Friday, 12 August 2016

Small is beautiful - On why Switzerland is successful

The New Zealand based columnist Oliver Hartwich describes why the Swiss are successful:

"If you are looking at Switzerland from outside, you cannot help but wonder how this small piece of central Europe – mountainous and with no obvious strategic advantages over its larger neighbours – made itself a world-class economy.
Well, for a start it probably helped that the Swiss never became part of the EU. Where other European countries succumbed to the idea of an integrated continent, the Swiss stubbornly remained independent and did their own thing. And it worked well, so there is hope for Britain after Brexit. --

For many years, Switzerland has been ranked as the world’s most competitive country by the World Economic Forum (New Zealand is 16th).
The key to Switzerland’s success is its decentralised nature. If every tier of government has income tax-raising powers, and if the various tiers of government are small in size, it is not difficult to imagine what this set-up will do to economic development. As councils and cantons can feel the results of their political decisions in their own pockets, of course they will pursue growth-friendly policies. As they realise that their residents are not just inhabitants but taxpayers, of course they will try to keep them happy.
Switzerland has chosen a path to economic development that is diametrically opposed to New Zealand’s and to most other developed economies. Instead of trying more centrally controlled policies, Switzerland has opted for the principle of subsidiarity. That means relegating decision-making to the lowest tier possible.
From a New Zealand perspective, the Swiss approach to governance is the polar opposite of what we have been trying so far. But even we have to realise that Swiss government yields much better results than we could ever hope for.
In a nutshell, Switzerland means that big does not always mean better and that small can be quite beautiful. It also demonstrates government needs performance incentives in order to, well, perform. That is not so surprising if you are in business but for government, apparently, it’s a big discovery."

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Dr. Oliwer Hartwich: "Germany and Merkel are often praised for ´saving´ refugees. The opposite is true"

New Zealand based political and economic commentator Dr. Oliwer Hartwich strongly criticizes Angela Merkel´s refugee policy:

Germany and Merkel are often praised for “saving” refugees. The opposite is true. They have lured refugees onto a dangerous route and into an economic situation that offers few of them any positive perspective. They have encouraged these poor Syrians to give all their savings to dubious people traffickers and board unsafe boats. And along this route, thousands of refugees have drowned and died.
As Sir Paul Collier, the Oxford economist and former World Bank Director, said it would have been much better to deal with Syrian refugees in those safe countries bordering Syria: Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. If it had wanted to do something good, Germany could have helped to pay for these camps. But it did not.
By the way, this solution is actually the one prescribed by international law under the Geneva Convention and the Dublin Regulation. There has long been the “first country of asylum” principle. This means that countries are expected to take refugees fleeing from persecution in a neighbouring state.
Germany has no border with Syria, and there are plenty of safe countries between Germany and Syria. Even Austria is relatively civilised. Germany should have never signalled its willingness to accept all Syrian refugees.

Read the entire article here

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Weak OSCE observers in Ukraine only in action during banking hours - without binoculars!

The Putin sponsored war against Ukraine goes on uninterrupted, while the OSCE cease-fire observers - nicknamed the "deaf, dumb and blind" by locals - limit their weak presence to banking hours:

AVDIIVKA, Ukraine — As the afternoon shadows grow long, nocturnal creatures begin to stir. A stray cat rises from a nap, stretches and trots off to hunt. Overhead, swallows swoop and screech in the deepening twilight.
Soon, the human inhabitants of this town in eastern Ukraine set about their evening rituals.
Green-clad soldiers strap on their helmets and load their guns, while white-clad European cease-fire observers pocket their notebooks, climb into their cars and drive away. And then the fighting starts.
This improbable routine between soldiers and monitors with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe plays out nightly, illustrating the glum quagmire of the Ukraine war, now entering its third year.
“I never see them here at night,” said Tatyana Petrova, whose apartment looks over a parking lot that is a frequent listening post for the monitors. “In the evening, I look out and they are gone, and then the concert starts.”
“We call them deaf, dumb and blind,” said the Ukrainian military nurse who ordered the observers out of her field hospital. She offered only her nickname, Romashka, a typical practice for soldiers here. “They know nothing. They see nothing. They are too soft.”
On a recent afternoon in Avdiivka, whose prewar population of 35,000 people has decreased by about half, monitors wrapped up at the close of business at 5 p.m., as usual. By and large confined to their hotels after dark, monitors say they pass the time watching television, surfing the internet or chatting with colleagues. They can listen for violations from inside the hotels.

The Russians even have forbidden the "deaf, dumb and blind" to use binoculars! :

Emblematic of the group’s weak hand, one key mission of observers stationed at two crossing posts on the Russian-Ukrainian border has conceded to Russian pressure not to use binoculars, lest the observers observe too much.

Read the entire New York Times article here.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Finally, a priest who dares to speak out: "A Christian Duty in the Face of Terror"

This article by the New York priest, Father George Rutler, should be read by all people who still care about Western civilization. Here are extracts from the article:

After another devastating ISIS attack in France, this time against a priest in his 80s while he was saying Mass, the answer isn’t just, “Do nothing.” As racism distorts race and sexism corrupts sex — so does pacifism affront peace.
Turning the other cheek is the counsel Christ gave in the instance of an individual when morally insulted: Humility conquers pride. It has nothing to do with self-defense.

The Catholic Church has always maintained that the defiance of an evil force is not only a right but an obligation. Its Catechism (cf. #2265) cites St. Thomas Aquinas: “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life, the common good of the family or of the State.”
A father is culpable if he does not protect his family. A bishop has the same duty as a spiritual father of his sons and daughters in the church, just as the civil state has as its first responsibility the maintenance of the “tranquility of order” through self-defense.--

Were it not for Charles Martel at Tours in 732 and Jan Sobieski at the gates of Vienna in 1683 — and most certainly had Pope Saint Pius V not enlisted Andrea Doria and Don Juan at Lepanto in 1571 — we would not be here now.  No Western nations as we know them — no universities, no modern science, no human rights — would exist.--

The dormancy of Islam until recent times, however, has obscured the threat that this poses — especially to a Western civilization that has grown flaccid in virtue and ignorant of its own moral foundations.

The shortcut to handling the crisis is to deny that it exists.
On the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, there were over 60 speeches, and yet not one of them mentioned ISIS.
Vice has destroyed countless individual souls, but in the decline of civilizations, weakness has done more harm than vice. --

The priest in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvrary in Normandy, France, was not the first to die at the altar — and he will not be the last.
In his old age, the priest embodied a civilization that has been betrayed by a generation whose hymn was John Lennon's "Imagine" — that there was neither heaven nor hell but "above us only sky" and "all the people living for today." When reality intrudes, they can only leave teddy bears and balloons at the site of a carnage they call "inexplicable."

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Hypocrite Leonardo DiCaprio at his annual St. Tropez party: "We are the last generation that has a chance to stop climate change"

Leonardo DiCaprio and the usual celebrity crowd have again been partying in St. Tropez. And there is no end to the hypocrisy:

“While we are the first generation that has the technology, the scientific knowledge and the global will to build a truly sustainable economic future for all of humanity — we are the last generation that has a chance to stop climate change before it is too late,” DiCaprio said, according to EcoWatch.
The star’s weighty message didn’t dampen the festivities: del Rey and the Weeknd performed while Mariah Carey flitted about the room snapping pictures with her fellow celebrities. --

Dozens of A-list stars made the trek to the French Riviera for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s annual Gala to Fund Climate and Biodiversity Projects, including U2 frontman Bono, actors Bradley Cooper, Edward Norton, Jonah Hill, Tobey Maguire and Chris Rock and singers Mariah Carey, Lana del Rey and The Weeknd.

The event’s co-chairs included Robert De Niro, Kevin Spacey, Kate Hudson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Penelope Cruz, Cate Blanchett and Charlize Theron.

Breitbart´s Daniel Nussbaum comments:

If just one of the celebrities who attended the event traveled the 12,000-mile round trip from Los Angeles to France by private jet, they would have burned enough fossil fuel to emit approximately 86 tons of carbon dioxide. The average American, for comparison, puts out around 19 tons of carbon dioxide on airline flights per year.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Thank you, Angela - Vielen Dank!

Vielen Dank, Angela!
Thank you!
Vielen Dank!
Çox sağ ol
Eskerrik asko
Hvala ti
Je vous remercie
Tapadh leat
na gode
Ua tsaug rau koj
Terima kasih
Go raibh maith agat
Þakka þér
Matur nuwun
Рақмет сізге
Spas dikim
Gratias tibi
Dank je
Dziękuję Ci

Background reading:

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Putin is smiling tonight: His friend IOC President Bach fixed Russian participation in the Rio Olympics

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is smiling tonight. His friend, the German President of the IOC Thomas Bach, did what he was asked to do:

The Russian flag will be flying at the Summer Olympics, after all, as the International Olympic Committee decided Sunday that athletes from the nation mired in an ongoing drug scandal will be allowed to compete on the sporting world’s largest stage next month in Rio de Janeiro.
Less than two weeks before the start of the Rio Games, the International Olympic Committee ruled against barring Russia from the Summer Olympics but did approve measures that could reduce the number of Russian athletes participating.

Here is how sports, business and "friendship" mix in Bach´s world:

Bach has been a regular visitor to Russia in his three years as head of the IOC, both before and after the Sochi Olympics. Putin has also shown himself willing to travel to improve contacts with the IOC, giving a well received speech in 2007 in Guatemala — delivered in English, which is rare for Putin — ahead of the vote which gave Sochi the 2014 Olympics.
Since he won Olympic gold in 1976, Bach’s chosen sport of fencing has been transformed, most recently by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, a Putin ally who has pumped large sums of his own money into the sport over eight years as president of the International Fencing Federation.
That money has increased the profile of one of the more niche sports on the Olympic program, making for a bigger media presence and glitzier competitions.
Bach also has business connections in Russia. After becoming president of the IOC, he kept his other role as chairman of the supervisory board of Weinig, a Germany company which produces woodworking machinery. Weinig, which did not respond to requests for comment, has a strong presence in Russia, with a headquarters near Moscow and offices across the country.
Besides Bach, several other influential IOC members have long been sympathetic to Russia.