Saturday, July 22, 2006

"Destroy the infidel - but get me out of here first!"

Perry at Samizdata has spotted a doozy:

Omar Bakri Mohammed, the Islamic preacher thrown out of Britain for inciting Muslims to violence and calling for the Islamisation of the UK (quote: "The life of an unbeliever has no value, it has no sanctity"), wants the Royal Navy to evacuate him from the fighting in Lebanon. So he hates the UK but wants it to come to his rescue?

The Jews have a good expression expression for this: chutzpah.

Well spotted, and a comment that's right on the money: a good demonstration perhaps of how evil is always and of necessity parasitic on the good.

LINK: Rat tries to board floating ship - Samizdata

TAGS: War, Religion, Politics-World

Chinese rice tipping point for GE

China is "on the verge of a decision that historians eventually may interpret as a tipping point in the global debate over genetically modified food," says Dean Kleckner of Truth about Trade and Technology.

No doubt the decision will also nettle the type of environmentalist that Charlie Pedersen was criticising.

The 'tipping point' about which he speaks and which will have deep ecologists and their fellow travellers choking on their muesli is the imminent approval by Beijing of the planting and commercial sale of genetically modified rice. The motive for the decision is clear enough:
    A recent study by a team of Chinese and American scientists revealed that the use of biotech rice reduced pesticide costs by 80 percent. “We estimate that if 90 percent of the farmers plant GM rice, then the annual agricultural income of China will increase by $4 billion,” said Huang Jukun, director of the Agriculture Policy Research Center at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. .
   
Around the world, GM crops are becoming more popular. No country that has allowed access to this technology has subsequently turned its back on biotech, in what we might label an “untipping point.”
    To be sure, a number of European nations continue to hold out against GMOs. Yet they are becoming increasingly isolated, and China’s forthcoming decision will highlight their detachment.
You certainly don’t need to crack open a fortune cookie to predict the future of rice farming in China: Farmers want it, and they will get it.
And if China gets it, that means the rest of the world won't be far behind. Read the whole article here.  

LINK: Biotech tipping point - Dean Kleckner, Truth about Trade and Technology  

MORE ON THESE SUBJECTS: GE, Environment, Politics-World

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Immigration and the Statue of Bigotry

At the foot of the Statue of Liberty, a gift from nineteenth-century France to nineteenth-century America, Emma Lazarus's poem The New Colossus sums up what the statue symbolised for the immigrants who helped build America: . .
From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" 
That lamp is in the process of being snuffed out by people who today can find no two words to better describe those huddled masses yearning to breathe free than "illegal immigrant." They seek to turn Lazarus's Colossus of Liberty into something else, something evocatively described by Lou Reed:
Give me your hungry, your tired your poor
I'll piss on 'em

That's what the Statue of Bigotry says

Your poor huddled masses, let's club 'em to death

And get it over with and just dump 'em on the boulevard...
Both here in NZ and in the US, immigration proposals now on the table look to snuff out that lamp beside the golden door, and to piss on those poor huddled masses. But as former Fox commentator (and now President Bush's press secretary) Tony Snow says,
Immigration is not the pox neo-Know Nothings make it out to be... Before someone razes Lady Liberty and decides to erect a wall to "protect" America from the world, shouldn't we at least spend a little time trying to get our facts straight?
Yes. We should. I suspect however that those of you more inclined to favour the Statue of Bigotry approach will already be putting on their eye-patches and heading for that comments button. Meanwhile, the rest of us can consider some of those facts. Fortunately, most of the facts and arguments thereon have been summarised in a series of articles in the current Reason magazine (right) -- "Reason's guide to reality-based reform" -- and in the latest Free Radical magazine (left). The list of articles is below with the main arguments summarised above. All the articles relate to American immigration, but there is no good reason to think anything but the same or similar facts would be uncovered in NZ should someone be willing to look with more than one eye.
  • Immigrants are not flocking to the States to mooch off the government.
  • 'Illegals' are not milking the government; if anything it is the other way around. The National Research Council found for example that most immigrant families "contribute an average of $80,000 more to federal coffers than they consume over their lifetimes."
  • Immigrants generally earn more than they receive.
  • More than 60% of illegals -- illegals -- pay income tax, and two-thirds kick in to Social Security (even if they do often get nothing back).
  • Immigrants help sustain economic growth and cultural dynamism.
  • Even economists who favour restrictive immigration policies admit low-skilled immigrants are a net plus to the economy.
  • "Government intervention into the economic system breeds later intervention. Here the application of his principle is, start with the Welfare State, end with the Police State. A police state is what is required effectively to stop substantial illegal immigration that has become a major burden because of the Welfare State." - George Reisman
  • Immigrants "are generally less involved in crime than similarly situated groups," and crime rates in border towns "are lower than those of comparable non-border cities."
  • Crime rates in the highest-immigration states have been trending significanty downward.
  • There's no reason that the North American Free Trade Agreement (or NZ's own free trade agreements) shouldn't apply equally to people as to widgets.
  • Unemployment is low and crime is down everywhere, especially in places teeming with immigrants.
  • Google, Yahoo! and Sun Microsystems were all founded by immigrants.
  • Immigrants are more likely than 'natives' to be self-employed.
  • "Sometimes what looks like lousy conditions to us are the best option an employee has... But sometimes the only reason those conditions are the least bad choice is available is because the other possibilities have been cut off by legal fiat. I'm referring not just to illegal immigrants, who for obvious reasons have little recourse if defrauded or enslaved, but to guest workers, who come here under strict rules that prevent them from changing jobs, let alone striking out on their own." - Jesse Walker. [Take note Phillip Field bashers]
  • Immigrants tend to create their own work -- when they're allowed to.
  • The power and reach of Spanish-language media in L.A. for example shows supply of productive people creating its own demand.
  • Immigrant labour makes work easier for all of us, and brings new skills to the table.
  • Immigrants and low-skilled American workers fill very different roles in the economy.
  • Immigrant labour makes all businesses easier to start, thus spurring 'native' creativity.
  • "Some argue that we should employ a more restrictive policy that allows in only immigrants with 'needed' skills. But this assumes the government can read economic tea leaves." - Tyler Cowen and Daniel M. Rothschild
  • New arrivals, by producing more goods and services, keep prices down across the economy -- the net gain to US from immigration is about $7 billion a year.
  • Even in the halls of Congress, economic arguments against immigration are losing their aura of truthfulness, so pro-enforcement types are focussing on national security.
  • "The only way to actually prevent terrorists from slipping in is to legalize as much 'illegal immigration' as possible. If one is looking for a needle in a haystack, as the saying goes, one has a hell of job. Finding that needle on a relatively clean floor, however, presents an achievable goal." - James Valliant
  • Immigration is good for the immigrants themselves.
ARTICLES:
How about a little common sense on immigration - Tony Snow
Immigration plus Welfare State equals Police State - George Reisman
Immigration and the Welfare State - the real root of the problem - Brian Doherty
Who's milking who? - illegal aliens pay more in taxes than they impose in costs - Shikha Dalmia
Don't bad-mouth unskilled immigrants - Tyler Cowen & Daniel M. Rothschild
Exploitation or expulsion - illegal immigrants in a double bind - Jesse Walker
Fighting terrorism requires legalizing immigration
- James Valliant
Worse than a wall - Kerry Howley
A legacy of the unforeseen - Carolyn Lochhead
Breathe free, huddled masses - Cathy Young
Open the borders - why should citizens of NAFTA countries need visas at all - Tim Cavanagh
Bush's border bravado - non-militarized solutions to a non-problem - Nick Gillespie
Open immigration, Si! Open borders, No! - Sixth Column
And of course there are the two classic Harry Binswanger articles which are 'must-reads' for the moral and practical case behind open immigration (note, open immigration, not open borders.):
The solution to 'illegal immigration' - Harry Binswanger
Immigration Quotas vs. Individual Rights: The Moral and Practical Case for Open Immigration
- Harry Binswanger
There. That should give you plenty of weekend reading. And if you'd rather read all this in print form, then head here or to Borders to buy a single copy of Reason, and head to any good newsagent (or here for a single PDF copy) for The Free Radical.
 

LINKS:
The New Colossus (1883) - US Department of State
Is the NZ Immigration review repressive - Katie Small, Scoop (May, 2006) 


FOR MORE ON THESE SUBJECTS: Immigration, Politics-US, Economics, Politics-NZ

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English unbelievable

Just when you thought Bill English's rank inability wouldn't surprise you again, he begins his latest missive this way: "Lois Dear's death is shocking because ..."

Now think, Dear Reader, of all the many, many reasons that the brutal slaying of poor Lois Dear is shocking. Consider them all, and then see what this limp-dick, dripping wet lump of PC lard thinks: "Lois Dear's death is shocking because it violates the school as a place where children and adults are safe and respected."

Unbelievable. The man makes me want to vomit. That this appears below a heading with the exhortations "Mallard Mass Murderer" and "Who's Next" (see the banner picture at right) only makes it more disgusting. Does English ever engage the brain, do you think, before he sends out these vile emissaries of wetness?

"May she rest in peace," he concludes. On that at least I can agree. If politicians like English would stop trying to make political capital out of her violent and tragic death her rest would be a lot more peaceful.

TAGS: Politics-National

Beer O’Clock goes diabolical with Duvel

Continuing our regular Beer O'Clock posts highlighting one of mankind's finest creations: beer that teenagers will hate. This week, Neil Miller from Real Beer gets all elitist, just as he's required to, and celebrates Belgium's National Day in the appropriate fashion.

It seems extraordinary to me that the Main Stream Media and the Blogosphere both appear to have overlooked the fact that today is Belgium’s National Day! How could they have possibly overlooked the Nationale Feestdag where we can all celebrate the inauguration of Belgium’s first king (Leopold I) in 1831 by drking scads of quality Belgian beer?

Honestly, sometimes it seems like I am the only one paying any attention round here!

Belgium – a land world famous for Beer, Tintin, Mussels, Hercule Poirot and some tennis players whose names all escape me about now.

Actually, Belgium is really world famous just for beer. Beer permeates their culture, society and cuisine to a degree not seen anywhere else in the world. This is at least partly to do with the fact that they make such fine beer!

Today, I thought I would highlight an absolute world classic Belgian beer.

[Cue Michael Buffer Ring Announcing Voice] Hailing from the Moortgart brewery in Breenbonk, Belgium, weighing in at a hefty 8.5% alcohol by volume, I give yoooouuuuu ... Duvel! [Cue applause.]

Duvel got its name at a tasting of one of the first batches. History does not record the name of the person who declared it was “a devil of a beer” but the tag certainly stuck. The correct pronunciation of “DOO-vil” will often get blank looks from bartenders as the more French pronunciation “Du-VARL” is common (but wrong).

This beer was developed in the 1930s and was initially based on a strong Scottish ale style, and made with MacEwans yeast bought to Belgium in a stone jug during the inter-war period.

In the 1970s, the recipe was changed to use paler malts which resulted in the lighter colour and flavours which are famous now.

Even by crazy Belgian brewing standards this is an enormously complex beer to make. It uses hot and cold fermentation, several fermentation periods, additions of candy sugar, blending of beers and a long maturation time.

It is worth it though.

This is burnished golden beer which throws a massive rocky head. The distinctive glass is designed to encourage a full layer of foam just the way the Belgians like it.

It is a fragrant beer with a hoppy, spicy and fruity (orange, lemon) nose. The beer is quite smooth and creamy with notes of orange zest, pear brandy, green apples and lemon. It ends with a long bitter and dry finish. A huge beer but tremendously well balanced.

I give you: Duvel!

Cheers, Neil

LINKS: Duvel
NZ's Real Beer blog

TAGS: Beer & Elsewhere

Trotter v Pedersen: Blame the Libz

It's all the libertarians' fault, apparently.

Chris Trotter is up in arms in his latest column -- never a pretty sight. How dare Fed Farmers' president Charlie Pedersen accuse environmentalists of "a war against the human race," says Chris. How dare George W. Bush hire libertarian-leaning types like Gale Norton (right) and Lynn Scarlett (left) to run many of the agencies who until recently thought they were "responsible for protecting the United States' environment"; with "catastrophic" results, says Chris -- catastrophic, that is, for big-government advocates whose failed 'ban-everything' environmental policies have been slowly, quietly but inexorably (and thankfully) heading for the ashcan of history. (Read an interview with Scarlett here.)

Says Chris, who seems worried the same thing might be afoot here (if only!):
[Pedersen's] attack on the environmental movement reflects his determination that the farming community should remain politically unaccountable for the environmental damage it is causing. Trading on the massive contribution farmers make to New Zealand's export receipts, he has set his sights on rolling back environmental regulation in the name of economic security.
If Pedersen is in favour of rolling back environmental regulation in the name of property rights, then I'm right with him. If only he was. After all, that's the only guaranteed way to have your environmental and economic cakes without eating either, as many of those libertarian-leaning types in the US already realise -- one reason they've been rolling back so much of that failing big-government enviro-legislation over there.
Mr Pedersen's speech [continues Chris] may represent the opening salvo of a campaign designed to bring about something very similar here. It would be a mistake to dismiss his ideas out of hand. What we consider extremism in one decade all too often becomes the conventional wisdom of the next.
Too true. It does. Just look at what became of the Values Party.

This time however the 'extremism' Chris is worried about is not the extremism of his friends from Values, now known as the Green party, but the extremism of libertarians who, besides being "far-right" (according to The Trott-sky), are also apparently ZAPatistas. It's a little hard to make complete sense of it all, really. Trotter seems at times to be trying to out-Wishart Wishart, and at others to be seeing the demise of the politically-correct mainstream.

Whatever he's up to, he's pulled out some good old-fashioned smearing to warn all the good comrades to Watch Out, There Are Libertarians About, with Charlie Pedersen in the saddle riding shotgun. And about that he's at least somewhat correct. After all, if he's going to warn about an intellectual revolution, he'd hardly be taken seriously if he suggested one coming from within National.

But about there being one, on that he's right on the money.

UPDATE: Comments here from some of Trotter's accused: 'The man who shot JFK.'

LINKS: A preview of the future - Chris Trotter, Dominion Post
The reformers: Lynn Scarlett - ABetterEarth.Org
A closer look at Interior: An official explains its philsophical vision - Lynn Scarlett, PERC Report
Pedersen slams religious environmentalism - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)
Linz shot JFK
- Lindsay Perigo et al

TAGS:
Environment, Conservation, Politics-NZ, Politics-US

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'We'?

Here's one of my favourite jokes.
The Lone Ranger and his faithful Indian companion Tonto are riding through one of many canyons when suddenly rising from the hill on their right are hundreds of
Indians in war garb. They spur their horses forward when they realise that there
are hundreds of Indians ahead of them. Wheeling to the left they see hundreds of Indians rising from that hill. Things are looking ominous. They begin to back away in the direction from which they had come and they realise they are surrounded. They have fallen into an ambush.

The Lone Ranger turns to Tonto, his faithful and life-long friend, and says, "Tonto
my friend, I think I must say that I have treasured our many adventures together, but now I think we are doomed."

To which Tonto replies, "What's with the 'we,' white man?"
As you might have deduced, it's not one of my favourites because it's funny. It's one of my favourites because that punchline can be used so often. You hear it all the time:
"What are we going to do about the state of our chooldren's health/obesity/future/safety? [Delete any that don't apply.]"
"How can we solve [insert latest fashionable concern]?"
"We all agree that [insert favourite liberal nostrum]."
"We should ban [insert latest Green concern]."
"We should pass a law."
"We should get out more."
"We should share more."
"We should give more."
"We should consume less."
"We should stop
"We are destroying biodioversity/the planet/sustainability."
"Shouldn't we allow a degree of reserve when choosing which parts of nature we take for ourselves?"
"How should we feel about this?"
"Can't we all just [insert favourite fashionable folderol]?"
"What are we all doing with our lives?"
"What are we gonna do now?"
Answer to all of these: "What's with the we, white man?"

"We should share." "We should recycle." "We should compensate Maori for injustices of the past." No. 'We' shouldn't. If you want to do anything about anything, then you go right ahead. If you committed an injustice against someone then you pay up, but don't make me pay for or share your feelings of guilt for things I didn't do to people I never met. If you want to recycle, then you go right ahead, but don't get the Government to make the rest of us join you or pay for your enthusiasm. Stop thinking of people as part of a collective; realise that 'we' are all individuals, and we all have the power of choice.

Ayn Rand's novella Anthem has this to say:
The word "We" is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.
To paraphrase Leo Tolstoy, if you want to change the world, then try starting with yourself. So what are we going to do about 'our' chooldren? Personally, I'm not doing anything. They're not mine.

LINKS: Anthem Page - Noble Soul
Anthem, complete text - Noble Soul
Cue Card Libertarianism - Individualism - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)
Cue Card Libertarianism - 'No man is an island'
- Not PC (Peter Cresswell)
Cue Card Libertarianism - Harmony of interests - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)

TAGS: Ethics, Politics

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What would you do?

Here's a question for you. Imagine you are your country's Prime Minister:

A gang of thugs committed to wiping your country off the map fires thousands of smuggled missiles (below) at your northern cities from mobile rocket launchers (left) often based in heavily populated civilian areas. The Government of that country does nothing to stop this, and in fact includes some of the thugs in that very Government. The Governments of neighbouring countries supply the missiles, and help to train the thugs.

Do you:
a) Throw up your hands, say, "Oh well, that's life in the Middle East," and endure the rocket attacks.
b) Throw up your hands and agree to the thugs' demands for your country to be wiped off the map.
c) Call Condoleezza Rice and say, "Help!"
d) Call the UN -- those heroes of Somalia, Bosnia and Rwanda -- and say, "Help!"
e) Describe the thugs as "a cancer" on Lebanon and Israel that needs to be excised, send a one-week warning to civilians in the vicinity, and bomb the hell out of the missile-launchers and those who operate them, even at the risk of significant civilian casualties.
What's your call?

UPDATE: Perhaps I should add another possible answer: f) Evade the question.

TAGS: War, Politics-World

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It's sooo 2006

Here's a "so 2006" moment, spotted in a shared flat in Auckland last night.
Bloke 1 says to his flatmate, Bloke 2: "Miso soup's nearly ready. It's a bit thin but, 'cos I forgot to put the Kombu in, and I just used up the last of the Miso. There wan't much left."
Bloke 2 replies: "No worries. I just got a new stash of Miso. You can use that."
Bloke 1: "Red Miso?"
Bloke 2: "Yeah."
Bloke 1: "Excellent!"
I doubt if Colin Meads would approve.

TAGS: Auckland, New Zealand

Sternberg House - Richard Neutra


A house designed by an Austrian architect for a German film director, in which one of the great novels of the twentieth-century, The Fountainhead, was written by a Russian. The house is not in Europe: it is in California, several miles outside LA .

Those immigrants, eh. Who needs 'em. They come to your country, they take your jobs ... and do 'em better.

TAGS: Architecture, Immigration

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Nats not oustanding over Field

NZ Herald: Call the police - National gets tough on Field
National is considering going to the police about the dealings of Labour MP Phillip Field...

Excuse me, but what the heck? When examples of real corruption over serious constitutional issues arise, the parliamentary opposition is silent. Minor scandals like this however, and they're all over them -- and regardless of your views of the propriety or otherwise of Field's helping would-be immigrants (and I do have mine), it is only a minor quibble. Minor things obsess Her Majesty's Opposition. Sign a painting you didn't do, throw a tennis ball, or have a nose to tail in a ministerial car, and this opposition are all over it like gonorrhea in an STD clinic.

However when serious constitutional issues arise such as taking Helen Clark to court over her misappropriation of public money in order to run for office, and the parliamentary opposition parties have this to say: "

. . . . . . . ." That's right. They're as quiet as a man who's just received a course of treatment at the STD clinic. It's somewhat enlightening about their priorities, wouldn't you say?

And what's this: The Nats don't just want to dob Field into the police for ... um ... well, they're not sure really, but on top of that they say they "might also alert other Government agencies ... to accusations that the MP used 'slave labour'."

Are they kidding? Have they looked at a dictionary? Let's check. Wikipedia defines "slave labour" as:
A condition of control over a person against their will, enforced by
violence or other forms of coercion. Slavery almost always occurs for the
purpose of securing the labor of the person concerned. A specific form, known as
chattel slavery, implies the legal ownership of a person or persons.

Did Field have any ownership at all over the Thai would-be immigrants? No. Did they paint and tile his house against their will? No. Did he coerce them? No -- and no one has adduced any evidence he did.

If there was any coercion of these would-be immigrants -- of the restless refuse of teeming Thai shores who were here and yearning to breathe free -- they found it in our absurdly restrictive immigration laws, which left their lives and families in limbo and gave anyone who chose to use it the whip hand over their lives. Instead of coercing them however, as immigration offficials eventually did, Field helped them. I for one have no problem with that. I do however have a problem with the immigration laws that made such help necessary, and that left them so desperate.

If there is one good thing that could come from all this, it is this: With our immigration laws on the table and presently under review, it might be time to realise that would-be immigrants are not cattle, they are human beings. Let peaceful people pass borders freely. With that policy in place, situations like those under discussion just wouldn't even occur.

LINKS: National gets tough on Field - NZ Herald
Darnton Vs Clark - trial website
Definitions for slave labour on the web - Wikipedia
Phillip Field - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)

TAGS: Immigration, Politics-NZ, Politics-National, Politics-ACT

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Springboks lose the game, but ...

The, ah, Springboks are playing the All Blacks this weekend. Out of courtesy I won't mention last week's 49-0 scoreline (a record routing).

I come instead offering advice: The Laka. This website allows you to put together a 'Lions Haka,' which as Tomahawk Kid says is taking the piss out of somebody. Perhaps the Boks could put together a Baka, so they might say, "We lost the game, but we won the Baka"?

It worked for the Lions. Didn't it.

LINKS: Put together your own British and Irish Lions haka: The Laka - Sure for Men

TAGS: Sport, Humour

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Theories about Winston

Foreign Minister Winston Peters can't talk about trade, since that's Phil Goff's job. That's just one theory for Winston's dummy-spitting yesterday: he needed to cut off McCain before they got on to a 'prohibited' subject.

And since Our Phil is also Defence Minister, presumably Winston can't talk defence either. The two important foreign policy issues for any government of New Zealand: free trade and defence. Both of the agenda.

So what did Winston find to talk to McCain and Condoleezza about? Did they swap drinking stories? Recipes?

Another theory for Winston's behaviour, one suggested by the Foreign Minister himself, is that the journalists gate-crashed his meeting with McCain (who in fact gave his permission for them to come in - "anything for New Zealand," said McCain) and were rude and pushy. Well, sorry Winston, that one doesn't fly either. American Senators learn at their mother's knee how to handle a rude and pushy press.

Perhaps it's Winston himself who needs lessons.

TAGS: Politics-NZ, Politics-World, Politics-Winston First


Photo Credit: Photo by Bettman/Corbis shows a classic press conference given by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Those two never had any difficulty handling a rude and pushy press.

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What Brash should have said about the Brethren

When challenged about the Brethren joining his campaign, Brash should have rejected the implied collectivism of lumping all the supporters of a campaign together as ideologically identical, and said exactly what Ronald Reagan said in similar circumstances:
"When people join my campaign, they are supporting me; I am not necessarily supporting them."
Of course, this advice is a little late for the most recent election, but as it came up in Parliament again yesterday, it may come in useful for someone.

TAGS: Quotes, Politics-National, Politics-NZ

QUOTE: "The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable, but a good thing..."

I mentioned yesterday in the debate about Charlie Pedersen's speech some pretty horrifying quotes from some relatively mainstream environmentalists. A commenter challenged me, arguing that mainstream environmentalism isn't as misanthropic as I've claimed.  So here, first of all, is what I said in response, and then you can read those quotes.  Prepare to be horrified.
It's manifestly clear that mainstream environmentalism doesn't put human beings first (indeed, quite the opposite), and values instead the so-called 'intrinsic values' of wild nature and natural processes over the human values of human wealth and happiness. In fact, this is characteristic of the 'deep ecology' mindset that is now mainstream. "Humans," says my commenter, "are important primarily in their capacity to provide stewardship for the eco-system." As Phil H. says in response, "Why?" We're primarily important because we get to sweep the rain forests and rake the beaches? Is that the real answer to the question, "Why are we here?"
If you want examples of mainstream ecologists who subscribe to a 'dep ecology' mindset, I could mention how mainstream environmentalists opposed the fighting of the fires that tore apart Yellowstone Park -- these fires were "natural" and so sacrosanct; I could mention the opposition by environmentalists to the harvesting of the Pacific yew from 1989 to 1997 in a bid to develop paclitaxel (Taxol), a revolutionary anti-cancer drug; or the local Green party's opposition to Ruakura's research to find a cure for multiple scleroris; or the worldwide opposition to the production of Golden Rice, which can help with third-world anaemia, blindness and death.
Or I could point out that mainstream environmentalists are happy to continue with the DDT ban, despite it not even being clear that DDT is toxic to birds as claimed, and despite the ban arguably being responsible for the deaths by malaria of around 55 million people. That's more than Mao Zedong managed to kill!
Or I could just offer you these views below from environmentalists within the mainstream, and that make clear that positions I've mentioned above are not surprising, given the mainstream environmentalist's view that human beings come second, at best. 
  • World Wildlife Fund leader Prince Phillip of England told the UN in 1990 he wished to be reincarnated as "a killer virus to lower population levels."
  • Honorable representatives of the great saurians of older creation, may you long enjoy your lilies and rushes, and be blessed now and then with a mouthful of terror-stricken man by way of a dainty. - A benediction to alligators by John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, quoted with approval as "a good epigram" by environmentalist Bill McKibben in 'The End of Nature' (New York: Random House, 1989) pg. 176
  • We have wished...for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us back into the stone age... - Environmentalist Stewart Brand in 'The Whole Earth Catalog' [Stewart might recently have seen the light, if his recent comments are anything to go by, that that "Over the next ten years ... the mainstream of the environmental movement will reverse its opinion and activism in four major areas: population growth, urbani­zation, genetically engineered organisms, and nuclear power."]
  • You think Hiroshima was bad, let me tell you, mister, Hiroshima wasn't bad enough! - Faye Dunaway as the voice of "Mother Earth/Gaia" in the 1991 WTBS series 'Voice of the Planet'
  • Given the total, absolute, and final disappearance of Homo Sapiens, then, not only would the Earth's Community of Life continue to exist but ... the ending of the human epoch on Earth would most likely be greeted with a hearty 'Good riddance!' - Paul W. Taylor, ethics professor at City University, NYC, in 'Respect for Nature' (Princeton Univ Press, 1989) pg. 115
  • If you'll give the idea a chance ... you might agree that the extinction of Homo Sapiens would mean survival for millions if not billions of other Earth-dwelling species. - The 'Voluntary Extinction Movement,' quoted by Daniel Seligman in 'Down With People,' in 'Fortune' magazine, September 23, 1991
  • The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable, but a good thing... - Editorial in 'The Economist,' December 28, 1988
  • A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people ... We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer... We must have population control ... by compulsion if voluntary methods fail. - Paul Ehrlich, 'The Population Bomb' (Ballantine Books 1968) pg. xi, pg. 166
  • ...Man is no more important than any other species ... It may well take our extinction to set things straight. - David Foreman, 'Earth First!' spokesman, quoted by M. John Fayhee in 'Backpacker' magazine, September 1988, pg. 22
  • I see no solution to our ruination of Earth except for a drastic reduction of the human population. - David Foreman, 'Earth First!,' quoted by Gregg Easterbrook in The New Republic, April 30, 1990, pg. 18
  • If radical environmentalists were to invent a disease to bring human populations back to sanity, it would probably be something like AIDS. - from a good old Earth First! periodical, quoted in 'Access to Energy,' Vol.17 No.4, December 1989
  • As radical environmentalists, we can see AIDS not as a problem but a necessary solution. - 'Earth First!' periodical, quoted in 'Planet Stricken' by Alan Pell Crawford and Art Levine, Vogue magazine, September 1989, pg. 710
  • I founded Friends of the Earth to make the Sierra Club look reasonable. Then I founded the Earth Island Institute to make Friends of the Earth look reasonable. Earth First! now makes us look reasonable. We're still waiting for someone to come along and make Earth First! look reasonable. - "Mainstream" environmentalist David Brower, quoted by Virginia Postrel in 'Reason' magazine, April 1990, pg. 24
  • We are not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free-flowing river, or ecosystem to mankind. They have...more value - to me - than another human body, or a billion of them...Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along. - David M. Graber, National Park Service biologist, in a review of Bill McKibben's 'The End of Nature,' in the Los Angeles Times Book Review, October 22, 1989, pg. 9
  • Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society...all potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing. - Herr David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth, quoted in 'The Coercive Utopians' by Rael Jean Isaac and Erich Isaac (1985 Regnery Gateway Inc.)
  • I got the impression that instead of going out to shoot birds, I should go out and shoot the kids who shoot birds. - Paul Watson, a founder of 'Greenpeace,' quoted in 'Access to Energy' Vol.17 No.4, December 1989
  • We, in the Green movement, aspire to a cultural model in which the killing of a forest will be considered more contemptible and more criminal than the sale of 6-year old children to Asian brothels. - Carl Amery of the Green Party, quoted in 'Mensch & Energie,' April 1983
  • A reporter asked Dr. Wurster whether or not the ban on the use of DDT would not encourage the use of the very toxic materials, Parathion, Azedrin and Methylparathion, the organo-phosphates, [and] nerve gas derivatives. And he said 'Probably'. The reporter then asked him if these organo-phosphates did not have a long record of killing people. And Dr. Wurster, reflecting the views of a number of other scientists, said 'So what? People are the cause of all the problems; we have too many of them; we need to get rid of some of them; and this is as good a way as any.' - Victor J. Yannacone, Jr., lawyer and co-founder of the Environmental Defense Fund, on EDF co-founder Dr. Charles Wurster, at a May 20, 1970 speech at the Union League Club in New York City. Published in the Congressional Record as Serial No.92-A of Hearings on Federal Pesticide Control Act of 1971, pg.266-267
  • Shit happens. They were in the croc's territory. - A commenter at 'Not PC' in response to the death of two human beings by crocodile attack.
TAGS: Environment, Conservation, Ethics, Quotes

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Seminole House - Alfred Browning Parker


The Seminole House by Alfred Browning Parker.

Parker was held in some esteem by Frank Lloyd Wright for "being an architect who fulfilled the elements of organic architecture -- meaning, says Parker, "that he took advantage of the environment and the materials when constructing his design" -- and now at 89 he's just adding another adjunct his career: teaaching.
For Parker, teaching just came along as a natural adjunct. "After you get old enough, they love to hear how you did it," he said. Although Parker has maintained many traditional styles of architecture in his works, his class will prove to be a little more on the non-traditional side. He plans to use the one-bedroom, one-bathroom home he is designing and building on Colclough Pond north of Williston Road on S. Main Street as a class laboratory. The focus of his profession is not teaching, Parker said. "It's building things."
LINK: Teaching outside of the box - Gainesville Sun

TAGS: Architecture

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pedersen slams religious environmentalism

NZPA: Fed Farmers chief slams environmentalists
Federated Farmers' president Charlie Pedersen today launched an extraordinary attack on environmentalists. "I say shame on the people who elevate environmentalism to a religious status, shame on you for your arrogance, shame on all of us for allowing the environmentalists' war against the human race to begin, and take hold," Mr Pedersen said yesterday...

Mr Pedersen claimed that environmentalism had taken on a religious status that competed with the formerly common practice of Christian public worship and young folk performing Christian missionary work.


Good on Charlie Pederson for attacking the environmentalists who put trees, rocks, sand dunes, snails and mud puddles ahead of human beings. A shame he later tempered some of his attack on 'Campbell Live' last night. A shame too he still thinks the RMA can be "improved"; and disappointing too he didn't mention how strong property rights protect both human liberty and the natural environment, and demonstrate that environmental values and human values need not be in conflict and show how harmoniously man and nature can co-exist.

But what he did say took some balls. As Liberty Scott says in response to Pedersen's speech:
The key difference between many ecologists and the likes of Pedersen (and myself) is that we don’t believe that preserving nature is, by itself, of inherently greater value than any other activity. After all, New Zealand would be a third world nature park if much of its land hadn’t been cleared for agricultural use. This is not a “pave the world” argument, it is moving from the extremism that says that (to borrow from Monty Python):

every tree is sacred,
every bird is great,
if a dune is built on,
Greens get quite irate.
.
every bush is wanted,
every swamp is good,
every bug is needed,
in your neighbourhood.
Are there really environmentalists that don't put humans first, I hear you ask, that put bugs, rocks and mud puddles ahead of human beings? Well, yes there are. As you might recall, we had a fairly fierce debate here some months ago about that subject, on the back of a post in which I argued for the importance of an environmental ethic that does put humans first. I later pointed out in an answer to a questioner the many environmentalists at the 'deep ecology' end of the spectrum who support statements such as those of David Graber, a US Parks Service biologist who declared on behalf of whom:
We are not interested in the utility of a particular species, or free-flowing river, or ecosystem to mankind. They have... more value - to me - than another human body, or a billion of them... Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.
Dont't doubt that Graber meant what he said. Don't doubt it -- just read some of those other environmentalists who support that view whom I quoted in that comment. [Scroll down to the post starting "Den, you said..." I promise you it's worth the effort.]

As I say here, I'm sure we can all embrace an "environmentalism ... that...eschews any idea of 'intrinsic values' or deep ecology, and embraces instead the idea of seeking and advancing those environmental values that support and enhance human life." A property-rights based environmentalism is such a beast.

Good reading on this important subject here:
LINKS: Charlie Pedersen: Full text of speech - Scoop
'Hysterical Greens' says Fed Farmers president - Liberty Scott
Quotes from deep ecologists - Comment in post:
Eaten by Absurdity, Not PC (Peter Cresswell) A new environmentalism: Putting humans first - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)

TAGS:
Environment, Ethics, Conservation, Politics-NZ, Objectivism

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Soccer training 'action': "Dive, dive, dive!"

Following on from yesterday's post showing action from the world's most libertarian sport (and incidentally the world's first modern form of football) here by way of contrast is a secret soccer training video demonstrating why so much of the action from every soccer game involves dozens of bodies rolling around on the ground clutching parts of themselves, and why a medical cure is usually so easily effected.

LINKS: Soccer injuries - Metacafe
Reasons to watch You Tube: Number one-hundred million - Not PC

TAGS: Sport, Humour

'Arab Times': "This war was invevitable..."

I noted the other day when I first commented on this Ayn Rand's point that the cure for the many, many problems of the Middle East is to put an end to tribalism. The answer of course is individualism; to begin -- somehow-- to see other human beings as other individuals instead of part of a tribe or collective. Not all Lebanese are identical or have identical views, and as I suggested the other day not all are against Israel's attacks on the Hezbollah positions -- which, in the way of cowards everywhere, have been placed within densely populated civilians areas with the sole intention of using other human beings as human shields.

And not all Arabs are against the Israeli attacks. The Arab Times for example says, with which I agree:
This war was inevitable as the Lebanese government couldn’t bring Hezbollah within its authority and make it work for the interests of Lebanon. Similarly leader of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has been unable to rein in the Hamas Movement. Unfortunately we must admit that in such a war the only way to get rid of “these irregular phenomena” is what Israel is doing. The operations of Israel in Gaza and Lebanon are in the interest of people of Arab countries and the international community.
Yes, they are. Those people killed by Israeli rockets and shells will not even be in a position to agree, but the responsibility for their deaths lies with the vermin who choose to bombard the citizens of another country, while using the citizens of their own as human shields.

LINKS: No to Syria, Iran agents - Ahmed Al-Jarallah, Arab Times
[Hat tip Laurence at Commentary South Africa]
Israel-Hezbollah: A war of self-defence - Peter Cresswell, SOLO


TAGS: Politics-World, War

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Phillip Field

Well, call me Not PC, but I really have no real problem with what Phillip Field is supposed to have done. The result of the inquiry is certainly one that conveniently avoids the possibility of an inconvenient by-election for Labour, but that on its own is no reason to condemn the man who seems 'guilty' of no more than helping out several individuals who were having troubles with Immigration officials.

Those people who think he was exploiting these poor tempest-tossed folk might like to have a look at a TV programme called (I think) 'Border Control' to see the utterly inhuman way these folk are regularly treated by the bullying scum who work for Immigration. As I said in my Cue Card on immigration, “God damn you if the only two words you can find to put together when talking about people who leave their homelands to seek a better life for themselves and their families are ‘illegal aliens.’” Those would be two of the nicer words used by immigration officials to describe these people seeking a better life.

Phillip Field -- who as Mangere MP would necesarily see more of the results of this bullying than most of us, and probably more than any other MP -- was at least able to see these people as human beings, and to find a non-sacrificial way to offer assistance. Good on him for that.

Personally I have more trouble with the bloody QC who was apparently paid nearly half-a-million dollars for the nine months he spent writing this report, and with immigration laws and officers who treat human beings like cattle.

LINK: Cue Card Libertarianism: Immigration - Not PC

TAGS:
Immigration, Politics-NZ, Politics-Labour

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Hell's Half-Acre?

An inundation of brutal murders has hit New Zealand in recent weeks. The savage death of poor Lois Dear seems just the most recent, and is altogether senseless.

What kind of animals are loose in New Zealand that a poor woman is murdered alone in her own classroom on a Sunday, when she's in there preparing for a new school term. What can her last minutes have been like for her? What animals killed and partially dismembered a man then dumped him on a beach; and what cluster of animals killed and are now covering up the slaying of their own twin babies. All in recent weeks. Where did these brutes come from that they can end the lives of good decent people, and of those with their whole lives still ahead of them.

And what about the horrors further afield -- the threats from North Korea; the murders in Mumbai, the people fleeing rocket attacks in Beirut and Haifa?

As I said in a piece I wrote at the end of 2001 when things seemed perhaps somewhat worse, "with a new outrage almost every day, picking up the newspaper each morning is becoming an act of courage."
What kind of bloody place is this where such unthinking, mindless brutes
exist that can do such things to other people? Of what use is it - we might ask
ourselves - to proselytise, to persuade and to philosophise when the newspaper
is full of new atrocities every time we pick it up? What use is philosophy and
reason when brainless brutality seems the order of the day?

Bertrand Russell once observed that "many people would sooner die
rather than think - in fact, they do so." If only, we lament, it were only the
wilfully mindless who were dying! But it's not - the bastards are taking others
with them before they go.
To anyone who feels that way now, I can only offer that piece to readers once again as any sort of salve. It helped me then to write it. It helps me now to have written it and to read it again: Hell's Half-Acre? Is that really where we're living?

LINKS: Hell's Half-Acre? - Peter Cresswell (13 Dec., 2001)

TAGS:
War, New_Zealand

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Congratulations Discovery!



Nothing celebrates human achievement like the conquest of space. Nothing.

Nothing shows man at his productive, achieving, rational best than sending several tons of high-tech materials and seven human beings up into space by means of a controlled explosion, and bringing it and they safely back down again.

To the Discovery team and the crew who returned successfully this morning, I salute you with a passage from Tennyson's tribute to the hero Ulysses.

Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

TAGS Science, Poetry, Heroes

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Jail time for sedition accused

Tim Selwyn attacked the Prime Minister's office window late one night as part of a muddled protest against the Foreshore and Seabed Act. No one was hurt, and nor were they intended to be. As a symbol, he chose to leave an axe embedded in the broken window as he and friends scattered pamphlets to explain the 'action.' The broken glass, explained the leaflets, was a symbol of Labour's broken promises; the axe apparently a symbol that related to the axe famously used by Hone Heke to cut down the Government's flagpole at nineteenth-century Waitangi.

As I said, it was all rather muddled.

Selwyn pleaded guilty to the charge of vandalism. On top of that, he was charged with sedition for the leaflets left at the site of the broken window, and also for five leaflets which were left in Ponsonby Rd as some sort of press release, and which sought to explain the 'action' for the media and to offer them some soundbites for their news reports later that day. Selwyn was charged with sedition for both sets of literature, being found guilty only of the 'press releases.' The offending line, the jury decided was the invitation for "like-minded New Zealanders to take similar action of their own." My own reports on all this can be found here. As Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn explained during the trial:
The definition [of sedition] is so broad as to criminalise virtually any criticism of the government. And historically, that is exactly how the law of sedition has been used in this country: as a tool of persecution for those whose political opinions were deemed "non-mainstream."
Today he was sentenced.

He received two months. Not for vandalism, but for sedition. Herald report here. On top of that:
Selwyn was jailed for a further 15 months ... on dishonesty charges, including obtaining passports, birth certificates, benefits and four Inland Revenue Department numbers under the names of dead people.
"The sentences," notes the Herald, "are to be served one after the other." Think what you will about the latter offences, but I don't know anyone else who's been jailed for that length of time for those sort of offences. There seems to be an element of vindictiveness in the sentencing. To paraphrase a line 'borrowed' by a commenter at Selwyn's blog:
Cornered the boy kicked out at the State...
the State kicked back
a lot fuckin' harder...
Tim Selwyn's friend Bomber Bradbury (yes, that Bomber Bradbury) concluded his own post on his friend's sentencing with this:
Let me end by saying that everyone makes mistakes, even though some would label Tim a hypocrite for attacking the state from the right wing, yet steal off it at the same time, I must say in his defense that the radical man he has become is very different from the radical young man he was.
Tim Selwyn has been jailed for sedition. I just thought that needed repeating. I'll leave you to think about the implications of that for political debate in this country. While thinking about it, you might want to ponder the comments of Idiot/Savant, which he ends with this rather mixed thought:
The worry now is that the police will use this law to crack down on "non-mainstream" political speech, exactly as they have done in the past. The only way to prevent that is by repealing the law. Hopefully we'll see some progress on that front soon.
More on that later.

LINKS: 'Sedition' posts at Not PC
A step backwards for freedom of speech - No Right Turn, Scoop
Jail for axe attack on PM's office - NZ Herald
Tim Selwyn - Tumeke!
Selwyn sentenced - No Right Turn (Idiot/Savant)


TAGS: Politics-NZ, Law, Free Speech

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It's open-mike night for George & Tony

If you haven't yet seen or head the video of Tony Blair and George W at the G8 summit discussing international events ... here's a transcript, courtesy of The Times. Videos are a little more difficult, but this site is loaded with them.

What's more difficult to find is intelligent journalistic commentary on this. For the site hosting the videos for example, this straight-talking is a sign of the curtain getting lifted from the "moral majority" act. Glory be but someone should call what Hizbollah is doing is "shit" when shit is what Hizbollah is clearly doing.

And the Times headline, which you can see below, is just more holier-than-thou shit-eating piousness from an all-too prissy journalist. The only "truth of the special relationship" that's revealed is that these two have one, and that it's one in which straight talking is clearly valued. Good for them, and for us. The semi-free world is all the better for that.

If more straight talking and such clear-headed thinking as is revealed here was more on show around the rest of the western world we'd all be a lot better off for that.

LINKS: Bush's open mike gaffe reveals truth of the special relationship - Times Online
Bush unplugged at the G8 over Middle-East conflict - Crooks and Liars
Disproportionate response - cartoon and commentary by Cox and Forkum

TAGS: Politics-World, War

Too many films!

The Auckland Film Festival. Like every year, there's an embarrassment of riches. And like every year I get a book with all the films, I trawl through it excitedly, I pick out with my highlighter all the great films I want to see, I start filling out the booking form listing all my films I want to see ... and then I realise there's no way I can afford the time and money to see 100 films. Bugger.

Anyway, if you have the time and money, get into it quickly. It's already halfway through.

LINK: Auckland International Film Festival

TAGS: Auckland, Films

Reasons to watch You Tube: Number 100 million

With "100m videos ... served up every day," notes the Herald, You Tube has just exploded:
Since springing from out of nowhere late last year, YouTube has come to hold the leading position in online video with 29 per cent of the US multimedia entertainment market, according to the latest weekly data from Web measurement site Hitwise.
If you've got Broadband and you haven't tried You Tube yet, it's immense. However obscure your obsessions, there's bound to be some easily downloadable video clip to match your appetite and enthusiasms.

For example -- and I know you'll all be very excited about this -- You Tube also has clips of all the best moments of AFL, the world's most libertarian sport. Have a look and see why:Oh yeah, and if you know the classic Alex Jesaulenko mark (right), Toyota have an hilarious 're-make.'

TAGS: Sport

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How Michelangelo Translates Touch to Sight - Michael Newberry

Another Newberry Mini Tutorial on art offers you another tip to help you understand how great artists express their genius.
In this month's tutorial, Michael Newberry discusses how Michelangelo draws not on what you would see but what you would touch. These Mini-Tutorials focus on one creative problem - whether it is about how to communicate a sense of touch or how to use rhythm to organize chaos. Michael will guide you to see the resolution. "To experience this tutorial fully," says Michael, "I need to ask you to humor me and get physically involved in it. In the privacy of your own home it should be fun."
The picture at right is a sketch in red chalk by Michelangelo -- a study of the figure of Haman for the Sistine Chapel, 1511 -- that Newberry uses in his Tut. Join him, and have some enlightening fun.

LINK: Mini-Tutorial: Michelangelo's Drawings: The Conceptual Transformation from Touch to Sight - Michael Newberry, Newberry Workshop

TAGS:
Art, History

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Monday, July 17, 2006

No thought on welfare

John Maynard Keynes is not dead; he's alive and well and being recycled at a blog near you (which wishes to remain anonymous) with 'ideas' such as this:
Welfare isn't paid out and then lost. It is one of the reasons we have near-full employment. It is guaranteed spending within the economy that props the economy up in bad times, and causes it to surge ahead in good times.
There are many ways to describe all the problems with this, but four words spring immediately to mind: politically and economically ignorant.

Do I really need to explain why? Two starting points if you want to work it out for yourself:
  1. "near-full employment" is not the way to describe nearly 300,000 people being on a benefit;
  2. taking from the productive to give to the unproductive does not "prop up the economy in bad times (though it might and has made the bad much worse, and the times in which bad happens more common), and it does not "cause [the economy] to surge ahead" in the good.
'Surging ahead' is not something done by the unproductive. It is something the productive do when the unproductive get out of their way long enough. You'd think some people might know better. In fact, if the unproductive truly realised how reliant they are on the productive, they might want to think about saying "Thank you" for being kept alive.

TAGS: Economics, Nonsense, Welfare

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Watching your money with your money -- another Tory success story

Generation XY asks several good questions about the National Socialists, and seven very bad ones (see if you can spot which is which).

The best question is this, which I paraphrase rather liberally: What's the morality of a party that starts, runs and funds a website opposed to the waste of taxpayer money -- tagline: "keeping an eye on your money" -- a website that's paid for with the very money money they're keeping an eye on: Yours.

Is there a name for this kind of dishonesty that uses only four letters? Can you put them all on an email and send it to the bloody Tories that organised this outrage and thought it might be smart? I'm sure you can: just do it, and email waste@wastewatch.co.nz.

And if you're wondering as Elliot is why no parliamentary party has had the balls to sue Helen Clark over her misappropriation of public money, it's because they've all of them -- every one -- got their bloody hands in your pocket.

UPDATE: You might notice that when Tories do pledge to cut taxes, they always neglect to mention cutting spending in order to do it. And you might notice too that when they do mention egregious waste, it's on the order of a $14,000 "plush lodge outing." As PJ O'Rourke notes, this is the kind of thing Tories always do.

You can read here how PJ would try to balance the budget and give tax cuts the size of Texas. The first secret is "to avoid looking for ridiculous examples of government waste."
This is the first mistake made by most budget critics. They page through the minutiae in the "Notes and Appendices to the U.S. Budget," sifting the "Detailed Budget Estimates by Agency" section until they come up with something like the Department of the Interior's Helium Fund. Which really exists:

The Helium Act Amendments of 1960, Public Law 86-777 (50 U.S.C. 167), authorized activities necessary to provide sufficient helium to meet the current and foreseeable future needs of essential government activities.

Then the budget critics grow very indignant or start making dull, budget-critic-type helium jokes.

The Helium Fund is amazingly stupid, even by government standards, but it only costs around $19 million -- .0015 percent of 1991 federal spending. [This guide] would be as large as the budget itself if I tried to balance that budget by eliminating Helium Funds. And, if you think about it, running a Helium Fund is just the kind of thing our politicians should be doing. It's much less expensive and harmful to the nation than most of what they do, plus, with any luck, they'll float away.

The other secret to balancing the budget is to remember that all tax revenue is the result of holding a gun to somebody's head...
Perhaps the apologists for a taxpayer-funded website exposing taxpayer-funded waste (a website that's all-too full of "dull, budget-critic-type helium jokes") might want to reflect on that.

LINKS: Top ten signs that National just doesn't get it - Generation XY
Waste Watch - National Party, via the tax payer
Libertarianz take action, while Don huffs and puffs - Elliot Who?
Would you kill your mother to pave I-95? - PJ O'Rourke

TAGS: Politics-National, Libz, Darnton v Clark