United Kingdom

Anti-gun columnist calls for intervention…in the US

Somehow, I get the feeling that columnist Henry Porter isn’t a fan of the Second Amendment.  As he’s a British subject, it doesn’t really matter a whole lot.  After all, he doesn’t get to vote on American issues.  Porter seems to understand this.  That’s why he’s calling for the international community to intervene here in the United States:

That’s America, we say, as news of the latest massacre breaks – last week it was the slaughter of 12 people by Aaron Alexis at Washington DC’s navy yard – and move on. But what if we no longer thought of this as just a problem for America and, instead, viewed it as an international humanitarian crisis – a quasi civil war, if you like, that calls for outside intervention? As citizens of the world, perhaps we should demand an end to the unimaginable suffering of victims and their families – the maiming and killing of children – just as America does in every new civil conflict around the globe.

Maybe because these deaths aren’t even remotely related to one another except that the implement used is the same?:

The annual toll from firearms in the US is running at 32,000 deaths and climbing, even though the general crime rate is on a downward path (it is 40% lower than in 1980). If this perennial slaughter doesn’t qualify for intercession by the UN and all relevant NGOs, it is hard to know what does.

Is Anybody Surprised that Krugman Was Wrong about U.K. Fiscal Policy?

Written by Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Just like in the United States, politicians in the United Kingdom use the deceptive practice of “baseline budgeting” as part of fiscal policy.

This means the politicians can increase spending, but simultaneously claim they are cutting spending because the budget could have expanded at an even faster pace.

Sort of like saying your diet is successful because you’re only gaining two pounds a week rather than five pounds.

Anyhow, some people get deluded by this chicanery. Paul Krugman, for instance, complained in 2011 that “the government of Prime Minister David Cameron chose instead to move to immediate, unforced austerity, in the belief that private spending would more than make up for the government’s pullback.”

The Ballad of Julian Assange

Julian Assange

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed in up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for about two months now. The British government is trying to have him arrested and have him extradited to Sweden to face rape allegations. Well, the Ecuadorian government has granted him political asylum, but the British government has made it very clear that they will not allow him safe passage to Ecuador and have surrounded the embassy with armed policemen. This is an issue where there is a lot of passion, especially among Assange’s defenders who see him as a crusader against the imperialism and the war crimes of the Western world and particularly the United States. In this passion, there have been been a lot of confusion about the facts involved in this case. I will do my best in this piece to shed some light on what this case is all about.

Cut Europe

With all this talk of isolationism in the GOP, namely over our “kinetic military action” in Libya and the wearying, ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there’s an atmosphere that Republicans will be more willing to cut defense spending and reorganize our military to better fit in with the rest of the world. No more Dubya’s and silly foreign expeditions, more or less. But there’s one area that I see missing: Europe. I think it should be front and center.

When we Americans start arguing over welfare spending, it almost inevitably comes to be that those on the “left” say “Well, we’re spending billions and billions of dollars on bombing people in foreign countries, maybe we should cut that first, huh?” Naturally, conservatives balk at cutting military spending (while libertarians agree and then continue arguing to cut welfare anyways), but in terms of Europe, this is an area where they can make a great tactical manuever. I say this because, also almost inevitably, some liberal or progressive will then cite Europe as a great example of their welfare state ideal, saying “See, they can do it! Why can’t we, with the #1 economy in the world, do the same?” This was almost always brought up in the healthcare debate, focusing on the United Kingdom’s NHS, Germany’s social insurance policies, and infant mortality. And what else can conservatives and libertarians say? Europe sucks? Only in some limited aspects, and that’s simply not a respectable argument anyway.

Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Start Worrying and Hate the Thigh Gap

Urban Outfitters

In an article seemingly straight from Stanley Kurbick’s Dr. Strangelove, Mic.com celebrated the state censorship of one of Urban Outfitters’ photographs. Never mind nuclear weapons, rogue states, or “The Interview” — we have a more-pressing worry: underwear advertisements.

As the Cold War ended, we ceased to fear the missile gap, the bomber gap, the doomsday gap, and even the mineshaft gap. Today we fear the “Thigh Gap” — the distance between a model’s thighs. Fortunately, the United Kingdom, a stalwart Cold Warrior, has defended even the most sensitive and fragile among us from the perils of an Urban Outfitters underwear ad.

Sparked by the complaint of an anonymous do-gooder, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority ordered Urban Outfitters to remove the photo above, concluding that it was irresponsible. Contesting the ruling, Urban Outiftters explained that the model was healthy and represented by one of the UK’s most successful agencies, and provided her agency profile and other photographs, all to no avail. The ASA considered, “the model was very thin, and noted, in particular, that there was a significant gap between the model’s thighs, and that her thighs and knees were a similar width.” The Thigh Gap cometh.

Another Brutally Disturbing Example of Government-Run Healthcare from the United Kingdom

British NHS demonstrates the perils of socialized healthcare


While there are still many clamoring for a completely socialized healthcare system in the United States, a report late last week from The Telegraph shows just how hazardous government-run medicine can be to your health, as patients in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) are 45% more likely to die than those across the Pond:

Previously unpublished data collated by Professor Sir Brian Jarman over more than 10 years found NHS mortality rates were among the worst of those in seven developed countries.

A patient in England was five times as likely to die of pneumonia and twice as likely to die of septicaemia compared to similar patients in the US, the leading country in the study, the data suggested.

The elderly were found to be particularly at risk in English hospitals compared with those in the other countries.

The figures showed that the situation had improved since 2004, when the death rate in English hospitals was 58% higher than that in the best performing country.

But NHS institutions still lagged behind in the most recent data, from 2012, despite reforms of the health service and increased funding.

UK’s Cameron loses Syria vote, Obama to push forward anyway

David Cameron

President Barack Obama finds himself in a tough position on military action his administration is planning against the Syrian government. The White House had been relying on British support for an attack against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, but they were dealt a blow on Thursday evening that could undermine the international legitimacy of their plans for military action.

During an emergency session yesterday, the British Parliament rejected Prime Minister David Cameron’s push for intervention in Syria. Though the vote was non-binding, Cameron has said that he will respect the “views of the British people.”

The vote was also an embarrassment for Cameron, who was unable to convince skeptical members of his own coalition — the 30 Tories and nine Liberal Democrats who voted against intervention — to back his call for military strikes against Assad. The vote is politically damaging to Cameron as there is talk that Labor-led opposition, which smells blood in the water, could call for a vote of “no-confidence” against the Prime Minister’s coalition government.

Intimidation: UK admits detention was over leaked NSA documents

Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda

The detention of David Miranda at London’s Heathrow airport was retaliation for the leaks of sensitive National Security Agency (NSA) documents that exposed the vast surveillance the United States government is conducting of innocent Americans, the United Kingdom has admitted.

Miranda — who is the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who received the NSA documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden — was detained for nearly nine hours on Sunday at the London airport as he was trying to board a flight back back to Brazil, where the couple lives. The UK used an anti-terrorism law as the basis for the detention and seized Miranda’s effects, including his laptop computer and cell phone.

Greenwald has extensively covered the NSA’s expansive surveillance apparatus at The Guardian, a UK-based newspaper. The UK government admitted that it detained Miranda because of the NSA documents, claiming that it has a “duty to protect the public,” ostensibly accusing the Miranda, Greenwald, and The Guardian of aiding terrorists because of their coverage of Snowden’s leaks.

British Prime Minister David Cameron received regular updates about Miranda’s detention and, apparently, the UK government tipped off the White House in advance about the action they were planning to take.

Senate Democrat Holds Resolution Honoring Margaret Thatcher

Bob Menendez

The Daily Caller reports that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is actively working to prevent a vote on a resolution offered by Senate Republicans that would honor the life and work of the late Margaret Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, for reasons that have yet to be made clear:

While the House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring Thatcher last week, Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, objects to some of the language proposed by Republicans in the Senate’s version, sources said.

A copy of the proposed resolution, which would be offered by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, honors “the life, legacy, and example of British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher.”

Another source said Democrats want to “black out everything but a few lines acknowledging her service as prime minister.”

Reacting to the news, conservatives slammed Menendez.

“I don’t know if he’s blocking the Thatcher resolution because he likes Socialism or because he holds women in such low regard, but Senator Menendez should drop his objections immediately,” Matt Hoskins, the executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, told TheDC.

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