Rudd Wants to Turn Australia Into Sweden

A letter from the Wall Street Journal (Asia Edition) on 19 May highlights the risks associated with Rudd's Resources Super-Profit Tax.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's idea of a "super-profits" tax on the mining industry ("What Is a 'Super Profit'?" Review & Outlook, May 10) is a typical stunt he learned when he was a diplomat in Stockholm.

Since 1983, different Swedish governments have put a super-profits tax on hydropower. Before that, it was a cheap and reliable source of electricity for Swedish pulp, paper, steel and mining companies. Much of Swedish hydropower was built over decades by Swedish industrialists to secure energy supply for their manufacturing industry. But after the tax was introduced and raised almost annually, Swedish companies started to sell their heavily taxed hydro-power stations to other investors.

Today most of the formally private-owned hydropower is owned by foreign state-owned power companies as Fortum (Finland) and Statkraft (Norway) and the privately held Eon (Germany). Electricity prices in Sweden are now as high as in Germany.

The same thing happened when Britain's Labour Party introduced a windfall profit tax on utilities. The tax depressed profits and led to an exodus of British institutional investors from the sector. It was then easy for continental corporations like RWE and Eon (Germany), EDF (France) and Inberdrola (Spain) to buy them cheaply. Today almost all the British power companies are owned by foreigners, and the government has to make all kinds of tax concessions and subsidies to get them to invest in new plants in Britain.

For Australia, a super-profits tax on mining would make stocks in the mining companies cheaper as many private investors would sell out because perceived political risk. State-owned Chinese and Indian corporations will then have a great opportunity to acquire a substantial part of Australia's mining industry. In the long term, these countries will then have more clout in dealing with the Australian government than private investors.

Stefan Björklund

Vevey, Switzerland

Original article courtesy of the Wall Street Journal

Mining super-tax


John_humphreysJohn Humphreys highlights four key issues to be considered when discussing Rudd's new mining super-tax.

There has been a lot of ink spilt about Labor’s proposed mining super-tax. Much of the debate has been the typical name calling, emotional appeals to the vibe, or citing of authority… which means many people are none the wiser. I suggest there are four issues at play here, and it is necessary to consider them independently.

1. How should resources be paid for?

The government claims ownership of Australia’s underground resources. This is sometimes incorrectly reported as “the people” owning the resources, but of course you and I have no right to sell or control those assets, so that is a meaningless semantic trick. Unless you’re an unreconstructed communist, “the government” is not the same thing as “the people”. But putting that word game aside, the government claims ownership, and therefore they want compensation for the use of those resources.

One of the questions raised by the Henry review is about how the government should be compensated for the use of those resources — a fixed sum (royalty), percentage of revenue (revenue tax), or percentage of profits (profits tax). I have no strong view on this, but there seems to be a general preference for us to switch to a profits tax. (This was the main point of the “economists letter”.)

2. The level of the tax

The second issue is the one that has received the most attention. The government isn’t simply switching the system, but they are significantly increasing the size of the tax. The government expects to get about $9 billion per year from their super-tax, which will be offset by a company tax cut of only $2 billion per year.

This tax is being justified on the grounds of “fairness” where mining companies are not paying their “fair share”. But if this were merely a discussion of shifting the tax burden, then where are the rest of our tax cuts? The government has done well to shift the grounds of this debate, but the real question here is whether Australia should be increasing the size of government or not. Personally, I don’t think the government is spending our money well enough to justify a bigger budget.

Different taxes will hurt people in different ways, but no tax is “cost-free”. With the mining super-tax, the main costs will be lower wages and employment in the mining sector, as well as lower returns for investors (including everybody with a superannuation account). More broadly, the tax increase risks shifting resources into less efficient areas of the economy, leading to lower productivity.

3. Retrospective legislation

The government will change policy from time to time, but the rule of law requires that people are able to act with a reasonable degree of certainty, knowing how the government will respond. The proposed mining super-tax is not just for future projects, but will also apply to existing projects.

The consequences go beyond the impact on current projects… but also increase the “political risk premium” where businesses must be worried about the potential for government changing the rules mid-game. While the change in the political risk premium will be quite small, even small changes can have a very signficant impact on investment and future economic growth. (Malcolm Turnbull made the same point in his analysis.)

4. Undermining federalism

This issue has received far less coverage, but for me it is one of the most important issues with the proposed mining super-tax. Resources have traditionally been claimed by State governments, who have consequently arranged for payment at the State level. With the current policy, the central government is effectively going to centralise control of resources policy, further undermining the Australian federation. This is will be particularly unfair for the mining states, such as Queensland and Western Australia, which will see more of their wealth transferred to the bureaucracy in Canberra. If there is need for reform of resources tax, then this advice should be passed on to State governments, and they should be allowed to set a policy that best matches their particular preferences.

John Humphreys is an editor of Menzies House and the President of the Human Capital Project (a non-profit operating in Cambodia). His personal blog can be found at http://johnhumphreys.wordpress.com/

In sinking the people smugglers, Abbott is back on song

Terry-Barnes Terry Barnes thinks that Tony Abbott is back on the track to success with his recently announced asylum seeker policy.

Conservative politics is all about standing up for what works.  That’s exactly what Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison have done with their decisive response to the insidious and evil people-smuggling trade.

By reverting to the successful anti-people smuggling measures of the Howard years Mr Abbott and Mr Morrison are reverting unashamedly to what works.  The flood of boats that threatened to swamp us before 2001 was staunched only by decisive action by John Howard and Philip Ruddock.  Offshore processing, removing incentives to manipulate appeals to avoid or overturn final decisions, Temporary Protection Visas and tough direct action against those evil men who trade in the misery of others send a very clear message: Australia is no soft touch, no open door you can just ram your shonky way through to the cheers of the trendy inner-city latte sippers – many of whom treat refugees as curiosities to patronise in the same way that two centuries ago European salon society treated indigenous Australians.
 

What’s more, the Abbott policy improves on the Howard original by allowing reasonable flexibility in the actual length of TPVs to remain sensitive and compassionate in relation to conditions in the asylum-seekers’ home countries, and by imposing mutual obligation on asylum-seekers in return for welfare.  We do it for Australian residents seeking unemployment and other benefits: it’s fair and right to expect those wanting acceptance to our society to do the same.
 
Each new boat arrival, as well as the Oceanic Viking fiasco that fast-tracked through our system the unfortunate clients of the people-smugglers whom she rescued, shows that the Rudd Government has got it woefully and tragically wrong.  Each flimsy boat that struggles to stay afloat on the high seas, each person whose life is tragically threatened or lost from trying to reach our shores in those leaky sieves (or is that SIEVs?), is an avoidable black mark on our government and the misguided good intentions of the intellectual Left. 
 
There will always be some people uneasy with hard but humane policy decisions of this nature, within the Liberal Party as much as without.  Those who were expected to oppose it did come out and do so, and agree with them or not their views should be respected as being legitimately and sincerely-held on a pew in the Liberal broad church.  Indeed their concerns should ensure that the policy, as it’s applied by the next Coalition government, will always give humane regard to the unfortunate victims of the people-smugglers’ evil trade.  But it’s also clear that Mr Abbott, Mr Morrison and the shadow Cabinet respect the wish of middle Australia that, while our country should welcome and embrace our immigrants from wherever they come, queues are not for jumping.
 
For Coalition supporters, it was also pleasing to see Mr Abbott back on song, clearly having learned from the avoidable political reverses of the previous week.  He was confident, strong, decisive and self-assured.  He was not only looking and sounding like a leader but he was acting like one.  Like it or not, Mr Rudd, you’re up against a bloke who stands for something. What do you stand for, Prime Minister?

Terry Barnes is an editor of Menzies House.

A very cruddy fable – Digging yourself a hole is not mining (part 17)

David-Russell

David Russell presents part 17 of A very cruddy fable.

The Emperor of the First Rudd Imperium has spent a lachrymose week in a vain search for any suggestion that he would receive a hero’s welcome should he propose to stay on and lead Labor to further victories. Indeed, the Emperor might well have cried himself a river of tears as speculation ratcheted-up noticeably on who would present the best alternative should anything untoward befall the Great Leader. The PM’s office was initially mystified by a veritable flood of valid bus tickets that came through the mail urging the Emperor to see the sights. When the lights finally came on an additional limousine was ordered to ensure there could be no chance encounters with a bus.
Solace was not to be found anywhere as seemingly the only person in the land willing to deny that the Emperor’s position was in jeopardy was the purported pretender to the throne herself. It’s all froth and bubble, she demurred fetchingly to the Oak Statue himself as he conducted a customarily lugubrious tete-a-tete with the new darling of the Fabian Optimists’ Club. My every dream is being realised as Deputy Prime Minister, she demurs, with such solemn sincerity that herald angels can be heard lullabying in her presence.

The other two heirs apparent – the Duck with an Abacus and Lendus a Tenner – appear less than enamored of Hot and Sweaty’s current pop star ratings. Unwilling to be seen as churlish (or, worse in the hothouse of politics, as possibly insecure in their own self-belief), they have selflessly not availed themselves of the chance to stick it to her. Well, not in anything said publicly though it’s not hard to imagine dark mutterings, with occasional ferocious outbursts, happening behind the scenes. Abacus Man must be spitting chips that his glorious moment in the sun has been all but forgotten as the Budget sputtered to a dull fate as this week’s fish and chip wrappings. All those months of laborious checking and rechecking the figures to see they all added up right delivered him no bounce at all in the Next PM Stakes.

Worse was the petulant reaction of those filthy capitalist pigs, the miners. Abacus had simply asked them to buy the next round for everyone and, while they had their hands in their pockets, to keep doing so till closing time and, just for good measure, to purchase the pub and, to round-out a great celebration, to implement an enforced takeover of the breweries as well so they could supply free drinks forever. To Abacus this is simply vertical integration. Not quite nationalism, just for the national benefit, you understand. The miners, who could feel their wallets being filched, reacted by throwing a flurry of haymakers. In the ensuing melee, quite a few made a connection. Abacus, the Emperor and their mate King Henry suddenly wondered why they had fancied a drink after all but their moral imperatives came to the fore once again and they tried to quell the fracas by shouting: “It’s for the good of the people”. The crowd that had gathered outside, however, was not quite so sure. They had been bought quite a few drinks by the miners previously and happened to think their occasional free shindigs were always pretty good value. Indicative of most crowd mentalities the onlookers continued to wait till one side or the other gained the upper hand and then they would throw all their support behind the one on top. The scramble for supremacy promises plenty more entertainment yet.

A minor distraction through the week got everyone playing: Who was that? This was the general response of anyone under 30 when asked what they thought about Malcolm Fraser resigning from the Liberal Party. Hardly any could name Fraser as a former Prime Minister though some, when shown photo images, asked if he had ever held a senior post on Easter Island. There was some muttering in retirement villages around the country as those not stricken with dementia demurred that The Statue’s best days were well behind him and that Tammy was the best thing about his prime ministership anyway. Ever since his fabulous Memphis holiday in which he had substantial apparel difficulties The Statue has developed a severe tilt to the left and has been in danger of being more at home in LathamLand than anything remotely like the Liberal Party of today. Our Kevvie’s latter day pole-dancing exploits in the US were but a pale imitation of The Statue having lost his trousers in a hotel in still unexplained circumstances. Nor could this rather essential piece of garb be easily misplaced since they contained enough material to provide a spinnaker for an America’s Cup yacht. So, vale Malcolm. No flowers by request.

And, in late-breaking news, it has been announced that Kevin Michael Rudd (occasionally known to some of his better pals as Our Kevvie) will be the key focus of the forthcoming federal election campaign. This startling revelation came to us from one Kyle Bitter who pulls strings behind the scenes for the Fabian Optimists Club. More astounding still was his statement that Our Kevvie is the Fabians’ greatest asset. Startled hacks and flacks could discern no sarcasm in Bitter’s mien and, so, played it straight in their reports. There was one small resort to reality, though, and it came in the admission that the Emperor’s Praetorian Guard will be arraigned around him during the campaign, the better to help thwart all the slings and arrows sure to come his way. It was portrayed as enabling the Fabians to better get their message out but all the Emperor could hear was that their voices would drown out his own. He kept his own counsel on the proposal but his lips were drawn tight.

The Lollipops and the Naughties, however, know a sting when they hear it and they, too, quickly announced that, yes, Kevin Michael Rudd will also be the centrepiece of their campaigning efforts. What Monsignor Antony thought of this is yet to seep out. He will probably have a confessional with the Gallery tarts and make a clean breast of his sincerely-held belief that he had, in all modesty, begun to believe he should be rather prominent in the quest to persuade Australians that socialism is a spent force and that liberalism is the great hope for all humankind. No wonder so many idealists and just plain folk keep searching for a Third Way that will simply deliver sound and decent governance. There is a greater threat than Work Choices, it is Poor Choices.

Nasty growth removed

260510Zeg
Well, finally something to celebrate this week. Malcolm Fraser has left the Liberal Party of Australia and all I can say is…"when was he a true member anyway?" 

Clearly this terrible politician and failed former Australian Prime Minister was so far to the left that he could have founded the current Greens Party or at least joined the Australian Labor Party to be amongst other leftist softies, with no compromise to his ideology. Malcolm Fraser held no regard for Menzies' conservative values and vision for the Liberal Party. In fact, I am sure that the actual reason Malcolm Fraser joined the Liberal Party was because he thought it started with a small ‘l’. 

During his term, 1975 to 1983, this man did NOTHING of value for the country. In fact, it is widely recognised that he probably did more damage and wasted more opportunity for economic growth than his predecessor Gough Whitlam. What this snivelling bleeding heart did was to throw open our borders all and sundry and embrace such people as the despot Robert Mugabe, murderer Pol Pot and even Mao Tse-Tung, a communist Chinese leader who is credited for being directly responsible for the deaths of 20 million people…but I am sure Malcolm would just call me a racist and tell me that I should always try to see the good in people.

I actually know of die hard conservative voters who voted in Fraser's successor, Robert Hawke, rather than vote for this leftist stooge again. So, to the crying, pants losing (and we never found out just what that was about, did we?) Fraser: goodbye, good riddance and thanks for nothing!

Zeg is an editorial cartoonist and caricaturist. His blog is at http://zegsyd.blogspot.com/

A recipe for success

Mark Fish gives his advice as to how the Liberals can win government and create a better Australia.

Well the ups and downs of politics hit the Liberals again.

The good news is that the Liberals still have a solid chance but they must understand the mood of the swinging voters. Most suburbanites are sick of Rudd and his endless nonsense. The Liberals need to take the initiative early so as to shut the knockers up.
  
Most voters are stressed and have the desperate desire to have a Government that can make life less stressful. Of course we had Mike Rann (South Australian Premier) talking about cutting red tape and that was sheer nonsense. Wherever we turn now State and Federal arenas are causing ordinary Australians stress. 

It seems to be in every walk of life, taxation, family allowance payments, child support, motor vehicle registrations, hospital waiting lists, endless training programs for all categories of beneficiaries, uncertainties about pensions and fear of having their super evaporate in another crash. 
 
Yes the average voter is not positive these days. Gone are the carefree days of the 70's and 80's. Much of the freedoms we knew then have all disappeared in a morass of regulation, compliance, bank fees, mindless telco's and what I term social engineering. We seem to have designed systems to capture the 5% ratbags and inadvertently made the lives of the other 95% bloody miserable. Its not that people don't have money, its just that more of us are working longer, seeing our relationships under stress and generally wondering why we are still having a tough time in the lucky country.
 
I want the Liberals to win the next election by a big margin. I want them to be very different to the Laborites in policy and commitment to ordinary Australians. 
 
I want the Liberals to introduce a new type of Government that makes life less stressful by reforming key areas of Government, simplifying the systems that we all work under, reform the public service and regulate where necessary to protect ordinary people from excess. I believe that most voters are waiting for a new government that offers a better deal on all fronts. 
 
The laborite crowd have made so many mistakes they are as bad as Whitlam's mob. They deserve to be punished heavily but right now they may get back again. So we must have a stronger plan that is part populist and part economically responsible.
 
Of course we must attack the Laborite excesses and mismanagement especially the mining debacle and its impact. But that will simply sound like the expected negativity voters expect an opposition to be immersed in.
 
I think the Liberals will win handsomely if they put out messages such as the following:
 
Tell voters that a Liberal Government will reform the systems of government to make ordinary Australian lives less stressful. Promise to simplify the tax system so that ordinary Australians have an incentive to work harder and gain real benefits if they save, have children and want to work.
 
Promise to simplify the family support systems. This will result in a three level payment system based on actual income.  They need to say that they will reform the child support agency and simplify the entire system to ensure that there is no disadvantage for children and parents caught up in failed marriages. (That alone will deliver 500,000+ votes from severely disaffected fathers being treated as virtual criminals by the CSA).
 
Promise to strengthen the pension system to allow our retirees to earn more without penalty and have a secure life. Remove annual Centrelink re-assessments for pensioners aged over 75.
 
Promise to cut red tape and reform the legislation that so often works against individuals and businesses. This will remove many costly and arduous systems that confuse ordinary Australians.
 
Do not be afraid to regulate where ordinary Australians are unable to protect themselves from corporate excesses especially with the telco's. 
   
On the economic front promise to rebuild the surplus that Rudd squandered, put Australia back into the black and remove the massive debt that Rudd has handed us all by his silly and expensive schemes. A key part of this plan will be the reform of the public service and the plethora of regulations that beset ordinary Australians. Create a streamlined Government that works for ordinary Australians. Have a clear infrastructure plan to build the capacity of our economy and create jobs and security for all our lives. Create the economic conditions that reduce real interest rates and make housing more affordable. 
 
Housing is a priority as housing waiting lists grow in every State. Labor has abandoned the poor and the homeless. By creating a strong economy the Liberals can deliver on public housing and put an end to the nonsense of the Labor Government that is filled with cheap talk and wasteful schemes. Offer to work with all State Governments to deliver affordable housing for the homeless and ensure that public housing targets are met to reduce the long waiting lists there are at present.
 
On hospitals, ensure that the focus is on adequate levels of funding and systems that focus on care and not the systems that remove professionals from patients. Unlike the Rudd Governement's smoke and mirrors national hospital system, ensure more funding will be directed to actual patient care in a new and streamlined management system model that does not compromise on quality.
 
It’s also time to reform the entire skills system by providing greater industry ownership of the skills agenda. This will result in the reform of the current competency based system to align with industry needs.
 
Develop a more responsive migration system that is driven by actual skills shortages. They must shut down the illegal migration systems and make sure that migration meets a sustainable population level.
 
Offer to provide more direct support for industry through manageable taxation systems that maximise productivity and create jobs. This will build a strong and diverse industry sector that can compete globally.
 
It’s about time that we ensured that imported food meets stringent safety and residue requirements in line with EU standards. We will not tolerate importation of food that can harm Australian families. 
 
Promise to decentralise many of our cities before they become dysfunctional. This will entail support for regional towns and cities and the creation of a national network of regional centres that sustain viable rural food producing industries. New city developments designed around 21st Century ecologically sustainable principles should be planned and developed for our expanded population.
 
Water will be a key priority with improved storage and re-use in all urban centres. River Murray flows are critical to the welfare of a number of States and the Liberals need to ensure they maintain natural water flows whilst using water in an efficient manner for our cities and farms. 
 
They should also move towards a cleaner society where incentives are tied to clean production sytems and clear national agreements to reduce harmful emissions. 
 
The Liberals must also ensure that Australia does not abandon its youth. By establishing a National Youth Corps to provide training and work programs that build practical and employability skills, they will provide real work opportunities that benefit communities and offer hope for the thousands of young people who are caught in long term unemployment.
 
A Liberal Government will give back hope to the people, not create despair as Mr Rudd has done.

Mark is an independent consultant from South Australia.

Why illegal drugs should be legalized


Sukrit-Sabhlok
The war on drugs is an enemy of civil liberties, writes Sukrit Sabhlok.

John Stuart Mill’s classic work, On Liberty, examines “the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual” and concludes: “The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.”
 
In a democracy, however, the tyranny of the majority often tramples individual freedoms. If 51% of the people agree on a proposed measure that is oppressive towards some minority, in the absence of any constitutional limitation, that measure will become the law of the land.
 

And so it is with the ‘War on Drugs’. If we leave aside the legal drugs, only a minority of people are attracted to mind-altering substances. Of those aged 14 and over, 39.1% have tried marijuana, 8.8% have tried amphetamines, 4.3% have tried cocaine and 2.2% have tried heroin. These figures, from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, help explain why prohibition persists: there are few votes in advocating rights for “unfashionable” minorities. Although 46.4% of Australians have tried an illicit drug at some point in their life, there seems to be an element of cognitive dissonance among drug users, with many supporting a policy of prohibition. 
 
The War on Drugs should be opposed on two grounds. 
 
First, the statutes enforcing prohibition violate several principles that guide our criminal law; for instance, that there must be a victim, and that the accused are innocent until proven guilty. 
 
Second, to the best of my knowledge, prohibition has not succeeded in any nation which it has been tried. In Australia, in spite of a total sum of $13 billion being spent between 1976 and 2000, studies continue to show that drugs are easily available, increasing in purity and the number of overdose deaths has increased, not decreased.
 
If the drug warriors think that jail time is enough to “win” the War on Drugs, they need to think twice. Capital punishment for mere possession is probably the only way to significantly reduce drug usage. But even Singapore, which uses capital punishment to deter drug offences, has failed to end either the supply or demand of drugs. In any case, is a society where people are put to death for using drugs the kind of society we want to live in?
 
The misnamed ‘War on Drugs’ is in reality a war on our families. It is nonsensical to speak of waging a war against marijuana or heroin when it is the users of these drugs that are marginalised by political leaders and humiliated by police violating their civil liberties.
 
For those who value the rule of law and limited government, the War on Drugs is an enemy of civil liberties. Police and courts are empowered to reverse the burden of proof, so the accused are no longer innocent until proven guilty. In addition, drug prohibition diverts scarce economic resources away from taxpayers. It is time we tried something different.
 
Sukrit is an Arts/Law student at the University of Melbourne and a director of Liberty Australia.

What has happened to the moderates?

Chris-Doig People like to know clearly where a politician stands ideologically, writes Chris Doig.
 

They go by many names: moderates, wets, the liberal left, swathes of the media erroneously call them liberals (as opposed to conservatives) and so on. Where are they now?

We have seen that moderates without a consistent message or underlying intellectual theme have not had a great deal of success in recent times. Malcolm Turnbull, who seemed to spend most of his time arguing over the official size of a small business and the inclusion of agricultural emissions in the ETS, was replaced by the loud, great-big-new-tax-opposing Tony Abbott. David Cameron, the man behind the Green Investment Bank and financial taxes, only scraped through the UK elections despite his monumental lead over Brown a year earlier. Moderate Republicans are facing increasing pressure from the Tea Party movement. And regardless of what you think of Ron Paul, there is no doubt that he has energised a great number of people.
 

Despite the common slurs of 'ideologue' and 'dogmatist', we like knowing where a politician stands. Rudd had the courage to outline his stance in 2008 with his (in)famous Monthly essay. And with the remarkable exception of his paid maternity leave scheme, it seems that Abbott is opposed to tax and big government.

But the most telling tale is of the slick operator that is Joe Hockey. Hockey is a man who saw the signs that the man who stands for something commands respect. In the past he has been labelled as a moderate, who shape-shifts with public opinion. Yet over the last six months or so, he has positioned himself as a champion of freedom. His recent speeches, supporting individual liberty, free speech and the free market, have shown a transformation from a day-to-day politician to a man with a long-term vision. While it is difficult to know how much of it he actually believes, and if he would seek to implement it consistently in policy, it shows that he no longer fears a shift to a more grounded image.

For too long, the Right have been afraid of championing the defenders of freedom throughout history. It is all too often that we hear 'I like freedom but that Thatcher lady was crazy!', not to mention that the name of Milton Friedman seems to be taboo in political debate. Yet in his In Defense of Liberty speech, Hockey referenced Mill and Locke. Sure, they don't bear the same anti-libertarian stigma as do Hayek and Friedman, but at least it demonstrates a philosophical grounding in liberty.
 
So amidst this apparent shift in opinion, where does that leave moderates? At the end of the day, they have no terra firma on which to stand. The truth is that I don't know what will happen next. But it is important to recognise that things are changing, and that it is now even more important that intellectual debate and discussion are heard by the political class.
 
Chris Doig is a student at Melbourne University with a keen interest in politics and economics.

Best Of The Web

Tim-AndrewsTim Andrews apologies for not doing a Best Of The Web for over two weeks, and, to make up for it, has prepared this great list of links:

The First Lady of France, in a prior life, engaged in some rather… unusual… activities

Apple makes its employees promise not to kill themselves

16 items they only sell in Chinese Wal-Marts

A British chocolate maker is issuing bonds… in chocolate

Stalin blocked two attempts to kill Hitler

Courts have begun to order alcohol monitoring bracelets 

Nanny-state communists in the UK want alcohol  to come with graphic warning labels

A restaurant only serves food from countries the U.S. is in conflict with

A gambling website offers odds on the first species to become extinct as a result of the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill

What to do if you've just committed murder

Augmented Reality Warfare

The link between creativity and poor mental health

Alphabet evolution

What's the latest absurd claim to be made by the anti-tobacco nanny-state Nazi's?

A very cool map by Paramount's of "California’s geographical facsimiles”—that is, places that can stand in for other places

Underage kids used as government agents to buy alcohol have ended up… getting drunk

Yet more positive effects of drinking

Castles for sale

Is Catholicism anti-Libertarian?

A prominent think-tank is pitting chips against climate scientists 

A visual study to cognitive biases 

Lying children will grow up to be more successful adults 

And finally, bureaucrats want the U.S. government to mandate the redesign of hot dogs