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Westlake Legal Group > New Zealand

3 Countries Cut Rates as World Braces for More Trade War Turbulence

Central banks in India, Thailand and New Zealand on Wednesday moved to shore up their economies amid fears that global growth will become the biggest casualty in the spiraling trade war between the United States and China.

Monetary authorities in all three countries cut interest rates in a series of unexpected moves that shook currency markets just two days after China allowed the renminbi to weaken, a move that prompted President Trump to label Beijing a currency manipulator.

China’s currency has steadied in the days since it crossed a critical threshold on Monday, but the world’s markets are still uneasy. On Wednesday, stocks on Wall Street tumbled at the open, losing more than 1.5 percent. The rate cuts signaled that more countries are bracing for tougher weeks and months ahead.

“This is a defensive action by countries seeking to protect themselves from the collateral damage of rising global trade tensions, amid weakening domestic growth,” said Eswar Prasad, former head of the International Monetary Fund’s China division.

In Wednesday’s action:

  • The Reserve Bank of India cut its benchmark rate by 0.35 percentage point, instead of an expected quarter-point cut. It was the bank’s fourth rate cut this year as the government battles a punishing economic slowdown.

  • New Zealand’s central bank cut its rate by half a percentage point in a move that was interpreted as a defensive effort to cushion a sluggish export-oriented economy.

  • Thailand’s central bank cut its rate by a quarter percentage point, its first rate reduction since 2015. Thailand is a big exporter to China and the United States, and a weaker Thai currency will help to keep it competitive amid a weaker Chinese currency.

The moves come at a time when the global economy is at a crossroads: Last year every major economy finally appeared to be growing in unison, a decade after they were ravaged in a global financial crisis. That growth is now increasingly threatened by a bruising trade war between the world’s two biggest economies.

China’s currency move in particular could have a profound impact on global finances. If Beijing continues to allow its currency to weaken against the American dollar, more countries could feel forced to respond, leading to a damaging currency war that could revive inflation and even further fray the bonds of global trade.

Investors’ worries that Australia’s central bank may be next to act sent the Australian dollar sliding to its lowest level against the American dollar in a decade.

“These moves signal the possibility of the trade wars morphing into a broad currency war that involves not just the main participants in the trade disputes but also countries that are on the sidelines but exposed to the fallout,” said Mr. Prasad.

The rate reductions in India and New Zealand were larger than expected, and Thailand’s cut surprised many economists. Caught off guard, investors sold the currencies of all three countries, weakening their value against the American dollar.

Trade War Worry Hits Stocks, as Central Banks Cut Rates

Aug 7, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 07Markets-2-threeByTwoSmallAt2X 3 Countries Cut Rates as World Braces for More Trade War Turbulence Thailand Reserve Bank of India Renminbi (Currency) People's Bank of China New Zealand International Trade and World Market Interest Rates India Economic Conditions and Trends China Banking and Financial Institutions
A Weak Dollar Could Help the U.S. Getting One Isn’t So Easy.

Aug 6, 2019

Westlake Legal Group 06dollar-threeByTwoSmallAt2X 3 Countries Cut Rates as World Braces for More Trade War Turbulence Thailand Reserve Bank of India Renminbi (Currency) People's Bank of China New Zealand International Trade and World Market Interest Rates India Economic Conditions and Trends China Banking and Financial Institutions

Last week, the Federal Reserve in the United States cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time in a decade in a precautionary move that may have also helped prompt central banks around the world to consider rate cuts.

Other central banks may be watching to make their own moves, especially if the trade war looks set to drag out for many more months. Last week, only days after American and Chinese negotiators met in Shanghai for fresh talks and agreed to meet again in September, Mr. Trump threatened an additional 10 percent of tariffs on some $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The People’s Bank of China took steps on Monday to limit the impact of the next round of tariffs by allowing its normally tightly managed currency to weaken past a psychologically important level of 7 renminbi to the American dollar for the first time in a decade. The move makes Chinese goods less expensive in the United States, partly offsetting the tariffs.

Chinese officials said the move was a response to the market pressuring the value of the currency and blamed Mr. Trump’s “unilateralism and trade protectionism measures and the imposition of increased tariffs on China.”

This kind of language could become more common, some economists said. They also said Mr. Trump’s latest move against China could dent growth in the United States.

“These new tariffs raise recession risks for the U.S. sometime next year due to increased uncertainty, an unwillingness to invest in such an environment and ultimately an unwillingness to hire,” said Steve Cochrane, chief Asia Pacific economist at Moody’s Analytics. “International trade will slow further and is at risk of an outright decline.”

“It is a new world,” he said.

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Chloe Westley: Pursuing happiness doesn’t guarantee finding it

Chloe Westley is the Campaign Manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

How would you measure happiness? Epicurus would say you can measure happiness by the absence of pain. Aristotle would argue that happiness was more to do with flourishing as a human being should, by pursuing virtues and obtaining a good character. Other philosophers, such as Kant, argue that happiness is not necessarily something worth chasing at all, as we’re not really capable of knowing what will or won’t make us happy. For me, happiness is time spent with children, dogs, and people that I love. Maybe that’s your definition of happiness too.

But it’s difficult to find a full proof definition of what happiness consists of, or how we should measure it. I’ve been pondering this question since I heard that New Zealand will now be adopting a ‘well-being’ budget that will measure progress based on the happiness of citizens as opposed to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Jacinda Ardern has pledged to make New Zealand a country where ‘“success is measured not only by the nation’s GDP but by better lives lived by its people.”

Well, yes, obviously. Nobody disagrees that the whole point of policy making – and indeed of politics – is to try and make people happy. (We’d be in serious trouble if monetary policy was driven by a desire to make things worse for people.) The prosperity of a population is always the consideration for policy makers. Labelling this a ‘well-being budget’ strikes me as simply a marketing gimmick to distract from the fact that, in New Zealand, Labour have failed on all of their major policy planks, and have ironically abandoned the previous Government’s social investment scheme, which was aimed at improving well being.

But the progressive world rejoiced, and hailed this as a step in the right direction. Many on the Left view economic growth as an overrated metric which distracts from the real problems that people face. The Prime Minister’s statement implies that there isn’t a connection between well being and economic prosperity, and that by focusing on economic growth instead of well being, people in New Zealand were suffering.

But far from making people miserable, economic growth is what lifts a country out of poverty and improves living standards. And whilst we do find it nearly impossible to find a universal definition of happiness, having your basic needs met as a human being is surely a prerequisite. I struggle to conceive of being as happy or fulfilled living in the Soviet Union and seeing family starve due to food shortages, or having to queue for hours to receive basic necessities in socialist Venezuela.

Whilst it’s true that ‘money can’t buy happiness’, it’s also the case that capitalism has radically improved our living standards and well being. In authoritarian countries in which the state has a monopoly on industry, progress comes to a halt. But when individuals are able to compete with each other for business, products and services are radically improved, as the greatest minds collaborate to invent even better ways of doing things.

Advancements driven by capitalism in healthcare and medicine have resulted in huge increases to life expectancy around the world. In the last 80 years, life expectancy has doubled in the United Kingdom, and child mortality rates are falling globally (sadly, Venezuela is an exception to this trend).

In less economically developed countries, child labour is more common, but in countries such as the UK, which have embraced capitalism, children are spending more time in education. If you’re looking for more evidence of how free markets and capitalism have improved our way of life, this article by my colleague Ben Ramanauskas goes into great detail.

Of course living longer is not necessarily an indicator of happiness. But if, like me, the thing that makes you happiest in this world is spending time with the people (and dogs!) you love, then living in a country with an advanced economy with longer life expectancy and better healthcare is of paramount importance, as well as the amount of leisure time you have available.

Technology has been both a blessing and a curse in that respect. Whilst automation has enabled us to spend less time on manual tasks, smart phones and email correspondence means that many of us are working more in our free time. I’d be interested to read a more detailed report on working habits as a result of recent technology. But looking at the general trends over the last 100 years, its estimated that the hours worked over the course of a lifetime in Britain have declined by an average of 41 per cent since 1856. Whilst this may differ across various professions, this means the average Brit has more time to spend with friends, family, and exploring non-work related interests.

It’s important to note that economic growth alone cannot provide the conditions for a flourishing society and happy population. For example, the rule of law, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and a respect for the rights of the individual have all contributed to the huge improvements to living standards in the Western world. But the reason we are living in relative paradise compared to other countries and to previous generations is because capitalism and trade have super-charged human progress and technology.

Whilst the Government is not solely responsible for your happiness, there is a role for policy makers to allow for the conditions which will best enable you to pursue your own happiness. If those who govern declare that economic growth is no longer a priority, and adopt an anti-growth, anti-business and interventionist agenda in the name of ‘promoting well-being’, then they may find they achieve the exact opposite of what they set out to do.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

New Zealand Seeks Global Support for Tougher Measures on Online Violence

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand will attempt this week to use the terrorist attack that killed 51 Muslim worshipers in Christchurch mosques in March to demand that the biggest internet platforms do more to stamp out violent and extremist content.

Ms. Ardern will be in France with President Emmanuel Macron to sign an agreement they crafted called the “Christchurch Call” that asks the social media giants to examine the software that directs people to violent content, and to share more data with government authorities and each other to help eradicate toxic online material, according to officials from New Zealand and France involved in drafting the proposal.

The accused gunman’s use of social media to live stream his rampage in New Zealand and to share a hate-filled manifesto crystallized the vulnerability of internet platforms to extremist and violent views.

Ms. Ardern’s effort adds momentum to a global push to curb the power of the world’s largest internet platforms.

But even as policymakers agree that something needs to be done, there’s little consensus on what to do. From London to New Delhi, governments are drafting laws with differing approaches to regulating the internet, raising concerns in some quarters that the rules may, in some cases, go too far and hinder free expression.

Ms. Ardern has argued that a coordinated global approach is needed. The signing of the Christchurch Call was organized around a meeting of digital ministers from the Group of 7 nations this week in Paris.

Representatives from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter are among those scheduled to attend the summit on Wednesday hosted by Mr. Macron and Ms. Ardern. Facebook said it would sign the pledge. Google, Microsoft and Twitter declined to comment on their position.

A number of nations are expected to sign on to the nonbinding pledge, including Britain, Canada, Jordan, Senegal, Indonesia, Norway and Ireland, according to officials involved in drafting the accord. The United States, which has been reticent to regulate the internet out of concerns it will harm free speech, is not among the expected signers. Nor is Australia.

The pledge does not contain enforcement or regulatory measures. It will be up to each country and company to decide how to carry out the commitments, according to two senior New Zealand officials involved in the drafting, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the exact wording of the pledge was still being finalized.

Social media companies will be left with the thorny task of deciding what constitutes violent extremist content, since it is not defined in the accord.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_152295636_a8b5e07c-4700-47ad-a3cb-3bd37a405b9a-articleLarge New Zealand Seeks Global Support for Tougher Measures on Online Violence Social Media New Zealand jacinda ardern France facebook Emmanuel Macron Christchurch shootings

A makeshift memorial near Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, where an Australian man is accused of killing dozens of Muslim worshipers in March.CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

“We share the commitment of world leaders to curb the spread of terrorism and extremism online,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs, said in a statement. “These are complex issues and we are committed to working with world leaders, governments, industry and safety experts at next week’s meeting and beyond on a clear framework of rules to help keep people safe from harm.”

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive officer, was in France last week to meet with Mr. Macron to discuss internet regulation. France has proposed laws that would appoint a new government regulator to oversee internet platforms and punish companies for hosting hate speech and violent content.

Ms. Ardern has been attempting to build a global consensus on reining in violence and extremism social media since the March 15 attacks, in which the Australian man accused of the shooting — who faces dozens of murder and attempted murder charges — broadcast part of the massacre live on Facebook.

Earlier this month, she said she wanted action that went beyond “takedown policies that are enforced through government regulation.”

“So much of what we’re trying to do is about preventing these platforms being used in that way at all,” Ms. Ardern said.

While the pledge isn’t enforceable, Ms. Ardern and Mr. Macron hope an accord tied to the Christchurch massacre will prod the internet companies into action. If improvements aren’t made, the officials said, tougher mandatory regulations loom.

The pledge asks for several commitments from technology companies, including robust enforcement of their terms of service, reducing the risks of live streaming and sharing research about the software that flags objectionable content. Versions of the gunman’s video have remained on Facebook and Instagram since the attacks.

The social giants must also promise to re-evaluate their algorithms that direct users to extremist content, and commit to redirecting people looking for extremist material. Instagram has deployed that measure to help users searching images of self-harm.

Under the agreement, governments must promise to adopt and enforce laws that ban objectionable content — as New Zealand did in the wake of the attacks by making the possession or sharing of the gunman’s video a crime — and to set guidelines on how traditional media outlets can report terrorism without amplifying it.

New Zealand officials visited the United States for meetings at the White House and the State Department to urge the administration to join the pact. Officials also visited the headquarters of technology companies, said a senior New Zealand official who attended the meetings.

Concerns from American officials included how the pledge would affect First Amendment rights to free speech, several officials said. Ms. Ardern has said she was deliberately avoiding a broader debate about hate speech to focus the pledge narrowly on violent content.

“This isn’t about freedom of expression; this is about preventing violent extremism and terrorism online,” she said last month. “I don’t think anyone would argue that the terrorist had a right to live stream the murder of 50 people.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Lockwood Smith: Lessons from New Zealand – to be, or not to be, in a customs union?

Sir Lockwood Smith is a former New Zealand High Commissioner to the UK.

In New Zealand’s experience, the clear answer is – not to be. We are not part of a customs union anywhere in the world, and for good reason.

A country cannot benefit from a smart global trade strategy if its ability to negotiate leading edge trade agreements is hamstrung by membership of a customs union where the least progressive member can prevent progress.

New Zealand’s Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement with Australia is one of the deepest and most comprehensive trade agreements in the world, but it is NOT a customs union. That’s been an important element in the economic success of both our countries.

Earlier this century, New Zealand was the first developed country in the world to negotiate a free trade agreement with China. It’s been hugely successful. But had we been in a customs union with Australia, our FTA with China would not have been possible at that time.

Because of our ability to pursue our own global trade strategy, we now also have free trade agreements with both Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei, the only developed country in the world to have done that.

Likewise, Australia has benefited from its ability to pursue its own trade strategy. Free trade agreements with both the USA and Japan would likely have been less readily obtained had Australia been a customs union with New Zealand.

Not only do customs unions make more difficult that key component of economic success, a smart global trade strategy, but they also kill the vital economic competitive dynamic that is so powerful in the pursuit of an ever more successful trade strategy.

In New Zealand and Australia’s case, when one country achieves a breakthrough on the trade front, the other country has to smarten up its strategic trade efforts in order to remain competitive. And that’s a good thing.

But to maximise the benefits from avoiding the constraints of a customs union, New Zealand and Australia have had to be innovative in dealing with both customs issues and regulation.

While our free trade agreement with Australia saw all tariffs on goods between our two countries gone within a decade, it became clear that tariff elimination alone wasn’t enough. To get CER working effectively, behind the border regulation had to be addressed.

Australia and New Zealand did it the smart way. We accepted that both countries sought have high standards even if regulations involved in supporting them differed between us. We could see that the important thing was the outcome, not the regulation itself.

We negotiated what became known as the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement, or TTMRA. It took effect in 1998. Essentially, goods sold legally in one country could be sold in the other regardless of different standards or other sale related regulations. What’s more, someone registered to practice an occupation one country was entitled to practice an equivalent occupation in the other.

The TTMRA became the cornerstone of the free market between our two countries. It lowered business costs, lead to more competitiveness as manufacturers had to meet only one standard, gave consumers greater choice, led to greater cooperation between our regulatory authorities and last but not least, saw a greater discipline on our regulators contemplating the introduction of new standards, regulations or occupational registration requirements.

Much of the thinking behind the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement has now been carried forward into the world’s latest major free trade agreement, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – CPTPP. It beckons the UK with such opportunity post-Brexit.

CPTPP is an exciting prospect as it covers almost a third of the global economy. But it’s hard to see how a country could join CPTTP if it didn’t have control over its own regulatory practice, let alone were it to be tied into a customs union.

Mutual recognition, or an equivalence approach to regulation, should be readily agreeable between the UK and the EU. After all, both parties start from a position of common regulation. And the EU does have existing equivalence arrangements.

For example, New Zealand’s veterinary agreement with the EU, and the UK, means New Zealand’s red meat hygiene standards are recognised as being equivalent to those applying in both the UK and the EU. As a consequence, inspection procedures are minimised.

Our CER agreement with Australia has also developed almost frictionless border arrangements, despite not being a customs union. A single digital window system means that exporters can lodge customs documentation in one place and have it turned around in minutes.

The trusted trader regime also means that inspections at the border are minimised. Combined with the mutual recognition agreement on regulation, these developments mean that our countries benefit from an almost frictionless border, without the constraints of a customs union.

After the UK leaves, the EU will still remain its most important trading partner. Consequently, mutual recognition or regulatory equivalence arrangements will be vital, as will frictionless border arrangements facilitated by new digital technology.

The big prize from Brexit for the UK is the ability to pursue an independent, smart global trade strategy. It would equip the UK to participate more actively in developing and promoting the adoption of international standards that through progressive trade agreements can continue to raise both UK and global well-being.

As the fifth biggest economy, the world needs the UK to step up. While it is totally the UK’s choice to be or not to be in a customs union, “to be” would seriously undermine any “global Britain” aspirations. Don’t waste this opportunity.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Journalist Planned to Lure Christians to Home, Behead Them Over Christchurch Shooting

A former journalist for The Queanbeayan Age in Australia is finding himself facing charges after planning to lure Christians to his home and kill them in retaliation for the Christchurch shooting.

According to the Daily Wire, James Michael Waugh stood in court on Tuesday after having been arrested for sending death threats to local churches on Facebook, and revealed that he was planning to lure them to his home to kill them with a scimitar:

James Michael Waugh was arrested in early April after sending threats on social media to local churches claiming he had bought a scimitar and would “kill every single one of you dog polytheist c***s,” the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. Appearing in court last Tuesday, prosecutor Rae-ann Khazma told the court that Waugh had spoken to a doctor after being arrested and said he was intent on “luring in potential victims to his house” as retaliation for the massacre of the Christchurch Mosque in New Zealand.

Waugh was charged with “threatening to act with intent to cause public harm, using a carriage service to menace others and possessing a weapon to be used to kill,” according to reports.

Oddly enough, the doctors who examined Waugh after his arrest said they could find no signs of mental illness that would cause him to issue these threats, or give out his name and address upon attempting to rile people up.

Despite his lack of diagnosis, Waugh said other bizarre things, for instance, he said he did not recognize the Australian Government and that Australian laws did not apply to him.

“If you know someone with balls send them along. I’ve bought a scimitar and intend to cut their heads off in my front yard as a reprisal,” said Waugh.

Waugh was denied bail twice, which is attorneys fought back on. However, the judge is denying him the opportunity:

In court in early April, Waugh’s bail was denied and he was deemed a threat to the community. His bail was denied again on April 30 after prosecutors discovered previous searches on his computer related to his threats. Khazma said Waugh planned to prepare for his “day of judgement” in Queensland with his brother. Prior to his threats, he searched the area on the Internet.

Waugh’s attorney, Helen Hayunga, claimed there was no evidence the former journalist would act on this threats and insisted he be granted bail. Magistrate Peter Morrison interrupted her to remind the court that Waugh had purchased a weapon.

His attorney responded by saying there was no evidence that he had acted on his threats and said police had seized his phone and computer.


The post Journalist Planned to Lure Christians to Home, Behead Them Over Christchurch Shooting appeared first on RedState.

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Disrupted terror plot: California man planned bombing as revenge for New Zealand attack

Westlake Legal Group disrupted-terror-plot-california-man-planned-bombing-as-revenge-for-new-zealand-attack Disrupted terror plot: California man planned bombing as revenge for New Zealand attack The Blog New Zealand Islamic terrorism California

Westlake Legal Group Mark-Domingo Disrupted terror plot: California man planned bombing as revenge for New Zealand attack The Blog New Zealand Islamic terrorism California

A 26-year-old veteran named Mark Steven Domingo was planning a terror attack in the Los Angeles area as revenge for Muslims murdered in a terror attack in New Zealand last month. Fox News reports Domingo considered a few possible targets before settling on a planned march in Long Beach which was set to take place yesterday:

Prosecutors say Domingo made online posts that “expressed support for violent jihad, a desire to seek retribution for attacks against Muslims, and a willingness to become a martyr.” Authorities added that after Domingo considered attacks targeting “Jews, churches and police officers,” he decided to detonate an improvised explosive device at the Long Beach rally, which police said was called off Sunday morning…

The affidavit also alleges that Domingo posted an online video on March 2 professing his belief in Islam. The following day, he posted on an unnamed social media network that “america needs another vegas event … to kick off civil unrest,” a reference to the October 2017 mass shooting at a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. Domingo allegedly wrote that such an event would be “about weakening america [and] giving them a taste of the terror they gladly spread all over the world.”

But Domingo was caught thanks to a sting operation that began when he started talking online about revenge for the New Zealand attack. From NBC News:

“There were mosque shootings in new Zealand,” Domingo posted to a private group online on March 14, according to federal prosecutors. “[T]here must be retribution.”

Domingo allegedly added: “I feel like I should make a christians life miserable tomorrow for our fallen bros n sis in [N]ew Zealand…maybe a jews life…they shed our blood…no Muslim should have to experience this, a message needs to be sent.”

An FBI informant, who was already in the private message group along with an FBI “online covert employee,” made contact with Domingo two days later, the indictment says.

Over six weeks of plotting with the informant, Domingo fantasized about murdering a laundry list of perceived enemies, including Christians, Jews, white supremacists, police officers, even his next-door neighbor.

When asked if he planned to escape after the attack, Domingo replied, “Martyrdom, bro.” Domingo bought 80 pounds of 3-inch nails which were intended to be used as shrapnel in the bomb he would be provided. Undercover FBI agents eventually delivered the inert “bomb” to Domingo last week. He accepted it and was arrested. He has been charged with providing material support to terrorists.

The “white supremacist” march in Long Beach, California that Domingo planned to bomb Sunday never happened. The organizer called the police and told them no one would be showing up. But counter-protesters including anarchists and Democratic Socialist groups did show up and held a rally.

The post Disrupted terror plot: California man planned bombing as revenge for New Zealand attack appeared first on Hot Air.

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Ocasio-Cortez Only Seems to Care About Christianity When It’s Useful to Her

Westlake Legal Group ocasio-cortez-only-seems-to-care-about-christianity-when-its-useful-to-her Ocasio-Cortez Only Seems to Care About Christianity When It’s Useful to Her Sri Lanka Politics New Zealand Front Page Stories Featured Story democrats Culture & Faith Christianity Christchurch Christ AOC Allow Media Exception Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Westlake Legal Group ocasio-cortez_1-620x349 Ocasio-Cortez Only Seems to Care About Christianity When It’s Useful to Her Sri Lanka Politics New Zealand Front Page Stories Featured Story democrats Culture & Faith Christianity Christchurch Christ AOC Allow Media Exception Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The left was tripping over itself trying to get their soapboxes set up after the Christchurch shooting to tell you exactly who the victims were, who the bad guys are, how laws they like would have allegedly stopped it, and how they feel about the entire thing.

However, upon hearing of the Sri Lanka bombing all you would have known if you paid attention to nothing but them is that some “Easter worshipers” died on Sunday in a country far away from ours and that they’re “sad” about it.

Then there were those who didn’t bother to say anything at all. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez falls into this category. As the Daily Wire pointed out earlier, the democratic socialist hasn’t uttered a peep about the Sri Lanka bombing.

It’s easy to understand why. The victims of the Sri Lanka bombing don’t fall in with any of her protected groups, and the attackers do. Furthermore, AOC isn’t shy about casting aspersions on people she doesn’t like. In this case, what better way to show your disdain for Christians than by not saying anything at all, and acting as if this isn’t even worth the time to ruminate over.

I’d like to tell you that me saying that AOC not liking Christians is hyperbole, but we can take a look back at her actions and come to a very clear conclusion.

For one, Ocasio-Cortez enjoys bringing up Christ, but only if she can use him to advance her political talking points. Last Christmas, she attempted to compare the story of Jesus to those attempting to migrate here illegally, going so far as to paint a family crossing the border in the same way the Holy family went to Egypt to escape Herod. As I pointed out, this is historically and logically inaccurate. Moreover, it’s entirely disrespectful.

Anytime anyone — be they right or left — attempt to bend Christ to fit their political narrative, it really shows us just how much they care about Him. People make mistakes or misinterpret things from scripture a lot, and we even learn new things about it all the time through study. However, altering the stories to make it seem like Christians should fall in line with your political talking points under full knowledge that you’re doing so sends signals about your stance about Christ and Christianity.

But that’s not all she did.

Ocasio-Cortez also cast shade on the idea of thoughts and prayers after the Christchurch shooting, tweeting: “What good are your thoughts & prayers when they don’t even keep the pews safe?”

Prayers are the primary way we humans communicate with the all-powerful God who created us, and telling us they do absolutely no good will cause people to think that one doesn’t have faith that they do make a difference. For a Christian, they absolutely do without a doubt. Yet Ocasio-Cortez seems to be of the mind that they don’t.

Things get a bit shadier when pictures like this one from Ash Wednesday pop up, where you can clearly see AOC sporting an ashen cross on her head.

This is nothing short of a profession of being a believer, yet a believer doesn’t believe prayer helps? Prayer is a cornerstone of faith, and yet AOC seems to want to toss it while wearing that cross on her forehead.

Considering all of this, you might start asking who she’s trying to fool.

Let’s add to the fact that her silence on Sri Lanka compared to the numerous tweets she sent surrounding the Christchurch massacre really puts some things in perspective in regards to what she really cares about. At this point, it looks like she cares a lot about looking good for her voters more than being concerned about the well-being and faith she claimed she had on Ash Wednesday.

If you ask me, someone isn’t a big fan of Christianity…at least until it presents the opportunity to become useful.

The post Ocasio-Cortez Only Seems to Care About Christianity When It’s Useful to Her appeared first on RedState.

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Burger King Gets Shut Down for ‘Cultural Insensitivity,’ & it Only Proves Even More What the World is Missing

Westlake Legal Group burger-king-ad-sandwich-chopsticks-cropped-SCREENSHOT Burger King Gets Shut Down for ‘Cultural Insensitivity,’ & it Only Proves Even More What the World is Missing woke Vietnamese Uncategorized Social Justice religion racism race baiting outrage culture outrage New Zealand Front Page Stories Culture & Faith Culture cultural appropriation Burger King asian Allow Media Exception



What has happened to the world?

In my estimation, the average person has a substantive reason to be offended maybe once a year; I can go with that.

But weekly? Daily?

The latest decrying of insensitivity comes to us courtesy of a Burger King ad.

And let me just say: A Whopper is delicious. It’s fantastic. It’s a great American hamburger. And more people should eat ’em — I don’t think Burger King is doin’ too well.

That may explain the chain’s attempt at offering somethin’ a little more interesting: a Vietnamese-inspired sandwich.

To that end, BK produced a promotional video of people eating the sandwich while a woman holds it…with large chopsticks.

Subsequently, as is par for the 21st century course, pearls were clutched.

Was I just insensitive myself? Don’t those pearl cream commercials feature Asian women?

Regardless, racist Burger King posted white people biting into the Vietnamese Sweet Chili Tendercrisp burger to its New Zealand Instagram account. The caption read, “Take your taste buds all the way to Ho Chi Minh City.”

Somehow, in some way, some goofs claimed the ad was a meanie toward Asian culture.

Horrified, Twitter user @mariahmocarey howled that she’s “so sick of racism”:

The wielder of the Whopper went wimpy:

Westlake Legal Group 1f641 Burger King Gets Shut Down for ‘Cultural Insensitivity,’ & it Only Proves Even More What the World is Missing woke Vietnamese Uncategorized Social Justice religion racism race baiting outrage culture outrage New Zealand Front Page Stories Culture & Faith Culture cultural appropriation Burger King asian Allow Media Exception

Tech Crunch’s Asia reporter, Catherine Shu, wasn’t impressed with the ad either:

Someone tried to point out to @mariahmocarey that she was being ridiculous.

It didn’t work:

Obviously, the commercial and its critics are across the sea, but we’re no different here in the U.S. And this ties into something I wrote earlier: We are living in a world with a staggering loss of purpose (here).

A report recently confirmed atheism as the largest religion in America. And the advent of outrage culture, I believe, is closely related. People are struggling for some kind of meaning. In their lives. In their actions.

But it won’t be found in raging against the use of two sticks holding bread and meat. Or the lamenting of people’s pronouns of choice. Searching for things about which to be offended will never turn up the thing every person in this world needs. There is a wholly different search which leads to fulfillment.

And it is a quest each of us must make on our own.

Here’s to hoping more will.

Before we’ve lost so much hope that a tide has turned which can never be reversed.



Relevant RedState links in this article: here.

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Andrew Green: The new Immigration White Paper. Not just damaging, but a disaster – both for control and the Conservatives

Lord Green is Chairman of MigrationWatch UK and a cross-bench peer.

As MPs gather next week to resume their debate on Brexit, they will need to turn their attention to immigration – a major issue in the EU referendum.

Unfortunately, the Immigration White Paper, slipped out just before Christmas, is not just a set-back for immigration control, it is a disaster. Indeed it will, in future, be seen to have been extremely damaging for public faith in the political system trust in politicians and the Conservative Party especially.

Why? Because, despite all their promises over eight years – not just promises but manifesto commitments – the Conservatives have given up any serious attempt to reduce immigration. If the proposals in The White Paper are implemented, immigration will be far more likely to increase still further and could well spin out of control.

How could that be? Consider this. Until now, highly skilled immigration (that is at degree level or higher) has been open for EU citizens but capped at 20,700 for non-EU entrants. According to the new policy, there will be no cap on either. Furthermore, employers will no longer be obliged to advertise a job in Britain before recruiting from overseas: how will British staff feel about that? There is even talk of abolishing the system of sponsorship so that anyone could bring in a worker, perhaps even a relative, as long as they said that they would be paying a salary of £30,000 a year. Yet the Government’s own Advisory Committee, mainly pro-immigration economists, has admitted that salary levels can be fiddled, for example by including other elements such as accommodation.

For anyone who has followed immigration matters for some years (in my case 18 years), this is sheer foolishness, but that is not the half of it. There is also to be a new route for those with much lower qualifications – put simply, “A level” or equivalent – which will be open to the whole world and also uncapped. Given that these routes will lead to settlement there could be waves of applications, from all over the world, including from people willing to take a pay cut to get on a track for permanent residence and eventual British citizenship.

There is more. There is also to be a route for unskilled workers from “low risk” countries. They will be able to come for “up to a year” – note that expression – before having to go home for a year for a “cooling off period”, whatever that might mean. As for whether they can then come back again, the document is not clear. What is clear is that “up to a year” is a blatant attempt to fiddle the immigration statistics.

How so? Because migrants are asked on arrival how long they expect to stay in the UK. If they say more than a year, they count as immigrants. But these people will say less than a year and will therefore not be included in the immigration statistics. It is, frankly, shocking that a Conservative Government should behave in such an underhand way on an issue of such importance to its own supporters and, of course, to many others. Nearly two thirds of the public and, indeed, 85 per cent of Conservative voters consider that immigration has been too high over the past decade.

Amazingly, this last route will also be uncapped and will be open to visitors from these countries to find and take up a job while they are here. The clear implication is that all EU countries will be included amongst the “low risk” countries, so Romanians and Bulgarians, still arriving in considerable numbers, will continue to flow in. There is suppose to be a review of this route after four or five years; we shall see.

Even that is not the end of it. There is currently a Youth Mobility Scheme that applies to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan that allows their citizens aged 18 to 30 to come here for two years, non-renewable, to travel or work. This route is currently capped at 59,000 a year. This too has already been offered to the EU provided it is on a reciprocal basis.
It is beyond question that immigration was a major issue at the referendum. Its salience has declined somewhat since then, at least partly because people thought that it was all in hand.

The White Paper contains a great deal of talk about the “control” of immigration, but the reality is that new routes will be opened, some temporary – but the Government’s record in removing overstayers is lamentable. Meanwhile, the public are clear that they want to see an actual reduction. They are aware, no doubt, that immigration has been adding one million to our population every three years since 2001. They may also know that, at current rates of immigration to England, we shall have to build a new home for immigrants every six minutes, night and day.

How has it come to this? Why has the Government caved in so completely to the industrial lobby? The cynic might say that industrialists are the Conservative Party’s chief paymasters. They might also say that the Remainers in the Cabinet are not unhappy that a major objective of the Brexiteers should lie in tatters. Others would say that the appointment of a profoundly business-friendly Home Secretary was bound to lead to a weakening of immigration policy. And, of course, the Prime Minister, who has been a bulwark of resistance to massive levels of immigration, is now in a much weaker position and has many very large fish to fry.

Whatever the reasons, the outcome is deplorable. We should have learned from Labour, who loosened immigration controls shortly after they came in to power in 1997 and found that net migration trebled in a couple of years. Before that net migration was never more than 50,000 a year and sometimes negative.

Now we are still at a quarter of a million a year and many members of the public, especially outside our main cities, have had more than enough. There will be deep resentment at the Conservative Government’s refusal to listen and their failure to act. As for the Conservative Party, it will go into the next election with immigration still at a quarter of a million, perhaps more, and many voters will respond accordingly. Denis Healey once described a Labour manifesto as the longest suicide note in history. At 160 pages this White Paper is a strong competitor.

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