France is not ‘Nazi Germany,’ stop being ‘so sentimental’ about child refugees – Tory MP

Pauline Latham, the MP for Mid Derbyshire, stood by the government’s claim that the scheme, known as the Dubs Amendment, would act as “pull factor” and encourage more refugees to come to Europe.

She claimed that government was instead doing the “best thing” by pushing to keep refugees in their home region.

“We should stop being so sentimental and be looking at what [is] the best thing to do for these families and children and that is keep them in the region,” she told MPs during an emergency House of Commons debate over the scrapping of the Dubs amendment.

Latham also said that people who have already fled to Europe are safe in their present countries, insisting France is not “Nazi Germany.”

“These children are not under threat of murder, they are in safe countries, [and] the governments [of those countries] should be dealing with [them],” Latham said.

If France is “rat-infested,” it has nothing to do with Britain, she added, further blaming the Greek government for allowing poor conditions its camps.

“Whose fault is that? That’s Greece’s fault,” she said.

Latham later said her comments were “misconstrued” and a “poor choice of words.”

The debate comes as newly released figures reveal the number of asylum applications in the UK has dropped for the first time since 2010, when the conflict in Syria began, triggering the greatest refugee crisis since World War II.

The total number of asylum-seekers stood at 38,517, a drop of four percent from the previous year, despite the 1.2 million people applying for asylum in the EU.

But Lisa Doyle, head of advocacy at the Refugee Council, warned that the drop is no reason to feel relieved.

“If the fall in the number of people seeking refuge in Britain was because the world had become a safer, more peaceful place then we’d have cause to celebrate,” she said in a statement.

“However this is plainly not true. The situation globally has become ever more dangerous and more and more people have been forced to flee from their homes.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced at the beginning of the month that the UK would only be taking in 350 child refugees, rather than the 3,000 target it had initially committed to.

But the decision has angered a cross-party group of MPs, including Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who warned that child refugees are still arriving at Dunkirk and Calais on the northern French coast. 

“They had family in Britain but they had been turned down, been given no reason, no piece of paper saying why they had been turned down,” Cooper said.

“[You] could see more and more children going back to Calais and Dunkirk, pushed [there] because the legal safe route had been taken out.”

Conservative MP Peter Bone also savaged the decision to scrap the Dubs Amendment, saying that traffickers are “the most evil people in the world,” who realize they can make more profit from smuggling refugees than from the illegal drug trade.

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Net-zero solar powered tiny house could help ease city’s affordable housing crisis (Video)

The lack of affordable housing is a dire problem in many major metropolitan areas. It is a complex issue, brought about by increased demand, falling home ownership rates among millennials, real estate speculation, and gentrification. Aiming to suggest one possible solution to a growing affordable housing crisis in Oakland, California, students from Laney College built this net-zero, solar-powered tiny home as part of a competition organized by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) last year.

Laney College© Laney College
Laney College© Laney College

Dubbed The Wedge, this economical, 200-square-foot home on a 20-foot trailer is designed for local residents who have been priced out of traditionally blue-collar neighbourhoods. The house has been designed with a “balanced energy system” that keeps maintenance costs low. The team explains some of the details of this net-zero energy building:

The Wedge is designed and built to produce as much energy is consumed. The Wedge generates its own power via an array of solar panels installed on the roof and is designed to run solely on its own generated power. Power from the solar panels is used to charge a bank of batteries so that there is enough power at all times to run lights, cook and use other devices within the home that consume electricity even when the sun’s not shining. An inverter is used to convert power from the 24 volt DC bank of batteries to standard household power of 120 volts AC for a limited number of devices requiring AC power. In general though, most of the lighting and other devices in the house are powered directly from DC power.

The Wedge gets its name from its distinct, jutting shape, which informs the sitting area on the interior, offering a sloping surface to lean against. There is built-in storage in the L-shaped seating, as well as the stairs leading up to the main sleeping loft.

Laney College© Laney College
Laney College© Laney College

It is also flexible in terms of occupancy, as it features two lofted beds — one fitting a queen-sized bed, the other for a single bed — meaning that the home is not designed just for singles and couples, but potentially for families too.

Laney College© Laney College
Laney College© Laney College

To keep the kitchen streamlined, everything is incorporated into the large counter, including a smaller-sized refrigerator, pantry and two-burner induction stovetop.

Laney College© Laney College

The dining and work surface has customized furniture that can tuck underneath.

Laney College© Laney College

To keep water usage low in a state that’s been experiencing water scarcity for some time, a composting toilet is used in the bathroom. Greywater is reused for watering farm produce, after being filtered by a natural gravel and wetland plant based filtration system. The hope is that tiny houses like The Wedge can be incorporated somehow into a development plan that includes urban farming initiatives.

Laney College© Laney College

The team explains their electrical system further, which includes a solar panel array, as well as a battery bank to store surplus power. While there is an inverter to convert the 24 volt DC current into 120 volt AC, the design tries to eliminate the loss of power through conversion:

In general, we tried to power most of the lighting and other devices in the house directly from DC power so as to avoid the overhead of perhaps 10 to 10 percent that is incurred when converting power from the the 24 volt DC battery bank to 120 volt AC.

This approach has some trade-offs, though:

Our hot water will be heated with electricity and once again we chose to do that using 24 volts DC so as not to incur a power conversion overhead. We replaced the 120 volt 1650 watt heating element in a conventional 10 gallon electric water heater with a 24 volt 600 watt heating element and as a result it will take longer to heat our water. We have attempted to address this issue by setting a higher temperature on the water heater and using a thermostatic mixing valve.

Laney College© Laney College

The affordable housing crisis is a complex one indeed, one that will require not just the construction of smaller, cheaper homes. It’ll require a sea change in policy, bylaws, building codes and how our social and economic systems work — but certainly, smaller, more energy-efficient homes can be part of a bigger solution. Having won a bunch of accolades for the SMUD competition, including “Best Architecture” and “Best Design”, The Wedge is now on sale for USD $55,000. For more information, visit The Wedge and Tiny House Listings.

[Via: Tiny House Swoon]

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Happy CSA Day!

The last Friday in February is a celebration of the direct-to-customer business model that allows small farmers to continue growing wonderful fresh food.

Signing up for a CSA share is one of the best ways to ensure fresh, seasonal vegetables in your home on a regular basis. CSA stands for ‘community supported agriculture’, and refers to a direct-to-customer business model for farmers. People pay upfront for a season’s worth of vegetables, which provides farmers with much-needed income ahead of the growing season, and then they enjoy a box of delicious local produce every week for a set number of months.

The idea for an official CSA Day took root in 2015. An organization called Small Farm Central, while publishing its annual CSA Farming report, found that the end of February was the most common time for people to sign up for CSA shares, so it decided to create CSA Day on the last Friday of the month.

The CSA model is significant because it’s a direct-to-customer business model that allows small-scale, often organic, farmers to continue growing food on a scale that normally would not be sustainable. With most signups happening in late winter, it generates income at the slowest time of year, when farmers need the capital to be able to fix machinery and buy seeds.

late summer CSA shareChristopher Paquette/CC BY 2.0

So when your dollars go toward a CSA share, you can rest assured that it’s going directly to the person who grows your food – something that cannot be said for grocery store sources. Says Simon Huntley, CEO of Small Farm Central:

“In a world with so many intractable problems – take your pick: homelessness, war, financial and political instability – joining a CSA is a small, but concrete act that improves our land, community, economy and quality of life. It is a small act with big consequences.”

I have subscribed to a CSA share for nearly six years. The vegetables come year-round, which means that, right now, my family is growing increasingly tired of endless cabbage, carrots, onions, and beets – but just think how incredible those salad greens will taste in a few short months! The experience has totally changed my view on seasonality and the way I cook, forcing me to use what’s in the fridge, not what a recipe calls for. I’ve discovered interesting foods (kohlrabi, mustard greens, watermelon radishes, locally grown dried beans), and been able to reduce packaging waste significantly, since the CSA share is unpackaged. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

If you’re worried about the size of a share, CSAs usually come in a few sizes. Different farms have different policies; some allow customers to opt out of specific vegetables and request more of another. Mine does not, but it provides a weekly newsletter with recipes and ideas for using many of the vegetables, which is very helpful.

So what are you waiting for? Check out this list of 1,000 American and Canadian CSA shares currently available and sign up this CSA Day to show your support for small-scale farmers.

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How Irish cattle farmers preserve a strange, ancient landscape

I have always loved the films made by The Perennial Plate. From eating invasive species to chowing down on roadkill, they’ve always been willing to dig into topics not normally covered by your average food show.

Unusually, for an age of ideologies, they also don’t tend to offer absolutes. Instead, they observe stories about how humans and nature interact in our quest to feed ourselves, and they present what they see and let us make up our own minds.

Their latest film is no exception. Exploring The Burren—an alien-looking limestone landscape on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, which has been used for cattle farmers as winter grazing land (winter grazing is unheard of in much of the rest of Europe) for more than 6,000 years.

As one farmer notes, the result depends on the eye of the beholder. On the one hand, you could argue it’s an environmental catastrophe—denuded of trees and shrubs that would otherwise turn into woodland. On the other, it’s a unique ecosystem of rare and unusual plants, many of which were carried to The Burren as seeds in the last ice age. And some of which are not found anywhere else. It’s also, apparently, a significant source of carbon sequestration.

Take a look. And remember, wherever we are and whatever we do, we are all a part of nature. Might be time we started acting like it.

The Burren from The Perennial Plate on Vimeo.

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14 gorgeous mushrooms that show fungi’s glamorous side

1. Mushrooms are all too often relegated to the realm of dark and funky fungi, when in fact many are worthy of super-swooning.

The mushroom has kind of gotten a bad rap. While sweet-smelling flowers fill sunny meadows and are attended to by bees and butterflies, mushrooms inhabit the dark dank corners and are often burdened with sinister connotations. And ok, maybe they thrive on rot … and can be a bit slimy … and malodorous … and really quite lethal, but they have an essential role to play in the environment and many species outshine flowers in terms of odd beauty. So with that in mind, consider this a love letter from the fungus appreciation society, in which we show the gorgeous side of mushrooms.

1. A member of the genus Hericium

Above is a Hericium from the Hericiaceae family. Members of genus grow on dead or dying wood and have some of the most flamboyant fruiting bodies around! Boasting common names such as monkey’s head, lion’s mane, and bear’s head, they look like anything from a fountain of falling icicles to frozen fireworks to sea creatures.

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02-24-17 — Scott Horton – Nick Reed — LISTEN LIVE on LRN.FM, M-F, 9-Noon EST

Nick Reed
, Nick Reed

Frontier Liberty

Hour 3 – Nick Reed (Founder & Lead Consultant of Frontier Liberty) on Are You in an Abusive Relationship with your Government?: Creepy parallels between Domestic and Systemic Abuse 


Hour 3

Nick Reed

Founder and Lead Consultant at Frontier Liberty

Nick Reed is the Founder + Lead Consultant at Frontier Liberty and is a speaker, writer, activist, and advocate for solving problems from the bottom-up through community, culture and the free-market rather than through government. Nick has been the Media Relations Coordinator and Delegate for the Libertarian Party of Texas. Presently, Nick lives in Austin, TX with his wife and kid where he provides liberty consulting services, is working on a book on The Limits of Control about the inadequacy of control systems to solve social and environmental problems, and starting a rite of passage program for youth and communities. 




Battered Citizen Syndrome: Are You in an Abusive Relationship With Your Government?


 7 Easy Ways to Tell if Your Government is Abusive

Most people know what abuse looks like when they see it. But what if the abuse was not coming from an individual, rather from a government? Could you recognize it? Domestic abuse and systemic abuse are two sides of the same coin. One deals with couples, the other deals with governments and citizens. Applying what you know about couples to government can be difficult. Dealing with the macro-level anything means a lot of moving parts. Here is a systemic abuse quiz which make it easy to determine if you are in an abusive relationship with a government. Ask yourself these 7 questions and replace the word “partner” with the word “government. If you score 4 or more then you not only in an abusive relationship with your government but you are able to recognize it.


Coercion is one of the most obvious sign of abusive. Coercion can be physical abuse or verbal abuse in the form of demands, threats of negative consequences for noncompliance and/or surveillance. Coercion is a violation of human autonomy and is usually “the stick” in “the stick and the carrot.” Coercionsays, if you don’t do X then I am going to do Y to you and you’re not going to like it. But human autonomy is to be respected regardless who the other entity in the relationship is, therefor this question should be effective in determining if there is an issue of abuse between couples as well as governments and citizens.

Ask yourself, is there anything that you do to avoid “the stick” coming from your government? Is there anything that the government makes you do or threatens that if you don’t do it they will use force against you. Is there anything that the government threatens to take from you if you don’t give to them? If so, add 1 point to your scorecard.

2. Has your partner ever kept you from getting a job, or caused you to lose a job?

Question number 2 is a typical question used by domestic violence advocates and counselors to determine if there is economic abuse. Economic abuse is a form of abuse where one has control over the other’s access to economic resources, which can impact the victims ability to support him/herself and forces him/her to depend on the perpetrator in one way or another.

But what about your government? Are you able to work with who ever you please whenever you please without strings attached? Does your government control your access to economic resources? Is there anything that the government requires of you which makes you depend on it for economic access? If so, add 1 point to your scorecard.


Question 3 is about isolation. Isolation is about restricting what you do, who you see, or what you read. The capacity to isolate a victim is the capacity to control their outside involvement. Isolation is ‘divide and conquer.’ If one is dependent on the other for permission to come and go as he/she pleases then his/her activities, destinations, and contacts are more likely to be limited to those approved by the perpetrator or risk loss of access to travel.

What about your relationship with government? Does your government engage in dividing and conquering either foreign or domestic? Can you drive to the store or travel without getting permission from your government? Are there some places you would not go, people you would not go meet, or things you would not go do because it might not be approved of by your government? Are there things which you either do or don’t do in order to avoid having your right to travel restricted? If so, you can add one point to your scorecard.


The questions here assess the degree to which a relationship is voluntary in nature. To be healthy, a relationship must be entered into by both parties knowingly and voluntarily (as in any valid contract) and either party is able to absolve the relationship at any time for any reason. Anything other than this is at best unhealthy and at worst jealous, abusive and controlling. Extreme jealousy and possessiveness lead many perpetrators to either harm or threaten harm if the other partner tries to leave or stifle independence through the creation of physical, emotional, psychological and economic dependency so as to make it as difficult as possible. This feels like walking on egg shells in the former case and trapped and cornered in the latter.

But what about your relationship to government? Is it voluntary in nature? Did you enter into the relationship knowingly and voluntarily? Are you able to absolve the relationship at anytime for any reason? Are you able to enter into relationship with others (expatriate) or remain single (in a relationship with no governments) if you wish? Does your government ever do things to prevent you from leaving the relationship? Do you feel so physically, emotionally, psychologically or economically dependent on your government (or any government) that you could not leave if you wished? If so, add 1 point to your score card.


Excuses rationalization and blame are all hallmarks of abuse. Perpetrators can be very manipulative and often will lie and use any available vulnerabilities to keep control over their victims. Creating real or perceived threats to safety are often used to justify controlling behavior while suppressing partner’s independence and access to information can justify treatment as an object or child. They work so well because often people will look for any explanation for abuse and we often don’t see the larger pattern and context in which abuse occurs. If each incidence of control or manipulation can be seen as an isolated occurrence, then they can be rationalized as a fluke reaction to a certain problem like the perceived threat to safety or partner’s lack of necessary information. Abusers often use their “problems” as weapons of control. It may sound like, “you should know I don’t like/allow that,” “you’re making me do this,” “your doing this to yourself,” “you know you’ll just make bad choices.”

What is your relationship to government look like? Does your government ever lie or withhold information from you to “protect” you? Does your government claim it needs to make decisions for you because you just have “poor decision making skills?” Does your government ever use a problem or event to justify controlling and abusive behavior? If so, add 1 point to your scorecard.


Knowledge is power. Knowledge can be used for you or against you, for better or worse. Abusers gain control when their abusive behavior kept in the dark and nobody knows about it. Once brought into the light, the abusers control is threatened by natural human compassion. Exposing abuse enables support and works against isolation tactics. Often perpetrators will go to great lengths to intimidate, threaten, minimize, discredit and even limit outside contact in order to keep control in the dark.

How about your relationship with your government? Has your government ever done anything to keep it’s abusive behavior in the dark? Has it ever used intimidation or threats in order to avoid exposure for abuse? Does your government minimize, discredit, twist or try to restrict speaking out against its wrong doings? If so, add one point to your scorecard.


This questions is used to determine whether or not an incidence is an isolated occurrence or an expression of abuse when seen in a larger context. Assessing behavior over time and in past relationships can help shed light on behavior assumed to be disconnected in its cause from other controlling behaviors. Too often a single act may be interpreted as isolated occurrence which is always easier to justify than when in conjunction with a pattern expressed over a span of time and in a variety of different ways.

So what about your government? Does it have a history of respecting others independence and integrity (sovereignty)? Does your government have any abusive behaviors it has exhibited through out history regardless of who or what party is in charge? Do isolated actions which otherwise can be justified by some special problem or cause suddenly create a pattern of abuse when when looked at as a whole? If so, add another point to your score card.

Now that you have completed the 7 question quiz on systemic abuse, count up the points on your scorecard. What did your government score? A “0” means your relationship to your government is more than likely OK. The absence of an unhealthy relationship does not necessarily preclude a healthy one.

If your government scored a 1-4, your relationship with government is unhealthy at best and abusive at worst. The accuracy of your score will also rely heavily on how aware you are of your government and how it effects you and other citizens. Often when a person grows up in a multi-generational abusive environment it can become very difficult to discern what is healthy and not, even with a simple abuse quiz like this one! Poor souls such as this too often mistake the shadows for the objects that cast them.

A score of 4 or higher signifies a highly toxic and and abusive environment. It is more than likely you are feeling stuck, trapped, walking on egg shells, paranoia, and or depressed and hopeless. You’re need for trust, autonomy, independence, emotional and physical safety and financial security are not being met and you will likely benefit from having tools to help you regain independence.

Frontier Liberty a highly curated directory of tools and resources as well as consulting services designed to help you protect/enhance your liberty, decrease dependency on involuntary systems and solve problems through the free market rather than bigger government.

About the Author: Nick Reed is the Founder and Lead Consultant at Frontier Liberty, a first of it’s kind liberty and privacy consulting service. is a one stop shop for liberty and privacy tools and resources. You can follow Frontier Liberty on FacebookInstagramYoutubeTwitterMedium, and StumbleUpon.


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