THE DON JONES INDEX…

 

GAINS POSTED in GREEN

LOSSES POSTED in RED

 

         9/11/17…  15,636.30

  9/5/17…  15,651.03

6/27/13…  15,000.00

 

 

 (THE DOW JONES INDEX: 9/11/17… 21,797.79; 9/5/17… 21,987.56; 6/27/13… 15,000.00)

 

LESSON for September 11, 2017 – GIVE ME LIBERTY (or at least give me an i-Phone 10)!

 

Back in the day… the day being May 29th of this year… we considered a fellow by the name of Greg Gianforte, elected to Congress from Montana (the only Congressman from that state, as a matter of fact) who did what probably ninety percent of the politicians want to do to nosy journalists, socked him in the face.

He got arrested, even though it was Montana, had to pay a fine and do some community service but was otherwise unharmed and seems to have since disappeared into the swamp that Washington was and remains – before and after Trump.  The journalist would seem to have recovered and Montana has gone back to worrying about wildfires (an early snow may come as a welcome solution to that problem) while the rest of the country has moved on to worrying about further tricks that Mother Nature may have up her sleeve.

Anyway, Congressman Gianforte’s display of fisticuffs inspired us to determine what purportedly unbiased (but clearly left-leaning) NGOs like Reporters Without Borders thought of press freedom in America… which led to a broader scrutiny of the rest of American freedoms as analyzed by Freedom House and then, to be fair and balanced, a consideration of the freedom of corporations to do business (including cheating and hoaxing their customers, exploiting their workers, despoiling the environment, anything and everything on the table) as expressed by the Heritage Foundation… a bought-and-paid-for think tank servicing the corporate elite and snuggled up with that font of dark money into politics, the Kochtopus.

Quite surprisingly, there turned out to be not much difference between the quarreling three… Heritage denying China’s swallowing Hong Kong but concurring with the others that most of the winners were rich and white, while the losers were African and/or former, unrepentant Commies.  America lost to Jamaica, true, but… at 34th… we eked out victories over Lithuania and Burkina Faso.

 

Of Reporters Without Borders, we reported this back in May:

Reporters Without Borders uses three criteria to measure press (and by extension, citizen) freedom in the same 180 nations… legal, political and economic… and ranked the United States as the 35th most free nation, just ahead of Italy, but behind Slovakia.

While America still remains officially “free” (Freedom House has downgraded us to third from the top on a scale of seven), its scores of 6, 12 and 5 respectively gave it a total of 23 (where higher is better), which was down from the 2015/6 standing of 21.  The dropoff was from a score of 10 in “political” which is probably attributable to apprehensions about the Trump victory in November.

If RWB found America to be slightly less free this year than last, what are they going to make of Mister (now Congressman) Gianforte.  Fortunately, we have the peanut galleries – left and right – to thank for providing us with certain insights into the future of press freedom well before RWB conducts its 2017/18 survey.

 

This year, they ranked Norway as the freest (if not best) place for journalists and North Korea only the second worst, behind war-torn Syria.  Due to the age of the data for some of the viciousness categories and for prison population, Syria finished out of the bottom ten… which would not be the case at present.  Then too, some of the economic data on small Caribbean islands is likely to be blowing in the wind as a result of the recent storms.

 

Freedom House also ranked Norway as #1 for the general public and did put the North Koreans last.  This from the May DJI…

The 2017 Freedom House report singled out “populists and autocrats” and warned that the principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law will give way to “a world in which individual leaders and nations pursue their own narrow interests without meaningful constraints, and without regard for the shared benefits of global peace, freedom, and prosperity.”  They wrote that 67 nations had suffered net declines in human rights over 2016, while only 36 recorded gains.  It was the eleventh straight year that the world was less free than in the previous year.

Some of these declines were in countries previously categorized as “free” as opposed to Third World hellholes.  FH called President Trump “a mercurial figure with unconventional views on foreign policy and other matters” and cited Brexit, the failed democracies of Italy and Poland and the “hubris” of Russian tinkering with the U.S. elections, invading Ukraine and supporting Syria’s mad dictator Assad.  Chinese military moves in the Pacific threatened its neighbors, while “unscrupulous leaders from South Sudan and Ethiopia to Thailand and the Philippines engaged in human rights violations of varying scale with impunity.

“Authoritarian powers engaged in brazen acts of aggression, and grave atrocities went unanswered in war zones across two continents.”

Freedom House, reporting while Barack Obama was still President, could rank the United States no better than 43rd among some 180 nations… ahead of Comoros but just behind Burkina Faso.  America has never finished higher than 20th in this millennium; and those scores were achieved in the first two years of the Obama administration, during which Democrats also controlled Congress.  Even with the campaign still in progress, the United States received a downward trend arrow because of “the cumulative impact of flaws in the electoral system, a disturbing increase in the role of private money in election campaigns and the legislative process, legislative gridlock, the failure of the Obama administration to fulfill promises of enhanced government openness, and fresh evidence of racial discrimination and other dysfunctions in the criminal justice system.”

 

Speaking of private money, the Heritage Foundation (see past Indices like this) didn’t have much good to say about America either…

 

While RWB and Freedom House gave their highest marks to small, cold European democracies (both picked Norway as #1), Heritage named Hong Kong as the most economically free place in the world (unilaterally divesting it from China).  Another tiny Asian state… Singapore… ranked second (all those reports about caning did not figure into their matrix).

What Heritage did consider of importance were twelve free-market criteria, these being (with the scores for Hong Kong appended)…

 

Property Rights  93.7                     Tax Burden  93.0                           Monetary Freedom  83.2

Government Integrity  80.3           Fiscal Health  100.0                      Trade Freedom  90.0

Judicial Effectiveness  84.0         Business Freedom  94.6               Investment Freedom  90.0

Government Spending  90.0        Labor Freedom  83.2                     Financial Freedom  90.0

 

The United States finished 17th, its best showing among the three agencies, but they still trailed Lithuania and finished barely ahead of Denmark and Sweden.  Obviously, some of the positive Heritage criteria might be interpreted as negatives in the other two instances as both espoused a liberal bent regarding tax cuts for the rich and deregulation (which, liberals will cry, lead to safety issues, pollution and the full Republican agenda… lower wages, higher rents).

 

Hong Kong is now, of course, the sole property and bitch of the Chinese Empire, but its economy has been allowed to flourish, so long as a slice of the profits flow back to Beijing.  Communism, after all, is drab… capitalist economies have i-Phones, Hollywood movies, glitzy retail outlets and exploited foreign workers (in the case of China, thousands of North Koreans who work basically for free with their “wages” shipped back to Mister Kim… an arrangement that may be threatened by the recent bellicosity of the NorKor military.

 

The two new categories added to the list are also old categories, taken from an old DJI report on the most vicious countries in the world.  The first, stand-alone topic is prison population… bad people certainly have to be locked up, but the figures still indicate that the United States has (almost) the worst people in the world, second only to the Seychelles Islands which is full of incarcerated Somali pirates.  On the other hand, it may be… and certain others, including some conservatives… are coming round to the conviction that a lot of convictions and incarcerations are simply a way to sweep the poor, the dark-skinned and those as might give lie to the American Dream into cages where nobody will see them and the carnival can party on. 

Admittedly, these figures may have some problems… there are nations which are, in fact, gulags in and to themselves.  Other places have small prison populations because they kill the people that they deem unworthy to partake in society, such as it is.  The data is old, the provenance suspicious… does any serious person believe that Syria locks up fewer people than Norway, Denmark or Switzerland (perhaps they do, briefly, before taking them outside to be shot)?  But it is what it is, remains an important signpost of national health.

Finally, we condensed and incorporated the Viciousness data (see here or note Attachment 2) and gave it one fifth of the whole, despite… being a construct of wealthy institutions and global bodies like the OECD, it had less than a third of the countries of the globe on its roster.  (We also detached prison population and erased the sexual differentiation… the result being that 2014’s most vicious state, Thailand, plummeted (or rose) to the middle of the pack.  And, because we are speaking of Liberty, the highest marks went to the most vicious countries (like the Ukrainians, Russians and Americans) who enjoy their sex, booze, drugs, smokes and calories far more than the abstemious Islamic states.  This may seem backwards, at least as in respect to our previous categorization of health, but we and the Russkis and some others have the liberty to indulge our baser instincts and, by Satan, we do so!

Bolstered by a high Viciousness score and good grades from Heritage, New Zealand takes the gold as the freest nation in the world, followed by a bunch of Scandinavians (obviously) as well as Jamaica (which beat out the Americans, mon) and the feckin’ Irish.

 

And here are the findings…

Note: We designated the best of the category in green, the worst in red.  There were a few adjustments – these amounted to no significant change at either the top or bottom of the chart and are noted in italics.  Heritage, strangely enough, ranked slightly different than it scored… perhaps considering other, occult factors, and a few of their ranked nations did not have a recorded score.

We included a number of small and contested places that do not appear in other categories and in the case of two European microstates (Andorra and Liechtenstein), they scored rather high.  We also included Hong Kong because so much of the data was old that they were still considered a free, independent country at the time.

As mentioned above, some of the Heritage findings were incoherent, but are reprinted as stated… we can’t blame them, they’re rich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heritage Foundation

Reporters w/o Borders

Freedom House

Prison Population

Viciousness (from 7/16/14)

 

 

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Score

Rank

Pop.

Rank

Score

Average

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

New Zealand

003

98

006

16

013

13.98

42

69

8

22.75

14.6

 

2

Iceland

022

97

011

14

010

13.03

17

45

15.0

 

3

Sweden

019

100

002

10

002

8.27

25

53

29

16.5

15.4

 

4

Finland

024

100

003

11

003

8.92

27

55

24

17.6

16.2

5

Denmark

018

97

010

12

004

10.36

33

61

22

20.0

17.4

6

Norway

025

100

001

10

001

7.6

44

70

17.75

 

7

Ireland

009

97

012

16

014

14.08

50

79

12

22.2

19.4

 

8

Switzerland

004

96

014

12

007

12.13

54

84

28

16.7

21.4

 

9

Canada

007

99

005

20

022

16.53

70

114

6

24.3

22.0

10

Liechtenstein

X

91

029

14

032

20.31

5

27

22.0

 

11

Andorra

X

X

019

13

035

21.03

23

53

25.7

 

12

Germany

026

94

022

17

016

14.97

49

78

25

17.3

27.6

 

13

Austria

030

95

018

21

011

13.47

60

97

20

20.3

27.8

 

14

Luxembourg

014

98

007

12

015

14.72

76

120

28.0

 

15

Belgium

049

95

017

11

009

12.75

61

98

27

16.9

30.6

16

Australia

005

98

008

21

019

16.02

103

152

19

20.75

30.8

 

17

Netherlands

015

99

004

11

005

11.28

127

202

26

17.2

35.4

 

18

Japan

040

96

016

24

072

29.44

18

47

39

12.0

37.0

 

19

Cyprus

048

94

025

25

030

19.79

51

80

38.5

20

Portugal

077

97

013

17

018

15.77

91

137

11

22.25

42.0

 

21

France

072

90

033

22

039

22.24

65

103

4

24.7

42.6

22

Estonia

006

94

021

16

012

13.55

132

221

42.75

23

South Korea

023

82

048

31

063

27.61

66

107

17

21.2

43.4

 

24

Spain

069

94

024

27

029

18.69

89

131

7

24.0

43.6

 

25

Czech Republic

028

94

023

19

023

16.91

130

211

15

21.9

43.8

26

Costa Rica

063

91

028

18

006

11.93

160

352

44.25

27

Chile

010

94

026

31

033

20.53

142

242

13

22.1

44.8

28

United King.

012

95

020

21

040

22.26

161

365

5

24.4

47.6

 

29

Malta

050

96

015

22

047

24.76

88

131

50.0

 

30

Slovenia

097

92

027

24

037

21.7

45

73

51.5

 

31

Italy

079

89

036

33

052

26.26

56

89

36

14.75

51.8

 

32

Jamaica

041

75

063

18

008

12.73

98

145

52.5

 

33

Hong Kong

001

X

72

35

073

29.46

71

115

45

7.7

53.3

 

34

United States

017

89

035

18

043

23.88

172

693

3

27.75

54.0

 

35

Lithuania

016

91

030

24

036

21.37

144

254

54.5

 

36

Burkina Faso

093

63

082

42

042

23.85

12

41

54.75

37

Latvia

020

87

039

28

028

18.62

136

224

54.75

 

38

Romania

039

84

043

42

046

24.46

94

142

56.0

 

39

Poland

045

89

037

26

054

26.47

122

187

23

18.9

56.2

 

40

Uruguay

038

98

009

26

025

17.43

154

291

56.5

 

41

Slovakia

057

89

034

22

017

15.51

121

184

57.25

 

42

Mauritius

021

89

038

30

056

26.67

116

174

57.75

 

43

Taiwan

011

91

031

26

045

24.37

149

267

59.0

 

44

Namibia

078

77

059

31

024

17.08

96

144

64.25

 

45

Comoros

121

55

094

49

044

24.33

2

19

65.25

46

Croatia

095

87

041

40

074

29.59

52

81

65.5

47

South Africa

081

78

055

35

031

20.12

155

292

9

22.5

66.2

 

48

Greece

127

84

044

41

088

30.89

57

91

18

20.75

66.8

 

49

Senegal

120

78

056

52

058

26.72

35

62

67.25

 

50

Benin

096

82

049

34

078

30.32

47

77

67.5

51

Botswana

034

72

066

41

048

24.93

124

193

68.0

52

Qatar

029

26

134

67

123

39.83

24

53

46

7.25

71.2

 

53

Israel

036

80

052

31

091

31.01

147

265

32

15.8

71.6

 

54

Côte d'Ivoire

075

52

099

61

081

30.42

29

56

72.0

55

Indonesia

084

65

075

49

124

39.93

41

69

38

13.0

72.4

 

56

Georgia

013

64

078

49

064

27.76

146

262

72.75

 

57

Bulgaria

047

80

053

37

109

35.01

83

125

73.0

58

Colombia

037

64

081

53

129

41.47

141

240

10

22.5

73.6

59

Kosovo

046

52

100

49

082

30.45

63

100

73.75

 

60

Tonga

073

74

064

29

049

24.97

110

166

 

74.0

 

61

Argentina

156

82

047

52

050

25.07

106

160

16

 21.75

75.0

 

62

Tanzania

105

X

108

51

083

30.65

39

64

75.7

 

63

Armenia

033

45

109

61

079

30.38

87

130

77.0

 

64

Hungary

056

76

062

36

071

29.01

119

183

77.0

 

65

India

143

77

060

38

136

42.94

7

33

40

11.75

77.2

 

66

Seychelles

085

71

068

56

087

30.86

173

799

78.25

 

67

Madagascar

113

56

091

66

057

26.71

53

84

78.5

 

68

Papua New Gu.

152

64

077

28

051

25.07

38

63

79.5

 

69

Malaysia

027

44

112

64

144

46.89

114

172

14

22.0

80.2

 

70

Serbia

099

76

061

36

066

28.05

95

142

80.25

 

71

Trin./Tobago

087

81

050

26

034

20.62

150

272

80.25

 

72

Mali

102

45

110

46

116

38.27

8

33

81.5

 

73

Cape Verde

116

90

032

27

027

18.02

152

286

81.75

74

Mauritania

131

30

129

47

055

26.49

15

44

82.5

 

75

Sierra Leone

148

66

074

49

085

30.73

28

55

83.75

 

76

Albania

065

68

072

49

076

29.92

123

192

84.0

 

77

Iraq

X

27

133

67

158

54.03

82

123

47

3.7

84.0

 

78

Kuwait

061

36

122

59

104

33.61

67

112

84.0

 

79

Niger

154

49

105

58

061

27.21

16

44

84.0

 

80

Lesotho

134

64

079

49

068

28.78

58

92

84.75

 

81

Fiji

071

59

088

56

067

28.64

115

174

85.25

82

Am. Samoa

108

80

051

29

021

16.41

162

382

85.5

 

83

Peru

043

72

067

43

090

30.98

143

251

85.75

 

84

Singapore

002

51

103

67

151

51.1

131

219

42

11.4

85.8

 

85

Belize

101

87

040

22

041

23.43

163

410

86.25

86

Bosnia/Herz

092

55

095

49

065

27.83

93

140*

86.25

87

Togo

138

X

159

70

086

30.75

36

62

86.7

 

88

Mongolia

129

85

042

37

069

28.95

148

266

87.0

 

89

Nigeria

115

50

104

51

122

39.69

9

35

87.5

 

90

Macedonia

031

57

090

56

111

35.74

109

166

88.75

 

91

Malawi

149

63

083

53

070

28.97

43

70

88.75

 

92

Oman

082

25

137

71

126

40.46

10

36

88.75

 

93

Nepal

125

52