The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Archive for December, 2006

Is it OK if some governments do it?

Posted by rantingkraut on December 17, 2006

Rulers like Bolivia’s Morales and Venezuela’s Chavez are receiving their fair share of criticism for their cavalier attitude towards property rights. Yet at least one US state government is doing pretty much the same thing and few people notice.

Lauren Canario, one very active protester against the ongoing eminent domain abuse has been detained for more than 80 days for trespassing, and is likely to spend Christmas in prison. The international libertarian has more on this here.

Posted in Property Rights, Strange happenings | Comments Off

The Motoons, one year on …

Posted by rantingkraut on December 17, 2006

More than one year after the conflict over the Mohammed cartoons, the aftershocks of this particular episode are still being felt. To mark the occasion, ‘Der Spiegel’s’ Henryk Broder has interviewed Flemming Rose, Jyllands Posten’s culture editor. It doesn’t look as if there is a professional translation forthcoming, so here is mine:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: After the excitement over the Mohammed cartoons, your country has moved out of the international limelight. What have been the lasting effects of the ensuing discussion on Denmark?

 

Rose: The general circumstances and conditions for integration have improved. We now have an organisation of democratic Muslims. This is no one-man show either, they have around 1000 members and represent 15-20% of Muslims in Denmark. They are not doing badly, considering that political parties in Denmark tend to have 3000 – 5000 members. They want to show the Danish public that it is not only radical Imams who speak for Muslims. Something has started to change. Another positive outcome is that the media no longer consult the radical Imams as a matter of cause when they are looking for a statement. They have understood that Abu Laban and his Mosque only represent about 5% of Muslims.

 

SPIEGEL ONLINE: He was the one who was active behind the scenes… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, Islamism | Comments Off

Questioning Blair

Posted by rantingkraut on December 15, 2006

With Blair and his comrades being questioned about the cash for honours scandal, they may spend some time considering how they would fare if the rules they are trying to impose on others were to be used on them right now. How would they like it if labour MPs were simply assumed guilty and had their assets confiscated while being given the opportunity to appeal to prove their innocence? And shouldn’t they be given asbos banning them from loitering inside or in the vicinity of parliament, where those crimes are assumed to have taken place? Should they not also be placed under house arrest and barred from contacting their party’s supporters

Clearly, if rules like these are needed for organised crime in general, they should be needed in this case also. After all, no criminal organisation is more difficult to prosecute than one which can also alter the rules underlying its prosecution.

Posted in Civil Liberties | Comments Off

A small bit of good news from Cuba?

Posted by rantingkraut on December 6, 2006

It may not quite be a thaw, but there is finally some good news from Cuba. There are reports that Raúl Castro has ordered the release of Héctor Palacios one of the 75 dissidents sent to prison in 2003. Palacios had originally been sentenced to 25 years in prison. The official reason given for the early release is the prisoner’s bad health.

(Source – sorry Spanish only)

Posted in Civil Liberties, In The News | Comments Off

Why do we need that licence fee again?

Posted by rantingkraut on December 3, 2006

One reason why we need a protection racket to fund the BBC is apparently that British TV viewers aren’t bright enough to demand the right contents without state guidance. If we just let the private sector take over, we might get the kind of stuff we see in America. From the darker reaches of the private networks, the likes of Howard Stern or Penn and Teller might influence our fragile minds.

So, for all that I can see, the sooner we tell the BBC to survive on voluntary subscriptions the better.

Update: Removed broken video links. (7 October 2007)

Posted in Regulation | Comments Off

On the need for Road Pricing

Posted by rantingkraut on December 3, 2006

With road pricing again in the news it is time to point out the obvious –not least because politicians and the MSM are so clearly oblivious to it. Most people would accept that road building –in urban areas in particular—has its limits as a solution to congestion. Those with a pro-market orientation will often also be sympathetic towards some form of ‘pay as you drive’ scheme so long as it is efficiently implemented as an alternative to current road and fuel taxing.

The last part of the above paragraph is crucial though: if transport is not to be prohibitively expensive, ‘pay as you drive pricing’ needs to be brought in instead of not alongside existing charges. However, as the telegraph reports, current government plans aim at the latter option. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in In The News, Regulation | Comments Off

 
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