Tuesday, February 21, 2017

From Brexit to Trump, certainty is the curse of modern politics

From Brexit to Trump, certainty is the curse of modern politics

Alex Massie, CapX
   Politics has become a faith-based business, in which scepticism is for losers. From Brexiteers marching towards the sunlit uplands to Donald Trump's plan to 'Make America Great Again', it sometimes seems as if confidence and willpower are all you need.

On Tap Europe: Organised Crime and Illicit Trade in Greece: Country Report

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Trump's protectionist trade policies

Peter Lupoff analyzes recent U.S. equity market performances and explains why fourth-quarter gains may have nothing to do with Donald Trump's election.

James H. Nolt anticipates that Trump's protectionist trade policies will hurt not only foreign countries and companies, but also American corporations and consumers.

Amanda Mattingly predicts that the Cuban government's resistance to market-friendly reform and declining oil subsidies from Venezuela could strain Cuba’s stagnant economy even further, especially given the Trump administration is unlikely to lift the economic embargo on the island nation.

The World Policy Institute news

Why ‘Trumpcare’ could define Trump’s presidency

Why ‘Trumpcare’ could define Trump’s presidency

Jack Graham, CapX
   One of Donald Trump’s more popular campaign promises was to repeal Obamacare. But Republicans are now divided between those who want it axed and those who realise that it has provided health insurance to an awful lot of their voters

Chinese agriculture in Africa: Perspectives of Chinese agronomists on agricultural aid

'Chinese agriculture in Africa: Perspectives of Chinese agronomists on agricultural aid'  

           presents reflections of more than 160 Chinese agronomists who have spent time implementing agriculture-aid projects in Africa. 

IIED news

Wall Street Is Occupying the Executive Branch

Wall Street Is Occupying the Executive Branch
Chuck Collins
Trump’s executive order rolling back financial regulations could "seed the next economic meltdown," IPS economic inequality expert Chuck Collins told KCRW.

The Heritage Insider news

Dodd-Frank ensures that the next financial crisis will be worse. Hester Peirce writes:
“Dodd-Frank not only embraces more prescriptive microprudential regulation for individual financial institutions, but it also adds another regulatory layer designed to target ill-defined and elusive ‘systemic risk.’ […] This form of regulation turns regulators into allocators of credit: regulators decide who gets financed and who does not, which, in turn, affects how the economy develops, which consumer and business needs are met, and where innovation occurs. Regulators, driven by an evolving understanding of the inscrutable ‘systemic risk,’ override the clear market signals through which consumers and Main Street businesses communicate their needs to financial service providers. Macroprudential regulation also displaces the market mechanisms that signal impending trouble at a financial company or in a financial sector. […]
“The next crisis is likely to be worse than the last because Dodd-Frank concentrates so much power in the hands of a few regulators. If these powerful regulators make mistakes, exercise poor judgment, or miss a key market development (all of which are inevitable because they are human), the consequences will be far-reaching. Every firm that has reordered its business to satisfy a regulatory directive will find itself in trouble if that directive proves unsound. And once a crisis happens, widely applicable regulatory mandates, such as liquidity rules, could intensify it. By contrast, if firms and individuals retain decision-making authority, their errors will be contained and firms will not walk in lockstep with one another.”
Peirce concludes: “Substantively, the complexity of Dodd-Frank should give way to simple, well-enforced rules that lower barriers to competition, accommodate innovation, and eliminate both the expectation and possibility of bailouts. Only then will the financial system effectively and safely serve consumers, businesses, investors, and the economy.” [Mercatus Center]

Tanzania’s oil and gas contract regime, investments and markets

DIIS news

But the East African country still struggles to keep abreast of markets


Spyware Infographic

[1.18 MB]

Europol news

Thursday, February 16, 2017

After Election, Trump’s Professed Love for Leaks Quickly Faded

After Election, Trump’s Professed Love for Leaks Quickly Faded
President Trump once embraced the revealing of Hillary Clinton’s emails. But from the White House, he — like others before him — is calling for an end to government leaks.

Counter-Radicalisation at the Coalface: Lessons for Europe and Beyond

Burma: February 2017 update

Burma: February 2017 update
Published Thursday, February 16, 2017 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7901
Many hoped that the November 2015 general election would be a tipping-point in Burma’s ‘democratic transition’, which began in 2011.
Somalia: February 2017 update
Published Thursday, February 16, 2017 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7298
Somalia has just completed a long and much-delayed (s)electoral process to create a new parliament and elect a new president. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (known as Farmajo) was elected the country’s president by parliament on 8 February 2017.


みずほ情報総研 Vol.609「CES2017に参加して」ほか


How the market is taking on climate change

How the market is taking on climate change

Joe Ware, CapX
   The leading lights in carbon policy are no longer left-wing environmentalists, but the Chinese Politburo and the hard-headed capitalists of Republican America. China is due to launch the world's largest emissions trading scheme, while leading US politicians are proposing a revenue-neutral carbon tax. As falling renewable prices make coal extraction unviable, it looks like the market is driving energy policy in a new direction.

Scientific Opinion assessing health risks associated with UV-C radiation from lamps concludes that further research is needed

Scientific Opinion assessing health risks associated with UV-C radiation from lamps concludes that further research is needed
Today the SCHEER (1) confirms that exposure to UV-C lamps can cause skin and eye problems, but that more data is needed on long-term exposure to establish whether it can cause cancer.
The final Opinion on the "biological effects of UV-C radiation relevant to health with particular reference to UV-C lamps" focuses on the assessment of risks associated with UV-C radiation from lamps. Some key conclusions are:
  • There are few studies of exposure to humans under normal conditions of use and insufficient data on long-term exposure to UV radiation from UV-C lamps (2). More data is needed on both the general population and workers' exposure.
  • Accidental acute exposure to high levels of UV radiation from UV-C lamps has been reported to cause eye and skin problems in humans. However, there is not enough data to establish above which exposure-level this type of damage can be caused.
  • As DNA damage caused by UV-C radiation is similar to that of UV-B radiation, it is considered to be carcinogenic to humans. However, there is not enough data to establish whether this is the case for exposure to UV-C lamps per se.
See the full Opinion for all conclusions

It's time to cut Greece loose

It's time to cut Greece loose

Marian L.Tupy, CapX
    After years of austerity and billions spent on bailout funds, Greece's economy is actually more sclerotic than it was before the financial crisis - except now it has even more debt to pay off.

Funds for research into NT Chinese merchants and women in Australian politics

Australian Government Media Releases for 17 February 2017

Funds for research into NT Chinese merchants and women in Australian politics – National Archives of Australia, Australian Government
The National Archives of Australia and the Australian Historical Association (AHA) have awarded two new scholarships to support research into unexplored aspects of Australia's history.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Is it time for an NHS tax?

Is it time for an NHS tax?

Alex Massie, CapX
   Whenever political campaigners want to touch voters' hearts, they invoke the NHS - think of the Brexit referendum, or its precursor in Scotland. Yet Britain's obsession with its health service belies its so-so record at keeping patients alive.

Kashmir: February 2017 update

Kashmir: February 2017 update
Published Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7356
      This briefing covers events in Indian-administered Kashmir since 8 July 2016, which have been characterised by a dramatic upsurge in protest and violence on the ground – what some are calling the “worst crisis in a generation”.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Trump’s Response to North Korea’s Latest Missile Test

Brexit: devolved legislature business

Brexit: devolved legislature business
Published Monday, February 13, 2017 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7815
   This paper is a record of Brexit-related business in the devolved legislatures. It is updated every Monday.

Theresa May’s Britain is starting to look like a safe haven

Theresa May’s Britain is starting to look like a safe haven

George Trefgarne, CapX
   With the FTSE reaching record highs, manufacturing on the up and even the volatile pound settling down, Britain is looking in much better shape than many predicted after the Brexit vote. Instead, the markets are worried about the United States, France, Holland and of course Greece.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Faraway, So Close: Approaching the Endgame in the Cyprus Negotiations

Faraway, So Close: Approaching the Endgame in the Cyprus Negotiations
< https://www.swp-berlin.org//en/publication/faraway-so-close-approaching-the-endgame-in-the-cyprus-negotiations/>

Substantial progress was achieved in the bicommunal negotiations that were
ongoing for almost two years and led to the decision to continue the talks
in Switzerland. The aim was to create conditions conducive to a final
bargaining agreement between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and
the three guarantor states of the Republic of Cyprus: Greece, Turkey, and
the United Kingdom. Although recent talks in Switzerland failed to deliver
a breakthrough, negotiations continue, and hope survives. With the
exception of negotiations on security and guarantees – a chapter whose
negotiation inevitably also involves Cyprus’ three guarantor states –
convergence on negotiations in all other chapters, namely territory,
property, governance and power sharing, as well as economic and EU
matters, have resulted in agreement or have brought the positions of the
parties within the radius of an agreement.

SWP Comments 2017/C03,
February 2017, 4 Pages

Grexit makes a comeback

Bill Mitchell, Modern Monetary Theory
With the IMF back in Athens this week, a familiar word is doing the rounds again - Grexit. After seven years of austerity, it is clear that Greece can only devalue or borrow its way out of the crisis, both of which are impossible within the eurozone.

Future economic growth in the Euro area

The Economic and Social Research Institute news

Future economic growth in the Euro area
Kieran McQuinn, Karl Whelan
This paper projects a baseline average real GDP growth rate in the euro area of just 0.6 per cent over the next decade. 

Cost of childhood obesity: Evidence Paper and Study Protocols

Cost of childhood obesity: Evidence Paper and Study Protocols
Published by the Commission co-funded Joint Action on Nutrition and Physical Activity, this document summarises the evidence about the prevalence of childhood obesity, its health and societal impacts, and its healthcare and societal costs.
Get this document

Trump is robbing America of its sense of moral purpose

Trump is robbing America of its sense of moral purpose

Francesco Sisci, CapX
    For the first time since World War I, the US seems keen to take a back seat in international affairs. This represents a worrying transition from a nation that has steadfastly and usefully engaged with the world, to one that is retreating into protectionism and isolationism

Shifts in African Politics

John Mukum Mbaku lays out the challenges that the newly elected African Union chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad, will face, from threats to security and development to a bureaucracy in need of reform.

World Policy Institute news

The Heritage Foundation news

The courts are trying to make foreign policy and that's not their job

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is wrong. On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to halt a stay on President Trump’s executive order suspending travel from seven majority-Muslim countries in the Middle East. Hans von Spakovsky writes: “The court’s apparent opinion that other aliens who don’t live in the U.S. have due process rights if they are refused entry can only be true if they have a constitutional right to enter the U.S. That is an absurd proposition, yet that is the end result of the court’s opinion: that a foreign alien can demand a hearing and due process rights if one of our embassies refuses to give the alien a visa. So far in the numerous lawsuits that have been filed against this executive order, the only federal judge to get it right is Nathaniel Gorton of the District Court of Massachusetts. He analyzed the relevant statute, 8 U.S.C. §1182(f), and concluded that the executive order is fully within the president’s authority: ‘The decision to prevent aliens from entering the country is a “fundamental sovereign attribute” realized through the legislative and executive branches that is “largely immune from judicial control.”’” [The Daily Signal]

Astonishingly wrong. David French writes: “The court is going to stop enforcement of a temporary pause in entry from jihadist and jihadist-torn countries (while in a state of war against jihadist terrorists) because there are ‘potential claims’ regarding ‘possible due process rights’ even of illegal aliens? That’s not deference. Moreover, if you actually follow the cited legal authorities, you’ll see that none of them are on-point with this case, and all of them deal with highly-specific, individual legal claims. Yet the court used this ‘authority’ to grant sufficient due-process rights to potential immigrants to halt enforcement of a wartime executive order motivated by the desire to protect America from the rising threat of jihadist terror.” [National Review]

“Precisely the wrong thing for the court to do.” In the words of Judge Andrew Napolitano: “The constitution assigns the decision making for foreign policy exclusively to the President. Even Congress has a subordinate role. […] The decision to ban is not reviewable. It’s not justiciable. Judges are incapable of second-guessing the President on it. […] This is an intellectually dishonest piece of work that the 9th Circuit has produced tonight, because it essentially consists of substituting the judgment of three judges for the president of the United States, when the Constitution unambiguously gives this area of jurisdiction—foreign policy—exclusively to the president." [Fox News]

The precedents against judicial involvement in immigration decisions are strong. From where does this idea come that non-citizens generally do not have judicially reviewable claims regarding immigration policy and exclusion decisions? It comes from something called the plenary power doctrine. To brush up on it, read Jon Feere’s short history published a few years back by the Center for Immigration Studies: “Plenary Power: Should Judges Control U.S. Immigration Policy?”
The piece provides a précis of many of the major cases that affirmed the idea since Chinese Exclusion Case of 1889, in which the Supreme Court noted: “That the government of the United States, through the action of the legislative department, can exclude aliens from its territory is a proposition which we do not think open to controversy. Jurisdiction over its own territory to that extent is an incident of every independent nation. It is a part of its independence. If it could not exclude aliens it would be to that extent subject to the control of another power.”
Fast-forward to the 1952 case of Harisiades v. Shaughnessy, which concerned the deportation of former members of the Communist Party, and we find the Court holding: “[A]ny policy toward aliens is vitally and intricately interwoven with contemporaneous policies in regard to the conduct of foreign relations, the war power, and the maintenance of a republican form of government. Such matters are so exclusively entrusted to the political branches of government as to be largely immune from judicial inquiry or interference.”
And: “However desirable world-wide amelioration of the lot of aliens, we think it is peculiarly a subject for international diplomacy. It should not be initiated by judicial decision which can only deprive our own Government of a power of defense and reprisal without obtaining for American citizens abroad any reciprocal privileges or immunities. Reform in this field must be entrusted to the branches of the Government in control of our international relations and treaty-making powers.” [All quotes from “Plenary Power: Should Judges Control U.S. Immigration Policy,” by Jon Feere, Center for Immigration Studies.]

Sometimes the cops are the robbers. Jacob Sullum writes: “In a meeting with county sheriffs from around the country on Tuesday, President Trump jokingly (we hope!) threatened to ‘destroy [the] career’ of a Texas legislator who proposed requiring the government to obtain a conviction before taking property allegedly tied to crime. As Nick Gillespie noted, Trump’s knee-jerk support for civil asset forfeiture is troubling, especially in light of a growing bipartisan consensus that the practice should be reformed or abolished because it hurts innocent property owners and warps law enforcement priorities. Worse, the White House transcript of the president’s remarks about forfeiture shows he literally does not know what he is talking about, which suggests this ‘law and order’ president is happy to go along with whatever cops want, even if he has no idea what it is.” [Reason]
If President Trump doesn’t understand the problem of civil asset forfeiture, he can get a good introduction to the topic by taking three minutes and fifty seconds to watch the Institute for Justice’s video “The Forfeiture Machine Turns Cops into Robbers.” It’s a good video for everybody to watch, too.

Maybe the President is not a control freak. John O. McGinnis writes: “A common criticism of President Trump is that he is an authoritarian executive. But he has chosen to nominate a judge who is on the record against giving deference to interpretation of statutes by heads of executive agencies. Gorsuch opposes an important doctrine that would protect the administration’s authority. There were many judges on his list of 21 potential nominees who were more favorable to Chevron and yet he passed them over. This choice is not the action of someone who wants to maximize his power at all costs. Perhaps some would say that Trump was just ignorant of these details. But surely his key agents, including Steven Bannon and Reince Priebus, recognized this salient feature of Gorsuch’s record and they recommended him nonetheless. Just as Trump’s nominations suggest he is better than his off-the-cuff statements, so his nomination of Gorsuch likely suggests that his administration’s considered views on federal power are better than his impulsive tweets.” [Library of Law and Liberty]

They think the Secretary of Education works for the teachers. Mark Bauerlein writes: “The more politicians and commentators insist that the first responsibility of the secretary of education is to represent and support public schools, the more we have an example of ‘capture’ in government. Capture takes place when an agency charged with monitoring an industry or profession ends up in the service of it. The agency or official starts to regard the object of evaluation as a constituency that must be supported. When the governor of a state gets too close to the public employee unions around negotiating time, he has stopped representing the people of his state and become a partisan of special interests. He has been captured.
“When the opponents of Betsy DeVos hail public schools as the first beneficiary of the Department of Education, they do the same thing. They forget the civic principle of ‘by the people, for the people.’ […] In the case of the Department of Education, the Cabinet secretary should not be primarily the representative of, or advocate for, public schools and all the people who work in them. His or her constituency is not teachers, superintendents, and the rest of the personnel. It is the students.” [Vox]

But it turns out that Betsy DeVos probably is the best choice to save public schools. Why? Because competition improves everything. James Agresti writes: “[T]he current public school system is highly stratified by income, and income and education go hand in hand. Hence, the real issue is not stratification but what happens to students who stay in public schools. Contrary to the belief that school choice will harm these students, a mass of evidence shows the opposite.
“At least 21 high-quality studies have been performed on the academic outcomes of students who remain in public schools that are subject to school choice programs. All but one found neutral-to-positive results, and none found negative results. This is consistent with the theory that school choice stimulates competition that induces public schools to improve.” [The Insider]
If DeVos is able to encourage the expansion of school choice around the country, then she will have helped all schools improve.

The Heritage Foundation news


Delivering water security for the future of Tasmanian agriculture

Australian Government Media Releases for 13 February 2017

Delivering water security for the future of Tasmanian agriculture

Work has commenced on a $30 million irrigation project

Care in a post-Brexit climate

Care in a post-Brexit climate: How to raise standards and meet workforce challenges

Authors: Giselle Cory, Carys Roberts, Craig Thorley

About: public services - IPPR news

Get to Know Your Muslim Neighbors

Get to Know Your Muslim Neighbors
Domenica Ghanem
   If we take the time to get to know one another, we’ll find that we don't have to live in fear.

IPS news

Can Macron trump Marine?

Can Macron trump Marine?

By Anne-Elisabeth Moutet
   The new frontrunner in France's increasingly farcical race to take on Marine Le Pen looks to be Emmanuel Macron.
CapX news


みずほ情報総研 Vol.608「数値シミュレーション分野のスペシャリティー確立を目指して」ほか

    │ https://www.mizuho-ir.co.jp/publication/column/2017/0207.html?rt_bn=mm

The Heritage Insider: Gorsuch is an excellent choice for the Supreme Court, the logic behind the travel order, the bigger challenge of stopping terrorism

The Heritage Insider: Gorsuch is an excellent choice for the Supreme Court, the logic behind the travel order, the bigger challenge of stopping terrorism

Neil Gorsuch is highly qualified for the job of Justice of the Supreme Court, and his most important qualification is that he respects the Constitution. Despite the flaws in its drafting and implementation, the President’s executive order on travel from seven majority-Muslim nations is a rational response to the growing refugee crisis in the Middle East. Stopping terrorism, however, will require more than a focus on the border.
Neil Gorsuch believes in the Constitution as it was written, the separation of powers, and judicial independence.
John Malcolm, Elizabeth Slattery, and Tiffany Bates write: “One recent study singled out Gorsuch as one of the top judges whose approach to interpreting the law was closest to that of Scalia’s approach. Gorsuch ranked second out of 15 judges in ‘Scalia-ness,’ surpassed only by Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee.
“When it comes to interpreting statutes and the Constitution, a Supreme Court justice must keep uppermost in mind that he did not write the text and should not attempt to rewrite that text through creative ‘interpretation’ to mean something quite different from what was intended by its drafters, but which the justice personally considers more fair, wise, or just.
“In other words, a justice should interpret the text and structure of a statute, or the Constitution, based on the original public meaning of that text at the time it was adopted, and should not, under the guise of statutory or constitutional interpretation, impose on the rest of society his own policy preferences based on his perceptions of contemporary values.
“Gorsuch gives every indication that he will be just such a justice if he is confirmed by the Senate. He has demonstrated that he understands the proper, limited scope of the judicial power.”
Read the rest of their article “A Closer Look at Neil Gorsuch, an Excellent Choice for the Supreme Court” for a quick biography and review of Judge Gorsuch’s significant opinions. [Daily Signal]
Ed Whelan agrees: “Gorsuch is a brilliant jurist and dedicated originalist and textualist. He thinks through issues deeply. He writes with clarity, force, and verve. And his many talents promise to give him an outsized influence on future generations of lawyers.
“Gorsuch’s judicial outlook is reflected in his beautiful speech celebrating — and embracing — Justice Scalia’s traditional understanding of the judicial role and his originalist methodology:
“Perhaps the great project of Justice Scalia’s career was to remind us of the differences between judges and legislators. To remind us that legislators may appeal to their own moral convictions and to claims about social utility to reshape the law as they think it should be in the future. But that judges should do none of these things in a democratic society. That judges should instead strive (if humanly and so imperfectly) to apply the law as it is, focusing backward, not forward, and looking to text, structure, and history to decide what a reasonable reader at the time of the events in question would have understood the law to be—not to decide cases based on their own moral convictions or the policy consequences they believe might serve society best.
“In that speech, Gorsuch acknowledges that Justice Scalia’s project had its critics, from the secular moralist Ronald Dworkin to the pragmatist Richard Posner. He explains why he rejects those critics and instead sides with Justice Scalia in believing that ‘an assiduous focus on text, structure, and history is essential to the proper exercise of the judicial function.’ The Constitution itself carefully separates the legislative and judicial powers. Whereas the legislative power is the ‘power to prescribe new rules of general applicability for the future,’ the judicial power is a ‘means for resolving disputes about what existing law is and how it applies to discrete cases and controversies.’ This separation of powers is ‘among the most important liberty-protecting devices of the constitutional design.’ Among other things, if judges were to act as legislators by imposing their preferences as constitutional dictates, ‘how hard it would be to revise this so-easily-made judicial legislation to account for changes in the world or to fix mistakes.’ Indeed, the ‘very idea of self-government would seem to wither to the point of pointlessness.’” [National Review]
One of the things Randy Barnett is hopeful for, he tells Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie, is that Gorsuch’s critical stance toward the idea that courts should defer to agency interpretations of laws (“Chevron deference”) will lead the Court to cry foul more often when Congress delegates its legislative powers to unelected agencies. He explains: “There are certain doctrines that the Supreme Court could start to revive and it would have an effect. One of them is called the non-delegation doctrine, which says Congress cannot delegate its legislative powers to the executive branch (which it has been doing since the thirties). […] There’s a lot of conservative agitation—not just libertarian but conservative agitation—to revive that idea. I don’t know what Judge Gorsuch thinks of this, but I would be guardedly optimistic that he is a friend of that because as he says in his criticism of [the] Chevron [doctrine], legislators are the ones who should be legislating. The problem with the delegation is that they are delegating their legislative power to another branch and his objection to Chevron is [based on] separation of powers and that’s the same objection you make to this delegation.” [Reason]
Neal Katyal is a liberal who thinks a Justice Gorsuch will be an independent voice for the Constitution and the rule of law: “I was an acting solicitor general for President Barack Obama; Judge Gorsuch has strong conservative bona fides and was appointed to the 10th Circuit by President George W. Bush. But I have seen him up close and in action, both in court and on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee (where both of us serve); he brings a sense of fairness and decency to the job, and a temperament that suits the nation’s highest court. […]
“I have no doubt that if confirmed, Judge Gorsuch would help to restore confidence in the rule of law. His years on the bench reveal a commitment to judicial independence — a record that should give the American people confidence that he will not compromise principle to favor the president who appointed him. Judge Gorsuch’s record suggests that he would follow in the tradition of Justice Elena Kagan, who voted against President Obama when she felt a part of the Affordable Care Act went too far. In particular, he has written opinions vigorously defending the paramount duty of the courts to say what the law is, without deferring to the executive branch’s interpretations of federal statutes, including our immigration laws.
“In a pair of immigration cases, De Niz Robles v. Lynch and Gutierrez-Brizuela v. Lynch, Judge Gorsuch ruled against attempts by the government to retroactively interpret the law to disfavor immigrants. In a separate opinion in Gutierrez-Brizuela, he criticized the legal doctrine that federal courts must often defer to the executive branch’s interpretations of federal law, warning that such deference threatens the separation of powers designed by the framers. When judges defer to the executive about the law’s meaning, he wrote, they ‘are not fulfilling their duty to interpret the law.’ In strong terms, Judge Gorsuch called that a ‘problem for the judiciary’ and ‘a problem for the people whose liberties may now be impaired’ by ‘an avowedly politicized administrative agent seeking to pursue whatever policy whim may rule the day.’ That reflects a deep conviction about the role of the judiciary in preserving the rule of law.” [New York Times]
The President’s immigration order is a response to the growing refugee crisis in Syria. James Carafano, who served on the Trump administration transition team, explains the thinking behind the administration’s executive order on travel from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen: “As the space for the Islamic State, or ISIS, gets squeezed in the Middle East, the remains of the tens of thousands of foreign fighters will have to flow somewhere. Every nation, not just the U.S., believes they are most likely to flow to the countries cited in the order. That fact, and only that fact, is why those countries are included on the list. Indeed, when it comes to visa vetting, that’s why the European Union has restrictions that are comparable to the United States.
“The reason why we all worry is because, from those countries, foreign fighters could well try to flow to the West, principally by using visas or posing as refugees. When they get to the West, they could carry out terrorist acts. We know that because they already have—specifically in Western Europe.
“They haven’t come to the U.S.—yet. Right now, our primary threat is Islamist-related terror plots that are organized by terrorists who are already here.
“What this administration is doing is making sure we are ready for the next wave of terrorism as well—the outflow of terrorists from the countries of conflict where the foreign fighters are likely to go first.” [The Daily Signal]
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a former refugee from Somalia and a former Muslim. She thinks tougher immigration controls to screen out terrorists are just the beginning of a more sensible policy. She writes:
“The Obama administration had a flawed solution to this problem, which it called countering violent extremism. The Trump administration needs a completely new approach that targets not just violence, but the proponents of subversive Islamist views — the phenomenon of dawa or proselytizing. This ideological indoctrination is the essential prelude to acts of jihad, yet for too long it has been going on with impunity.
“Addressing the problem of Islamist terrorism will require much more than better immigration controls, though we certainly need those. It will necessitate the systematic dismantling of the ideological infrastructure of dawa, which is already well established right here in the United States.
“President Trump was right back in August. The threat posed by ‘the hateful ideology of radical Islam’ needs to be countered. American citizens — including immigrants — must be protected from that ideology and the violence that it promotes. But the threat is too multifaceted to be dealt with by executive orders. That is why Trump was right to argue in August for a commission of some kind — I would favor congressional hearings — to establish the full magnitude and nature of the threat.
“Until we recognize that this ideology is already in our midst, we shall expend all our energies in feverish debates about executive orders, when what is needed is cool, comprehensive legislation.” [WorldPost]

How the War on Drugs Has Made Drug Traffickers More Ruthless and Efficient

How the War on Drugs Has Made Drug Traffickers More Ruthless and Efficient
Sanho Tree
    In this interview with Vox, IPS drug policy expert Sanho Tree explains how evolution could have predicted the failure of the war on drugs.

Theresa will pay dearly for a deal with Trump

Theresa will pay dearly for a deal with Trump

Garvan Walshe, CapX
Last week's Brexit White Paper was a brilliant and telling exercise in wishful thinking. The vision of a UK set free to trade with the rest of the world ignores one reality - that the only logical place Britain will be able to make up its losses in Europe is with America.

トランプ氏年内訪日へ調整 安倍首相、帰国の途

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Another Scottish referendum is now an inevitability

Another Scottish referendum is now an inevitability

Alex Massie, CapX
    Westminster might rather it wasn't the case, but Scotland simply cannot move on from the 2014 result. In fact, Westminster is partly to blame for the fact that another vote on independence is a foregone conclusion. Scotland doesn't want to be dictated to by an increasingly Right-wing government, agitates Nicola Sturgeon. And nor, she says, does it want to be dragged out of the European Union. The ball is still in play. 

ASIC - Australian Securities and Investments Commission news

17-022MR ASIC imposes licence conditions on NAB’s superannuation trustee | ASIC - Australian Securities and Investments Commission

    ASIC media releases are point-in-time statements. Please note the date of issue and use the internal search function on the site to check for other media releases on the same or related matters....

[Jmss-l] The Journal of Military and Strategic Studies Volume 17, Issue 3.

[Jmss-l] The Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 
Volume 17, Issue 3. 

The JMSS website is www.jmss.org.

Brexit hasn't hampered Britain

What does 2017 hold for the British economy?

Andrew Lilico, CapX
    The economists who warned of a Brexit-induced recession are now being forced to upgrade their forecasts, as growth shows no signs of slowing. But some still insist that doom is around the corner - so are they right? If anything, Britain is likely to do better this year than last, as the benefits of the falling pound kick in. Inflation and Brexit's transitional costs may take the gloss off, but there is certainly no need for alarm.

What does Radicalisation Look Like? Four Visualisations of Socialisation into Violent Extremism

What does Radicalisation Look Like? Four Visualisations of Socialisation into Violent Extremism

Diego Muro, Lecturer in International Relations, University of St Andrews and Associate Senior Researcher, CIDOB

US market reopens for French beef imports

US market reopens for French beef imports
    The United States have announced on 13.01 the lifting of the ban on imports of beef from France. The Commission welcomes this decision, which represents a new stage in the reopening of a market which has been closed since the BSE epidemic in the 1990s.
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What's gone wrong with Germany?

What's gone wrong with Germany?

Federico Fubini, Project Syndicate
   It's not a surprise that Italy and Greece boast the weakest per capita GDP growth in Europe. But for Germany to be third on the list? Europe's biggest economy is not just undergoing a productivity crunch: its banks are withdrawing from the rest of Europe, its citizens are saving but not investing, and its politicians have passed few meaningful reforms. Has a focus on exports distracted Berlin from its domestic problems?


みずほ情報総研 Vol.607「低炭素都市の実現に向けて」ほか


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Iran Post-Rafsanjani – Heading Towards Polarisation?

Drug driving: use of legal limits, issue 2



NIRA news

Trade in ivory: UK and international policy and regulation

Trade in ivory: UK and international policy and regulation
Published Tuesday, January 31, 2017 | Commons Briefing papers CBP-7875
    There has been rising international concern over the declining population of African savanna elephants as a result of ivory poaching, and the subsequent international trade in ivory. In 2016, the UK Government announced plans to ban the sale of ‘worked’ ivory produced since 1947. This Commons Library brief details UK and international policy and regulation of the ivory trade.




NIDS news

TF-X: A New Chapter in UK–Turkey Relations Takes Flight

Europe and the Refugee Situation: Human Security Implications

Intended and unintended consequences of EU policy instruments