When Australian lawyer (and atheist) Alex Stewart allegedly rolled marijuana “joints” from pages of the Bible and Koran and smoked them on YouTube, he quickly learned that many Muslims do not share the sufferance demonstrated by Western Christians, who have become accustomed to such conduct. Neither the Australian government nor Christians posed a threat to Stewart, but Muslim leaders were quick to try to avert violence from their community; Stewart found it necessary to go into hiding.

smokingWith tobacco smuggling on the rise because of high taxes on cigarettes in the United Kingdom, Scottish government officials and anti-smoking activists met in Perth, Scotland, on September 20 to discuss ways to combat such smuggling, according to the Courier of Dundee, Scotland. The outcome of their meeting will be a report to the Scottish government.

Since the advent of the income tax, it has been obvious that governments believe that their citizens’ earnings actually belong to the government first and that citizens should simply be grateful for whatever pittance their overlords let them keep. Payroll deductions, such as those for income tax, Social Security, and Medicare, have made that state of affairs even plainer; the money is extracted from the employee’s paycheck before he ever sees it.

Swedish currencyThe move toward a cashless society is accelerating in Sweden as plastic payments become the norm and various government officials, unions, and high-profile Swedes push for a ban on cash, supposedly to reduce robberies. But opposition to the proposal is mounting as well.

France got into big trouble this week over its deportation of Gypsies early this week, and its move to ban veils that hide the faces of women won't help matters any.