is fulfilling the promises made by others. Those howling with outrage look like fools for complaining about Trump doing what they themselves promised to do.

"Ridicule is man's most potent weapon."

This is President Trump's forte. Using his Twitter account and speeches, calling out Little Rocket Man and the hypocrisy and incompetence of past administrations, he has his political opponents on their heels, playing defense. This is not presidential, according to the pinstriped suit crowd in Washington, D.C. Trump is uncouth and crude, sullying the office of the president. Yet he is getting stuff done, at a far faster rate than any of his predecessors. Willie Brown and David Brooks, liberal Democrat and swamp-dweller, respectively, have recently written about Trump's popularity and effectiveness and the dangers for Democrats in underestimating him and his appeal to voters.

"A good tactic is one your people enjoy."

Just watch one of his rallies. Supporters queue up hours before, and most never even make it to the arena. Trump is funny and entertaining. Imagine either of the Presidents Bush holding a similar rally. Or a President Kerry or Gore. That would be as exciting as watching paint dry.

Trump's opponents don't like his tactics because they are defenseless against them, reduced to braying about Russia or Stormy or calling for impeachment. But his supporters can't get enough of Trump calling out the media and the Deep State.

"Keep the pressure on. Never let up."

Trump is ticking off his promises one by one. He hasn't reversed course, even if Congress stands in his way, as in the border wall. Much of what he campaigned on is happening – Paris climate accords, Iran nuke deal, trade deals, ISIS, judicial picks, and so on.

"The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself."

Trump frequently brags on his military and willingness to use it. When pulling out of the Iran nuke deal, he said, "If the regime continues its nuclear aspirations, it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before." Does Iran want to call Trump's bluff on that? By now, the world knows that Trump says what he means and means what he says.

"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

From Kim in North Korea to crooked Hillary, Mueller, Comey, and the Deep-Staters trying to destroy his presidency, he calls these people out. He names names and misdeeds, via tweets and impromptu remarks. The enemies of Donald Trump become the enemies of his supporters, personalized and polarized.

President Trump, knowingly or unknowingly, has co-opted Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, using them effectively to advance his agenda. How ironic that the tactics of the left are being used against the leftists themselves. The left knows the rules only for playing offense. Now that the rules are being used against it, it is at a loss as to how to react and respond.

For Trump-supporters, typically being on the losing end of Alinsky's rules, it's a refreshing treat to finally be on offense, scoring touchdowns, leaving Democrats and NeverTrumps babbling and unable to stop or slow the Trump train.

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Conservatism is the NEW Counter-Culture

Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent

The average professional in this country wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day. Why? The answer lies in the very nature of modern federal criminal laws, which have exploded in number but also become impossibly broad and vague. In Three Felonies a Day, Harvey A. Silverglate reveals how federal criminal laws have become dangerously disconnected from the English common law tradition and how prosecutors can pin arguable federal crimes on any one of us, for even the most seemingly innocuous behavior. The volume of federal crimes in recent decades has increased well beyond the statute books and into the morass of the Code of Federal Regulations, handing federal prosecutors an additional trove of vague and exceedingly complex and technical prohibitions to stick on their hapless targets. The dangers spelled out in Three Felonies a Day do not apply solely to “white collar criminals,” state and local politicians, and professionals. No social class or profession is safe from this troubling form of social control by the executive branch, and nothing less than the integrity of our constitutional democracy hangs in the balance.

The Natural-Monopoly Myth: Telephone Services

The biggest myth of all in this regard is the notion that telephone service is a natural monopoly. Economists have taught generations of students that telephone service is a "classic" example of market failure and that government regulation in the "public interest" was necessary. But as Adam D. Thierer recently proved, there is nothing at all "natural" about the telephone monopoly enjoyed by AT&T for so many decades; it was purely a creation of government intervention."

Once AT&T's initial patents expired in 1893, dozens of competitors sprung up. "By the end of 1894 over 80 new independent competitors had already grabbed 5 percent of total market share … after the turn of the century, over 3,000 competitors existed. In some states there were over 200 telephone companies operating simultaneously. By 1907, AT&T's competitors had captured 51 percent of the telephone market and prices were being driven sharply down by the competition. Moreover, there was no evidence of economies of scale, and entry barriers were obviously almost nonexistent, contrary to the standard account of the theory of natural monopoly as applied to the telephone industry.

The eventual creation of the telephone monopoly was the result of a conspiracy between AT&T and politicians who wanted to offer "universal telephone service" as a pork-barrel entitlement to their constituents. Politicians began denouncing competition as "duplicative," "destructive," and "wasteful," and various economists were paid to attend congressional hearings in which they somberly declared telephony a natural monopoly. "There is nothing to be gained by competition in the local telephone business," one congressional hearing concluded.

The crusade to create a monopolistic telephone industry by government fiat finally succeeded when the federal government used World War I as an excuse to nationalize the industry in 1918. AT&T still operated its phone system, but it was controlled by a government commission headed by the postmaster general. Like so many other instances of government regulation, AT&T quickly "captured" the regulators and used the regulatory apparatus to eliminate its competitors. "By 1925 not only had virtually every state established strict rate regulation guidelines, but local telephone competition was either discouraged or explicitly prohibited within many of those jurisdictions."

Sweden’s Immigrant Crime Problem

Entitled “Hand Grenades and Gang Violence Rattle Sweden’s Middle Class,” the report examines how weapons of war and clan-like violence have accompanied an influx of immigrants from certain parts of Europe and the greater Middle East.

The story centers on the death of a man in the town of Varby Gard, a once tranquil Stockholm suburb that is now the home base of an increasingly destructive immigrant gang. He was killed in early January when he picked up a mysterious object lying in the street that turned out to be a live hand grenade. The device exploded when he touched it, killing him instantly.

It was one of more than 100 incidents involving military-grade explosives in the Stockholm metro area that police have attributed to an “arms race” among immigrant gangs, reports TheNYT. There were only a few such incidents in Sweden until 2014, but since then, the number of explosions and seizures of grenades has shot up and remained worryingly high.

The police seized 45 grenades in 2015, while 10 others were detonated in public, according to Stockholm Police. The next year, 55 were seized and 35 detonated. A modest decrease occurred in 2017, when 39 were seized and 21 exploded.

Though TheNYT readily reported on the nature of the violence, it was somewhat more circumspect about its origin. Nowhere in the story do the words “Muslim” or “refugee” appear. The only mention of the word “asylum” is to describe a witness to the explosion, one of many Varby Gard residents who arrived there thanks to Sweden’s famously open asylum policies.

The fact is that Sweden’s spike in gang violence and certain categories of crime coincided with the resettlement of more than 100,000 asylum seekers from predominantly Muslim nations beginning in 2014.

In a sane world, it would be easy.

To understand how difficult and expensive it is to build housing in San Francisco, observe the case of Robert Tillman. Tillman owns a single-story laundromat in the city's Mission District. Since 2014, he has been attempting to develop his property into a 75-unit apartment building.

The city is in the midst of a housing affordability crisis, with an average one-bedroom apartment going for $3,400 a month. So you might think Tillman's project would sail through the permitting process. Instead, the city's labyrinthine process of reviews, regulations, and appeals has dragged on for four years. The project has cost the self-described "accidental developer" nearly $1 million so far, and he hasn't even broken ground yet.

"It's taken me longer to get to this point than it took for the United States to win World War II," says Tillman, "and my site is the easiest site in the city to build."

In a sane world, it would be easy. No housing is located at the site, so there's no fear that redevelopment will displace any tenants. There are three other coin-operated laundromats within 100 yards of Tillman's property, so there is no real concern about lost neighborhood services. Half of the property is a parking lot, so the city won't be losing an aesthetically pleasing landmark. On top of all that, Tillman's lot is a three-minute walk from the 24th Mission Street BART light rail station, a major plus for a city obsessed with "transit-oriented" development.

In March 2014, when Tillman first submitted his plans to the San Francisco Planning Department, the initial reaction was positive. Officials were "very much in favor of developing site," Tillman says.

The real opposition came from some of the neighbors. A community meeting in January 2016 served as something of a flashpoint.

At the meeting, one woman fretted that the tall building would violate the privacy of a nearby public school. Another argued that the project needed to be 100 percent affordable housing. Two representatives from local Latino Cultural District Calle 24 said that even a 100 percent affordable housing project was out of the question, given the proposed height of the development.

When Tillman said he saw his project as necessary so people like his daughter could afford to come back and live in the city, one particularly motivated activist said she wished his daughter was killed in a terrorist attack.

Nevertheless, Tillman persisted, working with the Planning Department to change the design of his development where necessary and spending tens of thousands more on various impact studies. That includes $6,500 on a wind study, $5,000 on a shadow study, and $189,000 in city fees by the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Planning Commission—which oversees the Planning Department and is responsible for approving new developments—continued to push for changes.

Parroting many of the Mission activists' concerns, Commissioner Rich Hillis complained that the design was "bulky, and a bit out of character" with the neighborhood, while Commissioner Kathrin Moore said that erecting an 84-foot tall building would be like "plopping a foreign object into this area and not thinking about the consequences." Commissioner Dennis Richards said, "I think a project absolutely belongs here. The question is what kind of project."

Thanks to California's state density bonus law, which restricts localities' ability to reject housing developments that reserve a certain percentage of their units for below-market tenants, the Commission was largely prevented from imposing new conditions. After another three-month delay, the Commission voted on November 30, 2017, to approve the project.

So that meant Tillman could move forward with construction, right? Of course not. It just set off another round of delays.

California's Environmental Quality Act allows anyone to file an environmental appeal within 30 days of a project's approval, requiring local agencies essentially to reevaluate the environmental and community impact evaluations they've already performed. On January 2, attorney Scott Weaver filed just such an appeal on behalf of the Calle 24 District Council, claiming that the city had conducted an insufficient review of the project's environmental impacts, including the impact of increased shadow on a nearby school and of the potential displacement of businesses and residents. (Remember: The property in question houses zero current residents, and the only business there is Tillman's.)

On February 5, the Planning Department rejected this appeal, stating that Weaver and his clients had "not demonstrated nor provided substantial evidence" to back up their claims of insufficient environmental review.

No, that didn't mean Tillman could finally go ahead with the project. The Planning Department also said that new information had been presented suggesting that Tillman's property might be a "historic resource." You see, the building once housed a local employment agency, back in the 1970s. Also, it once featured a mural depicting the life of Latina women. (The mural no longer exists.)

"You have 150 machines, you have wiring and plumbing. If there was a historical office there, it doesn't exist anymore," Tillman says.

Indeed, the lots Tillman owns were deemed ineligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and on any state or local equivalents, according to the 2011 South Mission Historic Resource Survey conducted by the Planning Department.

Nevertheless, on February 13 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to require a historic evaluation to be done at Tillman's expense. They will revisit the issue, they say, in another four months. To date, Tillman has spent $947,000 in development costs.

Tillman, who already owns the land he wants to develop and whose laundromat business still pulls some $10,000 a month, says he can afford to wait. Other developers watching land and construction costs increase with each delay might have given up long ago.

But the biggest cost may be one that isn't falling on Tillman's shoulders. "What's the cost to the people who would have occupied those units?" Tillman asks. "Those people don't have housing for six months. Put a number on that."

Truth and myths about democratic and republican parties

"trickle-down" economics is a straw man argument

The "trickle-down" theory cannot be found in even the most voluminous scholarly studies of economic theories -- including J.A. Schumpeter's monumental "History of Economic Analysis," more than a thousand pages long and printed in very small type.

It is not just in politics that the non-existent "trickle-down" theory is found. It has been attacked in the New York Times, in the Washington Post and by professors at prestigious American universities -- and even as far away as India. Yet none of those who denounce a "trickle-down" theory can quote anybody who actually advocated it.

The book "Winner-Take-All Politics" refers to "the 'trickle-down' scenario that advocates of helping the have-it-alls with tax cuts and other goodies constantly trot out." But no one who actually trotted out any such scenario was cited, much less quoted.

One of the things that provoke the left into bringing out the "trickle-down" bogeyman is any suggestion that there are limits to how high they can push tax rates on people with high incomes, without causing repercussions that hurt the economy as a whole.

But, contrary to Mayor de Blasio, this is not a view confined to people on the "far right." Such liberal icons as Presidents John F. Kennedy and Woodrow Wilson likewise argued that tax rates can be so high that they have an adverse effect on the economy.

In his 1919 address to Congress, Woodrow Wilson warned that, at some point, "high rates of income and profits taxes discourage energy, remove the incentive to new enterprise, encourage extravagant expenditures, and produce industrial stagnation with consequent unemployment and other attendant evils."

In a 1962 address to Congress, John F. Kennedy said, "it is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now."

This was not a new idea. John Maynard Keynes said, back in 1933, that "taxation may be so high as to defeat its object," that in the long run, a reduction of the tax rate "will run a better chance, than an increase, of balancing the budget." And Keynes was not on "the far right" either.

The time is long overdue for people to ask themselves why it is necessary for those on the left to make up a lie if what they believe in is true.


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