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Posts Tagged ‘EU’

‘Global Taxes – Global Stagnation’ – Ron Paul’s 12 Apr. Column

Posted by M. C. on April 13, 2021

The goal of those supporting global minimum taxes enforced by a global tax agency is to prevent countries from lowering their taxes. Lowering corporate and other taxes is one way countries are able to attract new businesses and grow their economies. For example, after Ireland lowered its corporate taxes, it moved from being one of the poorest countries in the EU to having one of the EU’s strongest economies. Also, American workers and investors benefited from the 2017 tax reform’s reduction of corporate taxes from 35 percent to 21 percent.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/globaltax?e=4e0de347c8

Apr 12 – Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has proposed that governments around the world require payment of at least a uniform “global minimum corporate tax.” A motivation for Yellen’s push for a global minimum corporate tax is fear that the Biden administration’s proposed increase in the US corporate tax will cause some American corporations to flee the US for countries with lower corporate taxes.

President Biden wants to increase corporate taxes to help pay for his so-called infrastructure plan. The plan actually spends more on “progressive” priorities, including a down payment on the Green New Deal, than on infrastructure.

Much of the spending will benefit state-favored businesses. For example, the plan provides money to promote manufacturing and electric vehicles. So, the idea is to raise taxes on all corporations and then use some of the received tax payments to subsidize government-favored businesses and industries.

The only way to know the highest valued use of resources is by seeing what goods and services consumers voluntary choose to spend their money on. A system where the allocation of resources is based on the preferences of politicians and bureaucrats — who use force to get their way — will be less efficient than a system where consumers control the allocation of resources.

Thus, the greater role government plays in the economy the less prosperous the people will be — with the possible exception of the governing class and those who make their living currying favor with the rulers.

Yellen’s global corporate tax proposal will no doubt be supported by governments of many European Union (EU) countries, as well as the globalist bureaucrats at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). For years, these governments and their power-hungry OECD allies have sought to create a global tax cartel.

The goal of those supporting global minimum taxes enforced by a global tax agency is to prevent countries from lowering their taxes. Lowering corporate and other taxes is one way countries are able to attract new businesses and grow their economies. For example, after Ireland lowered its corporate taxes, it moved from being one of the poorest countries in the EU to having one of the EU’s strongest economies. Also, American workers and investors benefited from the 2017 tax reform’s reduction of corporate taxes from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Yellen and her pro-global tax counterparts deride tax competition between countries as a “race to the bottom.” In fact, tax competition is a race to the top for the countries whose economies benefit from new investments, and for the workers and consumers who benefit from new job opportunities and new products. In contrast, a global minimum corporate tax will raise prices and lower wages, while incentivizing politicians to further increase the minimum.

A global minimum corporate tax will also set a precedent for imposition of other global minimum taxes on individuals. This scheme may even advance the old Keynesian dream of a global currency. The Biden administration is already taking steps toward a global currency by asking the International Monetary Fund to issue more special drawing rights (SDRs).

Global tax and fiat currency systems will only benefit the world’s political and financial elites. In contrast, regular people across the world benefit from limited government, free markets, sound money, and reduced or eliminated taxes.



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Biden and Janet Yellen Are Pushing a Global Minimum Tax Rate. The EU Is Very Pleased. | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 8, 2021

So, for at least a decade, EU politicians have openly complained that tax competition is “a threat to the European Union.” The regimes in the west don’t like having to deal with smaller, poorer regimes that can offer lower taxes to employers, investors, and producers.

https://mises.org/wire/biden-and-janet-yellen-are-pushing-global-minimum-tax-rate-eu-very-pleased

Ryan McMaken

It has long been a dream of central planners and interventionists to set global, uniform tax rates for all regimes. These globalists know that so long as sovereign states have the ability to freely set their own tax rates, some regimes are tempted to engage in “tax competition” in order to attract capital. When this happens “tax havens” allow companies and individuals to “shop around” in terms of where to put their productive wealth.

The antidote to this “problem,” we are told, is so-called tax harmonization. Under tax harmonization schemes, all governments are forced to impose a certain minimum tax rate so that high-tax countries need not compete with low-tax countries. Noncompliance comes with sanctions.

Without tax havens, of course, regimes have more freedom to raise taxes to ever higher levels because the gap between the high-tax regimes and low-tax regimes is significantly lessened.

So, it should surprise no one that President Biden’s Treasury secretary Janet Yellen is now pushing for a global minimum corporate tax, and for an increase to the US corporate taxes:

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday urged the adoption of a minimum global corporate income tax, an effort to at least partially offset any disadvantages that might arise from the Biden administration’s proposed increase in the U.S. corporate tax rate.

Citing a “30-year race to the bottom” in which countries have slashed corporate tax rates in an effort to attract multinational businesses, Yellen said the Biden administration would work with other advanced economies in the Group of 20 to set a minimum.

Naturally, such a scheme doesn’t work without a means to punish countries that don’t cooperate. According to Reuters,

The U.S. plan envisages a 21% minimum corporate tax rate, coupled with eliminating exemptions on income from countries that do not enact a minimum tax to discourage the shifting of jobs and profits overseas.

In other words, “Biden’s corporate tax measure would also penalize other countries without a minimum corporate tax by more heavily taxing their subsidiaries in the U.S.”

A Long War on Tax Competition

The US’s new attack on tax havens and tax competition comes after years of attempts by the EU and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to impose enforceable minimum tax rates. The OECD is currently in the process of negotiating what Daniel Mitchell calls a “global high tax cartel.”

Moreover, the European Commission has been complaining for many years about low-tax member states within the bloc.

In early 2019, for example, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker pushed the idea of ending the ability of EU members to veto changes in tax policy so as to make tax rates across EU countries more equal. Ireland and Hungary, which have adopted low tax rates to attract businesses, have long opposed such effortsMalta has vehemently objected as well.

In the EU, France and Germany—the largest and most powerful states in the bloc—have pushed for an EU-wide corporate tax policy for years. Germany and France have already announced plans to bilaterally pursue a common corporate tax policy, but this is just the first step. The next step is to impose minimum tax rates on the rest of Europe as well.

Europe isn’t the only place where regimes have hoped to attract capital with low tax rates. Small island nations in the Caribbean also function as tax havens and have earned the ire of the European Union’s leadership.

In many ways, the effort to achieve tax harmonization is also a war on small countries, waged by big, powerful countries.

After all, small countries have limited tools in attracting capital. All else being equal, small countries that use small-time local currencies are at a disadvantage in a world of competing fiat currencies. Small countries also potentially have less access to ready labor and other inputs necessary for production. Finally, small countries are at a disadvantage when they are physically located far from other centers of capital. This is the case for many Caribbean and eastern European countries.

East vs. West and Rich vs. Poor

One way small countries can compete is by lowering corporate tax rates. This is partly why Ireland, Malta, and Hungary have all pursued low-tax policies. In fact, in 2019, Hungary slashed its corporate tax rate to 9 percent from 19 percent. Ireland—which has long been at the periphery of Europe and was considerably poorer than the rest of Western Europe as late as the early 1990s—has now become known for its relatively low corporate tax rate, which now stands at 12.5 percent. In contrast, France’s corporate tax rate as of 2020 was 32 percent. Germany’s rate was 29.9 percent. Indeed, it is no coincidence that the old established economies of the EU—France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Low Countries—all have higher corporate tax rates compared to the old Iron Curtain countries.

In Poland and Czechia, for example, the corporate tax rate is 19 percent. It’s 16 percent in Romania. Naturally, after the end of the Soviet Union, these countries sought to raise their standards of living and enter the global marketplace. One way to attract capital was to make their economies more attractive to foreign capitalists.

The rich west of Europe has never approved of this strategy.

So, for at least a decade, EU politicians have openly complained that tax competition is “a threat to the European Union.” The regimes in the west don’t like having to deal with smaller, poorer regimes that can offer lower taxes to employers, investors, and producers.

Now, it looks like the US is joining this effort to force smaller, poorer countries to raise their tax rates. The Trump administration threw a bit of a wrench in the EU’s plans to harmonize taxes when Trump was able to win approval of a corporate tax cut from 35 percent to 21 percent. That presented an indirect threat to the Franco-German plan to turn the industrialized world into one big high-tax bloc. But now with Biden in the White House, the US looks like its “ready to help” by raising US rates to a France-friendly 28 percent, and by also pushing for a new global tax regime. 

The high-tax regimes of the world will be more than happy to join in.  Author:

Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and Power&Market, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

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The “Unvaccinated” Question – OffGuardian

Posted by M. C. on March 30, 2021

https://off-guardian.org/2021/03/29/the-unvaccinated-question/

CJ Hopkins

So, the New Normals are discussing the Unvaccinated Question. What is to be done with us? No, not those who haven’t been “vaccinated” yet. Us. The “Covidiots.” The “Covid deniers.” The “science deniers.” The “reality deniers.” Those who refuse to get “vaccinated,” ever.

There is no place for us in New Normal society. The New Normals know this and so do we. To them, we are a suspicious, alien tribe of people. We do not share their ideological beliefs. We do not perform their loyalty rituals, or we do so only grudgingly, because they force us to do so.

We traffic in arcane “conspiracy theories,” like “pre-March-2020 science,” “natural herd immunity,” “population-adjusted death rates,” “Sweden,” “Florida,” and other heresies.

They do not trust us. We are strangers among them. They suspect we feel superior to them. They believe we are conspiring against them, that we want to deceive them, confuse them, cheat them, pervert their culture, abuse their children, contaminate their precious bodily fluids, and perpetrate God knows what other horrors.

So they are discussing the need to segregate us, how to segregate us, when to segregate us, in order to protect society from us. In their eyes, we are no more than criminals, or, worse, a plague, an infestation.

In the words of someone (I can’t quite recall who), “getting rid of the Unvaccinated is not a question of ideology. It is a question of cleanliness,” or something like that. (I’ll have to hunt down and fact-check that quote. I might have taken it out of context.)

In IsraelEstoniaDenmarkGermanythe USA, and other New Normal countries, they have already begun the segregation process.

In the UK, it’s just a matter of time. The WEF, WHO, EU, and other transnational entities are helping to streamline the new segregation system, which, according to the WEF,

will need to be harmonized by a normative body, such as the WHO, to ensure that is ethical.”

Here in Germany, the government is considering banning us from working outside our homesWe are already banned from flying on commercial airlines. (We can still use the trains, if we dress up like New Normals.)

In the village of Potsdam, just down the road from Wannsee (which name you might recall from your 20th-Century history lessons), we are banned from entering shops and restaurants. (I’m not sure whether we can still use the sidewalks, or whether we have to walk in the gutters.)

In Saxony, we are forbidden from attending schools. At the Berliner Ensemble (the theater founded by Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel, lifelong opponents of totalitarianism and fascism), we are banned from attending New Normal performances.

In the USA, we are being banned by universities. Our children are being banned from public schools.

In New York, the new “Excelsior Pass” will allow New Normals to attend cultural and sports events (and patronize bars and restaurants, eventually) secure in the knowledge that the Unvaccinated have been prevented from entering or segregated in an “Unvaccinated Only” section.

The pass system, designed by IBM, which, if history is any guide, is pretty good at designing such systems (OK, technically, it was Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft, IBM’s Nazi-Germany subsidiary), was launched this past weekend to considerable fanfare.

And this is only the very beginning.

Israel’s “Green Pass” is the model for the future, which makes sense, in a sick, fascistic kind of way. When you’re already an apartheid state, what’s a little more apartheid? Here’s a peek at what that looks like…

OK, I know what the New Normals are thinking. They’re thinking I’m “misleading” people again. That I’m exaggerating. That this isn’t really segregation, and certainly nothing like “medical apartheid.”

After all (as the New Normals will sternly remind me), no one is forcing us to get “vaccinated.” If we choose not to, or can’t for medical reasons, all we have to do is submit to a “test” — you know, the one where they ram that 9-inch swab up into your sinus cavities — within 24 hours before we want to go out to dinner, or attend the theater or a sports event, or visit a museum, or attend a university, or take our children to school or a playground, and our test results will serve as our “vaccine passports!”

We just present them to the appropriate Covid Compliance Officer, and (assuming the results are negative, of course) we will be allowed to take part in New Normal society just as if we’d been “vaccinated.”

Either way, “vaccine” or “test,” the New Normal officials will be satisfied, because the tests and passes are really just stage props. The point is the display of mindless obedience.

Even if you take the New Normals at their word, if you are under 65 and in relatively good health, getting “vaccinated” is more or less pointless, except as a public display of compliance and belief in the official Covid-19 narrative (the foundation stone of the New Normal ideology).

Even the high priests of their “Science” confess that it doesn’t prevent you spreading the “plague.” And the PCR tests are virtually meaningless, as even the WHO finally admitted. (You can positive-PCR-test a pawpaw fruit…but you might want to be careful who you tell if you do that.)

In contrast to the “vaccine” and the “test” themselves, the forced choice between them is not at all meaningless. It is no accident that both alternatives involve the violation of our bodies, literally the penetration of our bodies. It doesn’t really matter what is in the “vaccines” or what “results” the “tests” produce. The ritual is a demonstration of power, the power of the New Normals (i.e., global capitalism’s new face) to control our bodies, to dominate them, to violate them, psychologically and physically.

Now, don’t get all excited, my “conspiracy theorist” friends. I haven’t gone full QAnon just yet. Bill Gates and Klaus Schwab are not sitting around together, sipping adrenochrome on George Soros’ yacht, dreaming up ways to rape people’s noses. This stuff is built into the structure of the system. It is a standard feature of totalitarian societies, cults, churches, self-help groups, and…well, human society, generally.

Being forced to repeat a physical action which only makes sense within a specific ideology reifies that ideology within us. There is nothing inherently diabolical about this. It is a basic socialization technology. It is how we socialize our children. It is why we conduct weddings, baptisms, and bar mitzvahs. It is how we turn young men and women into soldiers. It is how actors learn their blocking and their lines. It is why the Nazis held all those rallies. It is why our “democracies” hold elections.

It is also basic ceremonial magic…but that’s a topic for a different column.

The issue, at the moment, is the Unvaccinated Question, and the public rituals that are being performed to make the New Normal ideology “reality,” and what to do about those of us who refuse to participate in those rituals, who refuse to forswear “old normal” reality and convert to New Normalism so that we can function in society without being segregated, criminalized, or “diagnosed” as “sociopathic” or otherwise psychiatrically disordered.

For us “conspiracy-theorizing reality deniers,” there is no getting around this dilemma. This isn’t Europe in the 1930s. There isn’t anywhere to emigrate to … OK, there is, temporarily, in some of the US states that have been staging rebellions, and other such “old normal” oases, but how long do you think that will last?

They’re already rolling out the “mutant variants,” and God only knows what will happen when the long-term effects of the “vaccines” kick in.

No, for most of us denizens of the global capitalist empire, it looks like the New Normal is here to stay. So, unless we are prepared to become New Normals, we are going to have to stand and fight. It is going to get rather ugly, and personal, but there isn’t any way to avoid that.

Given that many New Normals are our friends and colleagues, or even members of our families, it is tempting to believe that they will “come to their senses,” that “this is all just a hysterical overreaction,” and that “everything will go back to normal soon.”

This would be a monumental error on our parts…very possibly a fatal error.

Totalitarian movements, when they reach this stage, do not simply stop on their own. They continue to advance toward their full expressions, ultimately transforming entire societies into monstrous mirror-images of themselves, unless they are opposed by serious resistance. There is a window at the beginning when such resistance has a chance. That window is still open, but it is closing, fast.

I can’t tell you how best to resist, but I can tell you it starts with seeing things clearly, and calling things, and people, exactly what they are.

Let’s not make the same mistake that other minorities have made throughout history when confronted with a new totalitarian ideology. See the New Normals for what they are, maybe not deep down in their hearts, but what they have collectively become a part of, because it is the movement that is in control now, not the rational individuals they used to be.

Above all, recognize where this is headed, where totalitarian movements are always headed. (See. e.g., Milton Mayer’s They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-45.)

No, the Unvaccinated are not the Jews and the New Normals are not flying big Swastika flags, but totalitarianism is totalitarianism, regardless of which Goebbelsian Big Lies, and ideology, and official enemies it is selling. The historical context and costumes change, but its ruthless trajectory remains the same.

Today, the New Normals are presenting us with a “choice,” (a) conform to their New Normal ideology or (b) social segregation. What do you imagine they have planned for us tomorrow?

CJ Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright, novelist and political satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing and Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. His dystopian novel, Zone 23, is published by Snoggsworthy, Swaine & Cormorant. Volumes I and II of his Consent Factory Essays are published by Consent Factory Publishing, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amalgamated Content, Inc. He can be reached at cjhopkins.com or consentfactory.org.

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Hard talk with Václav Klaus: “The people should say NO to all of it.”

Posted by M. C. on January 15, 2021

VK: The restrictions on basic civil rights that were introduced so swiftly and so easily demonstrate the power of the modern state, with all its new, “smart“ technologies and drastically expanded enforcement capabilities. Economists often talk about the so-called “ratchet effect”, or the limited ability of existing processes and dynamics to be reversed and to return to normal once a specific event has radically altered them. It is true of prices, of productivity and it is also true of social and political systems. Therefore, I am afraid it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to return to the pre-corona days.

https://claudiograss.ch/2020/05/hard-talk-with-vaclav-klaus-the-people-should-say-no-to-all-of-it/

As we get deeper into this crisis and we get used to our “new normal”, it’s easy to focus on the daily corona-horror stories in the media or the latest shocking unemployment numbers, and lose track of the bigger picture and of what is really, fundamentally important. Even as the lockdown measures begin to get phased out, the scale of the economic damage is unimaginable and the idea of returning to “business as usual” is no longer tenable. The last couple of months have had a severe impact not just on the economy, but on our societies and geopolitical reality too. These changes are most likely irreversible and we as citizens and as investors will have to be prepared to deal with this massive shift and all that it entails for a long time.

Amid the panic, the distractions and the hyperbole that are prevalent these days, my own daily task has been an effort to separate the signals from the noise. In order to do so, I’ve also reached out to the few people whose views and insights I have long found invaluable and who have prioritized critical thought and kept their principles intact throughout this crisis. Straight talk and direct answers are very hard to come by these days from most Western leaders and institutional figures, this is why I turned to Former President of the Czech Republic, Prof. Ing. Václav Klaus, who has long been a voice of reason and whose unique perspective is even more important now. In the interview that follows, he shares his views on the current crisis and on what’s to come, in a succinct and resolute way and with a directness that is as rare and as it is essential in times like these.

Claudio Grass (CG): The magnitude and the global scale of the lockdown and shutdown measures we’ve seen during this corona-crisis are unprecedented. How do you evaluate the response compared to the threat itself? Do you believe it is justified? 

Václav Klaus (VK): I don‘t pretend to be an expert in epidemiology, but my background in economics and statistics tells me that the threat is smaller than the consequences „organized“ by governments all over the world as a reaction to this pandemic. I would add unnecessary consequences. The authorities reacted in an exorbitant way, in a moment of fear. This is partly the result of the current „online democracy“.

CG: The “emergency measures” and the restrictions that have been imposed on civilians’ basic rights have served as a reminder of the true extent of the state’s powers. Do you find this worrying and do you see a risk that these new, extraordinary powers might not be as easy to roll back once the crisis is over? 

VK: The restrictions on basic civil rights that were introduced so swiftly and so easily demonstrate the power of the modern state, with all its new, “smart“ technologies and drastically expanded enforcement capabilities. Economists often talk about the so-called “ratchet effect”, or the limited ability of existing processes and dynamics to be reversed and to return to normal once a specific event has radically altered them. It is true of prices, of productivity and it is also true of social and political systems. Therefore, I am afraid it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to return to the pre-corona days. 

CG: On an economic level, what is your assessment of the impact of the shutdown measures? 

VK: Most, if not all, of the circulating quantitative estimates and forecasts, are wrong. The “experts” should first say how long the quarantine restrictions will last and when the economic shutdown will be fully lifted. Their economic forecasts depend on the length of the quarantine period. They should announce explicitly when they plan to end it. Until this is established and known, the current forecasts are economically meaningless. 

CG: The monetary and fiscal interventions that we’ve seen so far are as extreme and as shocking as the shutdown policies themselves. Do you think they’ll be enough to keep the economy afloat though, or is a deep and long recession simply inevitable? 

VK: The monetary and fiscal measures – unacceptable for the true democrats – may have positive short-term effects, but they will destabilize the economy and public finances for a very long period of time. They could lead to very high inflation. 

CG:  Trillions upon trillions are being injected into the system, while wild ideas like the Universal Basic Income have become mainstream. Apart from the obvious monetary and economic risks of these policies, do you also foresee political and social implications? 

VK: Those of us in the ex-communist countries were used to living in a world of something like “Universal Basic Income”. We wanted to get rid of communism because of principles like this. These principles destroyed the motivation to work, which proved to be ruinous.  

CG: Within just a few weeks we have witnessed an abrupt and absolute turn towards centralization. The free market has been brought to its knees, individual voluntary exchanges, productivity and the very right to work and to create were all suspended and replaced with central planning. Do you think this approach has any chance of being sustainable? 

VK: I would not call it “central planning” yet. I prefer Walter Eucken’s term (used for the description of the German economy in Hitler’s time), “centrally administrated economy”. It is not planning in its original meaning. It is the very heavy and visible hand of the government at work, instead of the “invisible hand” of the market. 

CG: The corona-crisis has also had some very serious geopolitical ramifications, especially vis-à-vis China. What are the main changes that you expect to see going forward in this arena? 

VK: We shouldn’t use this situation for the introduction of new dangerous foreign relations policies and to strengthen the demonization of countries such as China and Russia. To my great regret, however, we see this is already happening.

CG: What about the future of the EU? Do you think this crisis has further weakened it and what is your outlook for the bloc? 

VK: The EU will – unfortunately, in my view – survive the corona-crisis. Its exponents will use it to further weaken nation-states. They are on the defensivenow, but they will reemerge again in full strength very soon. I wish I’ll be proven wrong, but I do believe they’ll use this crisis to their advantage and I fear they’ll do so successfully.

CG: Citizens, investors and savers everywhere are justifiably scared, if not of the virus itself then certainly of financial ruin. In your view, what can we do to take back at least some control of our own future? 

VK: It’s quite simple. The people should say “NO” to all of it. Otherwise, what lies ahead is a real-life approximation of the dystopian “Brave New World” of Aldous Huxley. 

Claudio Grass, Hünenberg See, Schweiz

This article has been published in the Newsroom of pro aurum, the leading precious metals company in Europe with an independent subsidiary in Switzerland.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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EU Leaders Demand “Standardised” Vaccine Passport For Travel | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on January 14, 2021

However, the EU’s data protection chief Wojciech Wiewiórowski recently labeled the idea of an immunity passport “extreme” and has repeatedly said it is alarming, and ‘disgusting’.

Recently, the government in Ontario, Canada admitted that it is exploring ‘immunity passports’ in conjunction with restrictions on travel and access to social venues for the unvaccinated.

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/eu-leaders-demand-standardised-vaccine-passport-travel

Tyler Durden's Photoby Tyler DurdenThursday, Jan 14, 2021 – 3:30

Authored by Steve Watson via Summit News,

EU leaders are demanding that the Commission should ‘standardise’ a vaccine passport across all member countries, and that it should be required for people to travel throughout the area.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has penned a letter to EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, outlining that “Persons who have been vaccinated should be free to travel.”

The letter calls for a “standardised certificate, which will prove that a person has been successfully vaccinated.”

While it stops short at advocating mandatory vaccination, the letter further urges that “It is urgent to adopt a common understanding on how a vaccination certificate should be structured so as to be accepted in all member states.”

Mitsotakis has pledged to raise the issue during an upcoming EU summit on January 21, declaring that “there is an urgent need for a high-level EU-wide mobilization to move things forward.” 

Vaccine passports have previously been touted by the EU, with officials suggesting back in April that visa applicants would also be required to be vaccinated.

EU countries including SpainEstoniaIceland, and Belgium have all indicated that they are open to some form of vaccine passports, as well as sharing the data across borders.

This week, it was also revealed that Denmark is the latest country to announce that it is rolling out a ‘Covid passport’, to allow those who have taken the vaccine to engage in society without any restrictions.

However, the EU’s data protection chief Wojciech Wiewiórowski recently labeled the idea of an immunity passport “extreme” and has repeatedly said it is alarming, and ‘disgusting’.

The spectre of so called ‘immunity passports’ is looming globally.

Having left the EU, Britain would not be part of any standardised European scheme, however it has now confirmed that it is rolling out vaccine passports, despite previous denials that it would do so.

Recently, the government in Ontario, Canada admitted that it is exploring ‘immunity passports’ in conjunction with restrictions on travel and access to social venues for the unvaccinated.

Last month, Israel announced that citizens who get the COVID-19 vaccine will be given ‘green passports’ that will enable them to attend venues and eat at restaurants.

litany of other government and travel industry figures in both the US, Britain and beyond have suggested that ‘COVID passports’ are coming in order for ‘life to get back to normal’.

Anna Beduschi, an academic from Exeter University, commented on the potential move toward vaccine passports by EU, noting that it “poses essential questions for the protection of data privacy and human rights.”

Beduschi added that the vaccine passports may “create a new distinction between individuals based on their health status, which can then be used to determine the degree of freedoms and rights they may enjoy.”

A report compiled last year by AI research body the Ada Lovelace Institute said so called ‘immunity’ passports “pose extremely high risks in terms of social cohesion, discrimination, exclusion and vulnerability.”

Sam Grant, campaign manager at the civili liberties advocacy group Liberty has warned that “any form of immunity passport risks creating a two-tier system in which some of us have access to freedoms and support while others are shut out.”

“These systems could result in people who don’t have immunity potentially being blocked from essential public services, work or housing – with the most marginalised among us hardest hit,” Grant further warned.

“This has wider implications too because any form of immunity passport could pave the way for a full ID system – an idea which has repeatedly been rejected as incompatible with building a rights-respecting society,” Grant further urged.

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‘Project Fear’ is here: Perfect storm of the new Covid variant and looming Brexit deadline exposes Boris the buffoon’s empty hand — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on December 22, 2020

Fear is a handy tool. like a crisis, don’t let it go to waste.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/510326-project-fear-brexit-covid/

Tom Fowdy

Tom Fowdy

is a British writer and analyst of politics and international relations with a primary focus on East Asia.

With lorries lining the roads, food shortages & the UK cut adrift by its former EU allies to suffer its fate, the prime minister is in a pickle he won’t be able to bluster his way out of this time.

Britain is in crisis, a multifaceted one at that. Over the weekend, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that areas of London and south-east England would be placed under “Tier 4 restrictions,” or in other words, a total lockdown, following the revelation that a new mutation of Covid-19 has gained rapid traction. The new variant of the virus is reportedly 70 percent more contagious, and has been described as “out of control” by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

If that wasn’t bad enough, a growing number of countries, including most of Europe, have subsequently responded to the development by blockading travel from the UK. Most alarmingly, this has also included incoming lorries and freight from the port of Dover into France via the Channel tunnel, the artery of Britain’s supply chains to the continent. Although it will not be a permanent measure, this has provoked serious warnings from politicians and supermarkets concerning potential food and supply shortages throughout the country.

Of course, all the talk about cargo delays, Calais and Dover sounds very familiar. Because in the background of this crisis is the looming deadline for Brexit trade talks between the UK and the European Union (EU). Johnson has repeatedly threatened a no-deal outcome if he does not secure preferential terms for Britain, and while there is some suggestion he may be bluffing as a negotiating tactic, suddenly this strategy doesn’t seem too smart on his behalf. Why? Because what is currently happening with Covid-19 is a taster of what a no-deal outcome will be like, and for the UK, it doesn’t look good at all. With potential shortages and national panic, the coronavirus crisis has just served to undermine the prime minister’s negotiating hand. Boris has failed the country on multiple fronts.

The entire logic of Brexit in its most dogmatic form is premised on the belief that the UK does not need to rely on the EU, and is, in fact, fundamentally “better off” as an “independent sovereign nation.” This attitude has thrived on a sentiment of national identity, rather than on geographic and economic realities. Britain is perceived to be “global,” born out of imperial nostalgia, rather than part of Europe, which is deemed to be separate and different. Stark warnings of potential repercussions from leaving the bloc have for years been dismissed under the popularised termproject fear” – and as the debate became polarised and toxified, many stopped listening.

The Conservative government has actively pushed a mantra of Brexit optimism: “This is going to be a fantastic year for Britain,” boasted Johnson in January, talking of potential new trade deals with far-flung countries which Brussels apparently got in the way of. As talks have approached the climax, with just 10 days left until the transition period comes to an end, he’s not hesitated from weaponising the threat of a no-deal, saying Britain will walk away and even subtly threatening to deploy the Royal Navy against France to protect fishing rights. Of course, it may play triumphantly domestically, but leaders on the continent have long deciphered that this isn’t really serious and that Boris is playing to the political gallery.

Now, he’s been made to look the fool. Brexit is one thing, but the prime minister’s utterly catastrophic approach to Covid-19 is another. European leaders must be laughing as Johnson has bluffed over a no-deal Brexit, only to see his virus mismanagement shut down Dover in the precise way his trade threats would do. It blows apart the fantasy that leaving without an agreement will be fine, and illustrates to the public just what beckons in that scenario, meaning that support for his position, and thus his negotiating hand, is seriously undermined. Brussels may now believe it can make him capitulate, not the other way round. The overlapping disasters of Covid-19 controls and a no-deal would serve a hammer blow to an already depleted UK economy, and his support would evaporate.

So, what does Johnson do now? The freight situation will not last for the long term and will eventually be resolved before it inflicts serious problems, irrespective of the spread of the virus at home. However, Brexit negotiations are going on simultaneously regardless. Now that Europe has shown that it can bring the UK economy to heel with collective action, Boris’ bluster isn’t going to wash. The prime minister may be inclined finally to compromise on EU demands at the last minute, or if the timing doesn’t suffice, even extend the transition agreement. 

Of course, either of those options might also be politically destructive for him, but what choice does he have? This is a true case of the ‘Prime Minister’s New Clothes’ – initially going against Europe with tough rhetoric, when in fact he had nothing. Now everyone sees the naked truth for what it is, and it’s not a pretty sight.

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The More the EU Tightens Its Grip, the More Countries Slip Through Its Fingers — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on October 27, 2020

These lockdowns have nothing to do with public health. They have everything to do with maintaining the political health of the current ruling classes. Nothing more.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/10/24/more-eu-tightens-its-grip-more-countries-slip-through-its-fingers/

Tom Luongo

It finally looks like the four-and-a-half-year saga of Brexit is coming to an ignominious end. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the final bluff of the incompetent bureaucrats in Brussels, walking away from trade talks while leaving the door open.

But that door is only open if the EU is willing to crawl in on its knees and give the UK what it wants, a minimal free trade deal, Canada-style, which was offered by then President of the European Council Donald Tusk.

The EU played hardball giving zero ground for four years while undermining the UK from within its own political and bureaucratic structures. It was as transparent as it was cynical, but it couldn’t sway the British people and that gave Johnson the political will to just say no.

And it was this hardball negotiating stance that had worked in the past finally broke like waves along the Cliffs of Dover. The reason why it failed was that arrogance was fueled by powerful forces having their back,

They believed in the power of coercion being stronger than the will of the British people.

And they were wrong. Dead wrong.

In an instant this past weekend the entire façade of he the EU’s inevitability vaporized as Johnson went on TV and told the world to prepare for a No-Deal Brexit, regardless of whether that was the optimal outcome or not.

It signaled to the rest of Europe that no longer do you have to take the diktats of a bunch of feckless, unelected technocrats if you don’t want to. And this failure to secure submission of the Brits will have immense consequences during this next election cycle in Europe.

This is why the fiction of the Second Wave of the Coronapocalypse persists all across the continent. Germany, France, Spain and other countries are implementing the worst kind of draconian lockdowns on people hanging on by a thread while the pols in Brussels scheme as to how best to continue advancing their plans for a future with the people trapped in the neo-feudalism of the EU corporatocracy.

These lockdowns have nothing to do with public health. They have everything to do with maintaining the political health of the current ruling classes. Nothing more.

And I include the UK in this as well but for different reasons. It’s my feeling that even though Johnson may have given the EU ‘two fingers up’ the EU and those behind it aren’t done with the Brits yet.

Walking away from narcissists inevitably invokes anger. There is too much at stake for the European Project for the annoying Brits to just walk away from it and give everyone else the wrong idea.

So, I feel very strongly we should be watching for more signs of the same color revolution tactics on display in the U.S. to depose Donald Trump showing up in the UK I don’t rule out an attempted coup against Johnson in the next seven weeks.

This is why I think he’s imposing similar lock downs in the UK to manage the inevitable activation of ‘ground forces’ once things get down to the wire later this year.

Brexit has exposed a myriad of fault lines within the EU, most notably between the two heavyweights, Germany and France. And Johnson, for all his shambolic organization, understood this perfectly, playing Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron off each other capturing their agendas in amber so when crunch-time came, they were paralyzed with inaction.

Weasels on both sides of the channel refused to accept the vote for any number of reasons but it didn’t matter.

The UK always had the upper hand in this situation if it stood its ground, made its demands known and negotiated like an equal rather than a wayward child.

Ever the abusive parent, the EU Council and its Chief Negotiator continue to treat the Brits like they treated Greece in 2015 and are now openly furious that no one is taking them seriously.

But why should anyone take Brussels seriously, other than because it is backed by the failing and sclerotic post-WWII institutions revealed to be complicit in the wholesale destruction of Western culture and economic vitality who are pushing a Great Reset on them whether they want it or not?

One need look no further than the insipid way Merkel has handled the obvious intelligence job surrounding Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Navalny is a nobody outside the halls of the CIA and MI-6 who, through the media, sell him to the West as a major thorn in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s side.

But he’s nothing of the sort. He has fewer people show up to his ‘rallies’ now than Joe Biden. So, the idea that Putin would poison this bozo is laughable. And yet, because the EU, and specifically Germany, are so scared of angering the U.S. they entertained this fantasy hoping the Russians would bail them out and play along with the fiction, publicly threatening the completion of the Nordstream 2 pipeline over it.

Putin told Merkel to go scratch, and why not? She’ll be out of the picture in a year.

So, now she has personally lost Russia as a potential ally for Germany. Instead of finally choosing a side, Merkel, ever the dutiful soldier, kept playing the U.S. and Russia off each other alienating both.

Germany will get no help from Russia when a vindictive second-term Trump tightens the screws on her even more. Because stop looking at polls designed to gaslight you and look at what’s happening in the U.S. People will walk over broken glass to vote for Trump. The biggest worry about Biden is whether he’ll soil his Depends.

Merkel ham-fistedly played for time hoping to run out the clock on Trump and Johnson both over the U.S. election and it will cost Germany everything in the long run. She has a chance post-election to make things right with Putin but don’t bet on it.

Once she loses Russia, she’ll lose the Visegrad nations as the U.S. abandons Europe and the 21st century will turn most unkind on a hubristic and vainglorious European elite.

If the EU leadership want to be taken seriously then they need to act like world leaders and not like a bunch of vindictive high schoolers vying for class president. That these incompetent people are leading some of the most powerful countries in the world should frighten you.

They also reflect very poorly on the people who stand behind them, who I like to call The Davos Crowd, whose policies they were chosen to implement.

And now that the best of all possible Brexits is near at hand, the rest of Europe is going to get an object lesson in just how much it costs to keep them around as the UK thrives in the post-Brexit world and why they shouldn’t be afraid of their wrath.

© 2010 – 2020 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org.

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Who will salute Trump’s man in Berlin? – UnHerd

Posted by M. C. on August 14, 2020

But in some respects, Macgregor has gone even further than the president and will doubtless spell out some hard truths to the German government if he becomes the next US Ambassador to Berlin. Just last year, he called NATO a “zombie”. Even more controversial during a period of bogus “Russiagate” fanaticism, Macgregor has inconveniently reminded us that “the promises given to President Mikhail Gorbachev by President George H. W. Bush, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, President Francois Mitterrand, Chancellor Helmut Kohl and their foreign ministers in 1990 — not to expand NATO eastward; not to extend membership in the NATO alliance to former member states of the Warsaw Pact—were ignored.”

https://unherd.com/2020/08/how-trumps-new-hire-subverts-the-status-quo/

BY and

Two centuries ago, the British statesman John Bright warned against “following visionary phantoms in all parts of the world while your own country is becoming rotten within”.

It is symptomatic of how diseased American strategic thinking has become over the past 30 years that so few Americans in a position to influence the direction of US foreign policy would have the guts or insight to issue a similar warning today.

That cannot be said of President Trump’s nominee to become ambassador to Germany, retired US Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor. It’s a selection that sends a clear message in the run-up to the 2020 election.

Colonel Douglas Macgregor’s selection sends a clear message in the run-up to the 2020 election

Macgregor, who has previously been on the shortlists to be either US national security advisor or Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, would be that rarest of creatures in Trumpworld: an appointee actually in line with the policies the President campaigned on in 2016.

In him, Trump would at long last have a high profile advocate for foreign policy positions that arguably won him the election four years ago. Macgregor has been a staunch supporter of the President’s efforts to finally bring a real and lasting peace to the Korean peninsula. He has also long been an outspoken proponent of a worldwide US military drawdown, in particular calling for a serious rethink of the benefits of NATO. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the EU Keeps Fighting Brexit | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 11, 2020

To put this into perspective, the UK is as rich and powerful as the nineteen weakest economies in the EU combined. This shows that although Brexit is not an easy transition for the UK, it will not be without consequences for the EU.

Although Brexit now appears to be a done deal, the EU bureaucracy may find ways to punish the UK for its independence. Moreover, the EU may use the Brexit experience as a reason to further limit the freedom of member states so as to avoid any future exit by other member states. This represents a sort of bait-and-switch for member states that were sold on membership as an opportunity to join a free trade bloc and a chance to participate in a more cooperative Europe. The reality today is something much different.

 

https://mises.org/wire/why-eu-keeps-fighting-brexit?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=c96eb260b4-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_07_10_03_38&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-c96eb260b4-228343965

The 2016 Brexit referendum was the culmination of a debate which had been ongoing for years. While the Leave promoted rhetoric targeting the EU as an illegitimate and despotic entity threatening the freedom of all British citizens, the EU institutions together with politics and media supporting the Remain disregarded most of the concerns raised by the Leave to focus on the pieces which could be easily labeled as either xenophobic or anti-European. It was difficult to find any constructive conversation about the motivations of citizens supporting the leave option. Nevertheless, listening to what the Leave said shows that behind Brexit is a complex of interconnected issues about what the EU has become and what perspectives the EU proposes for the future.

But opposition to the EU has long been about the growing power of the EU bureaucracy over the member states and their populations. During his last speech in front of the EU parliament, UK deputy Nigel Farage summarized his viewpoint by reminding them that the UK had signed an agreement to facilitate business relationships, reciprocity, and exchanges of scientific and technical expertise, all of this to foster collaborations among Europeans. Mr. Farage pointed out that the initial agreements never included the legal framework for the implementation of a bureaucracy made up of unelected technocrats interfering with affairs normally controlled by the states. He also reminded his audience what problems appear and worsen with bureaucracies designed so that a minority of individuals is granted power without accountability.

Brexit in a Nutshell: What Is (Really) at Stake

The EU’s power rests in many ways on its revenue, and this is among the reasons why the EU has so long fought a British exit.

To understand the importance of the UK’s exit from the EU, one should keep in mind that the UK is the fifth-largest economy in the world. With a population of 65 million, the UK represents around 13 percent of the EU’s population while its economy accounts for 18 percent of Europe’s GDP. This makes the UK the second-largest economy of the EU. To put this into perspective, the UK is as rich and powerful as the nineteen weakest economies in the EU combined. This shows that although Brexit is not an easy transition for the UK, it will not be without consequences for the EU.

The EU should feel the economic consequences of Brexit in three stages. In the short term, there is the loss of the British contribution to the community budget. As the contribution of member states to the EU budget is dependent on their GDP, it is understandable that behind Brexit there will be considerable financial consequences. It was sometimes said that the negotiations, from the day after the initial Brexit vote and through their interminable duration, only served to perpetuate the English contributions to the EU budget which should have otherwise been compensated mainly by Germany and France. In the medium term, both parties need to redefine agreements to ensure the continuity of trade and business relationships. Trade talks should continue until December 31, 2020, when it will be known whether the transition period has allowed the two sides to establish strong points of convergence. Finally, in the longer term, the UK having freed itself from all European regulations, there is a good chance of seeing there develop an economic and social model competing with that advocated and imposed by the EU on its members. The UK will be free to conclude trade agreements with new partners and could reach an advantageous agreement with an EU that cannot do without either the British market or its army, whereas with the withdrawal of the British, the military expenditure of Europe is cut by 21 percent.

EU Destiny: From Fostering Collaboration to Empowering a New Form of Continental Statism

In any case, the regulatory power of the EU has grown over time.

Until the Maastricht treaty of 1992, the European Economic Community applied the principle of subsidiarity by confining itself to its areas of exclusive competence. The exclusive powers of the union were the Customs Union; the establishment of the competition rules necessary for the functioning of the internal market; monetary policy for member states whose currency is the euro; the conservation of marine biological resources within the framework of the common fisheries policy; common commercial policy; and the conclusion of international agreements. In terms of barriers to trade, the EU has been beneficial when it has put an end to customs barriers and to repeated devaluations which were a means for companies to avoid the need to make productivity gains. European integration, as it took place up to and including the Single European Act of 1986 (which preceded the 1992 treaty), has made European economies more modern and more competitive.

The EU in its current form is different in the sense that it has “shared competences” with the member states, “competences to support, coordinate or supplement the action of the Member States,” and, finally, “competences to take measures to ensure that member states coordinate their policies.” To the Europe of free trade was added the Europe of standards, regulations, and lobbying. There is no longer any principle of subsidiarity, and the EU can interfere in fields such as culture or social policies. With the extension of its prerogatives, the EU has turned into a bureaucratic organization whose institutional bodies continuously centralize powers. The EU pushes to reduce economic and societal disparities among its members, and this induces conflicting relationships between some European countries and European institutions. The UK often dissented within the EU and argued against EU policies while requesting exemptions. During the debates at the EU parliament, one deputy claimed that the Brexit started when the EU granted exceptions and that it was this that impaired integration under a homogeneous regulatory scheme. Far from questioning this quest for homogenization of the EU political and economic spaces, he asserted that the solution for avoiding such catastrophes was to ensure that no similar treatment would ever be granted in the future.

There remain many defenders of EU institutions, which are seen as guardians of “continental stability.” It is also argued that the EU is a powerful tool that constitutes a system of balances to protect individual rights against encroachment by member states. For the proponents of minimum governance, it would be preferable to decrease the government power at the national level rather than adding a layer of institutions acting at the continental level. The EU might look like a protective entity, but centralized structures are never politically neutral and are not exempt from regulatory overreach or abuses of power. Over time they tend to distance themselves from the viewpoint of the citizens. Technocrats working from within become convinced that they know better and that this justifies intrusions and interference in the business of others.

Although Brexit now appears to be a done deal, the EU bureaucracy may find ways to punish the UK for its independence. Moreover, the EU may use the Brexit experience as a reason to further limit the freedom of member states so as to avoid any future exit by other member states. This represents a sort of bait-and-switch for member states that were sold on membership as an opportunity to join a free trade bloc and a chance to participate in a more cooperative Europe. The reality today is something much different.

 

 

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The Things You CANNOT Say About Coronavirus

Posted by M. C. on April 6, 2020

This is a very bad situation but…

don’t take any statistics at face value. It will take months or maybe years before anything close to accuracy is available.

Consider that Italy is bankrupt and the EU periodically threatens to shut off the euros if Italy doesn’t do as is told.

The more casualties the more the euros and free stuff will flow.

Sad to say, there is money to be made…and not just in Italy.

and…if you don’t know many caught C and didn’t go to the doctor because of mild or no symptoms, you DO NOT KNOW rates.

https://off-guardian.org/2020/04/03/the-things-you-cannot-say-about-coronavirus/

James Corbett

…But there’s some problems with those numbers. As Prof Walter Ricciardi—scientific adviser to Italy’s minister of health—recently revealed, “The way in which we code deaths in our country is very generous in the sense that all the people who die in hospitals with the coronavirus are deemed to be dying of the coronavirus.”

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