Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday morning ramble: The “First World Cup Point” edition

Aren’t we getting damn sick of everyone saying sorry?! As if a bland expression, a studied turn of phrase and a few well-timed tears can make up for (in BP’s case) several billion dollars worth of damage they’ve done to people’s livelihoods and property; and (in British PM David Cameron’s case) for the violent deaths of 14 people on a Bloody Sunday in Derry.
Or does it?
Still, the distaste over yet another hand-wringing apologia is well overtaken, still, in this part of the world, by the New Zealand soccer team managing to pull down their first ever World Cup point.  That pretty much puts into better perspective everything else that’s happened this week round here—a proposition you can test for yourself by casting your eye over what we’ve got for you in this week’s ramble round the ‘net.

  • The "“voluntary” deal between BP and the Obama administration was nothing less than a continuation of President Barack Obama’s ongoing assault on the rule of law. Capitalism only succeeds if it is a profit and LOSS system. Well-managed firms should have every right to keep their profits, but mismanaged firms must be allowed to suffer losses." [Thanks to reader Sally for the link]
    An Offer BP Couldn’t Refuse – MORNING BELL
  • But guess what?  Kris Sayce makes a strong case that it’s not BP that’s to blame for the disaster.  (Excuse me, did I say “disaster”? I should have said “annoyance.”) Don’t direct your anger at them, he says, direct it at where it lies … did someone say Tragedy of the Commons?
    Why the Oil Spill isn’t BP’s Fault – KRIS SAYCEImage
  • A further point: The federal government's paltry $75 million liability cap distorted the insurance market and played a key role in the BP disaster.
    The BP Gulf Disaster: the Proximate vs. the Ultimate Cause – PRINCIPLED PERSPECTIVE
  • The big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is bad enough in itself. But politics can make anything worse.
    In the Gulf and around the globe, rhetoric is no substitute for reality.
    Obama’s Snake-Oil Spill- THOMAS SOWELL
  • The damage of the BP oil spill is a drop in the bucket compared to the destruction of the Obama administration.
    This Future – STEPHEN BOURQUE
  • “The tragic explosion that killed 11 people and led to millions of gallons of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico has many people, even die-hard auto enthusiasts, arguing that we should undertake a crash program to find alternatives to petroleum to fuel our transportation system. While it is nice to fantasize that some sort of ‘race-to-the-moon’ research program will uncover magically new energy sources and technologies, realistically it isn’t going to happen.”
     Power for Future Mobility – Randal O’Toole, THE ANTI-PLANNER
  • Peter Schiff comments on the BP sage, Obama’s use of the BP saga, and where the bigger outrage should be about:
  • The inquiry report into the Derry massacre rips events from their historical context: the conflict between Irish nationalists and the British state.
    Bloody Sunday: history reduced to psychodrama  - Mícheál Mac Giolla Phádraig, SPIKED
  • The malignant, evil philosophy that blends religious hatred, tribalism and scape-goating has left Northern Ireland still full of many who think the poverty, desolation and decay of the region is due to what the ‘other side’ did….
    Bloody Sunday reprise  - LIBERTY SCOTT
  • Speaking of religious hatred, the proposal of imams to build a mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan has provoked both outrage and defence from Objectivists. Edward Cline says Islamists converting a building just a stone’s throw from Ground Zero makes it a “give America the finger” mosque--little more than the foreign-funded front for the expansion of jihad in America.
    Diana Hsieh reckons however that “people should not be judged guilty by the law and stripped of their rights just because they accept or advocate certain ideas… Totalitarian Islam is a major threat, but that threat needs to be fought by the military -- by destroying the states that sponsor terrorism -- not by violating private property rights in order to prevent a mosque from being built.”
    NYC Mosque: Respect Property RightsNOODLE FOOD
  • “If there is real evidence that the builders of the mosque actively plan to forcibly overthrow the United States government or harm its citizens, then they should be prosecuted and imprisoned by the government. I have seen no such evidence.”
    Let Them Build the Mosque  - ARI ARMSTRONG
  • A good time to listen (ore re-listen) to philosopher Leonard Peikoff’s podcast answering the question: “What is the proper U.S. policy in regard to Muslims, in light of recent events…?”
    What is the proper U.S. policy in regard to Muslims? – LEONARD PEIKOFF
  • This is, or could be, good news:
    An Anti-Terrorist Fatwa? – GUS VAN HORN
  • Oh dear.  Even Jon Stewart’s starting to make fun of Obama’s authoritarianism.

  • David Cameron’s Con-Dem Government has now confirmed that it is no more friendly to capitalism than the last one.
    Con-Dem anti-reason anti-business coalitionLIBERTY SCOTT
  • In Kentucky, they’re talking about an “Office of the Repealer.”  This is good.  Could we have one here please?  One with great big teeth—and a spine.
    Office of the Repealer - THRUTCH
  • While all attention locally, deservedly, is focussed on uncovering those with their snouts in the trough and their head in the clouds (yes, I’m talking about you, Len Brown)—looking at those who suck up hundreds of dollars of your money they shouldn’t be—the National Party appears to have cooked up a scheme to deliver millions of dollars,  4.8 million of them, to the two Samoan ex-All Blacks who just happened to help them get out some of South Auckland’s P.I. vote last election.
    The PEDA files ar looking more and more like plain old-fashioned corruption.
    Smelling worseNO RIGHT TURN
    Explosive: Pacific Affairs Ministry Warned of Risks and Implications(audio) – PACIFIC EYE WITNESS
  • No wonder National’s token Maori Georgina Te HeuHeu would rather go back into hiding, where she’s been for the last four parliamentary terms.
  • This is a point that simply can’t be made too often:
    Your Home is Not an Investment – David Lewis, TWIN TIER FINANCIAL
  • Paul Walker at the Anti Dismal blog links to a fascinating talk by Johan Norberg on the imminent prospect of new economic bubbles, especially in emerging markets.
    Just another consequence of bailouts, stimulunacy and cheap money.
    Johan Norberg on the Financial Crisis – ANTI DISMAL
  • “On top of the devastation it wreaked on markets, jobs and human lives, the global financial crisis has turned the field of economics, and particularly the study of finance, on its head.
    “Nearly three years after the crisis began, business school academics are sifting through the wreckage of long-held theories and developing new ideas.
    “Certainties about the healthy functioning of always-efficient, rational markets were shattered by the upheaval. B-school professors, along with their colleagues in university economics departments, are now rethinking models that businesses, investors and government saw as sacrosanct for decades.
    “Rewriting the textbooks and developing new approaches to replace those that no longer seem credible will be a long process.”
    But as Beth Gardiner reports, it looks like that process is under way… [thanks to reader Julian D.]
    Back to school: Economists rethink theories in light of global crisis – Beth Gardiner, WALL STREET JOURNAL
  • Screen-shot-2010-06-17-at-09.01.28 This is good.  Since the mid-fifties, the neoclassical synthesis in economics has harnessed Keynesian(Cambridge) and Neo-Classical (Chicago) into a mongrel melange beyond which textbook writers and central bankers simply can’t see.  Nonetheless, the world’s financial collapse—and the collapse with it of the mainstream economic model—it’s surely time now to admit that Austrian macro-economics should be admitted to the top table. (The article comes with this illuminating summary, right, of the differences and similarities of the three main schools.)
    Is there room for Austrian Ideas at the top table? – Toby Baxendale, COBDEN CENTRE
  • That trillions of dollars of Keynesian stimulunacy was followed by a nightmarish sovereign debt crisis was as inevitable as night following day.  Only somebody blinded by Keynesian nonsense could not have see it coming.
    And the even sadder fact, obvious again before the event, is that the greater the Keynesian stimulus the worse performing an economy was.
     Keynesian Fiscal Stimulus Policies Stimulate Debt -- Not the Economy  - J.D. Foster, HERITAGE FOUNDATION
  • After seventy years of intellectual rot created by the Keynesian delusion, Say’s Law is finally coming back. Not before time, since it describes the most fundamental integration in all economics.
    “They used to write that there is no such thing as a general glut. In today’s jargon, this would be: demand deficiency is never the cause of recession.
    “Or they would say that demand is constituted by supply. To translate this into modern discourse: to increase demand in aggregate it is first necessary to increase value adding supply in aggregate…
    ”The evidence that Say’s Law is an absolutely necessary part of any economist’s understanding of the world is everywhere to be seen. The lessons of Say’s Law will come back, it seems, rather quicker than many had thought it would.”
    Say’s Law is Coming Back – Steven Kates, CATALLAXY FILES
  • Investment guru Marc Faber looks at the economic future, and see’s a very ugly stepmother of a problem.  This is a lecture well worth an hour of your time. [Thanks to reader Ashley]
  • It’s always delicious when the politically correct opposes the politically correct, which is what has happened now that a new strain of genetically-engineered clover has been produced to lessen the production of greenhouse gases from cows. In other words, this is clover that will produce fewer farts, and (if you believe that line) less global warming. 
    A good test, you would have thought, for the earnest and the politically correct.
    And look: Greens leader Russel Norman fails the test completely; while erstwhile Greens leader Nandor Tanczos manages to fudge it with some mangled grammar. Russell Brown and Eric Crampton analyse.
    Clover It – RUSSELL BROWN
    Of GE and GE – ERIC CRAMPTON
  • Trevor Loudon has the biggest filing cabinets in the land, all filled to the brim with facts and figures on everyone who’s ever waved a red flag.  And he’s now putting them all online in his KeyWiki project. Latest targets:
    • Green Party co-leader and "former" Marxist, Russel Norman 
    • Race Relations Commissioner and "semi-respectable and oh so reasonable" Marxist, Joris de Bres
  • Oh, and several weeks after the media’s dog-and-phony show has moved on, we’ve finally discovered how the Ministry of Health made up that $1.9 billion cost for smoking they wafted around with such powerful political effect.  Turns out the phrase “made up’ isn’t just a metaphor.
    Excess excess costs of smoking – ERIC CRAMPTON
  • As both Britons and New Zealanders debate lowering blood-alcohol levels for drivers, Rob Lyons argues that reducing how much we can legally drink before driving is an imposition on our freedom that makes little difference to safety.
    Why we need a limit on drink-drive laws – ROB LYONS, SPIKED
  • Somalia continues to throw up questions for anarchists that David Friedman’s Machinery of Freedom is never going to be able to help them with.  Latest example:  What do you do when a competing “police agency” declares that watching soccer is “un-Islamic” and “a Satanic act,” and claps you in irons? 
    Still, Tim Blair has some good advice.
    Watch AFL instead TIM BLAIR
  • Different religion, same barbarity. “A South African man who wanted to watch a World Cup football match instead of a religious programme was beaten to death by his family in the north-eastern part of the country.”  Another piece of evidence for the ‘Those-Who-Believe-Absurdities-Will-Commit-Atrocities’ file. [Hat tip Imperator Fish]
    Man beaten to death over Socceroos match – STUFF
  • Crikey, here come the Bronte Sisters Power Dolls: the feminist super-hero version! [hat tip Noodle Food]

  • “Comments made by Nick Smith in 2005 highlight the monumental hypocrisy of the National Party. Back then, when the economy was booming they campaigned against a carbon tax stating that the country could not afford one, while now, in 2010, when the economy is emerging from the worst recession in years, they are claiming that the country needs one.”
    Nick Smith hypocritical? Who would have thunk it?
    Time to Make a Stand – MURIEL NEWMAN
  • Andrew Bolt rips warmist moonbat Tim Flannery a new one.
    Bolt: But, Tim, I’m just wondering, there has been a rise in scepticism. That’s precisely why the Liberals, for example, have switched from supporting an ETS to opposing it ... and they dumped their leader over it. Now I’m wondering to what extent are you to blame for rising scepticism about some of the more alarming claims about global warming…”
    Flannery vs Bolt transcriptANDREW BOLT
  • It’s the Power of Glenn Beck again.  Check out the AMAZON TOP 100, and count just how many of the Top 21 can be attributed to Beck.  (Okay, I’ll count them for you. it’s eight.)
    Little wonder he’s being called “the new Oprah Winfrey.”
     Glenn Beck Overturns The World Of Book Publishing  - MEDIA ITE
  • 0 And after his re-launch of Hayek’s ‘Road to Serfdom’ last week on his TV show, this week he attempted the same with Atlas Shrugged.  Unfortunately, however, his verbal diarrhoea got in the way.  Still, the Ayn Rand Institute’s Yaron Brook did manage to inject a few word into parts three and four of the fifty-minute programme.  Well, one or two.  And it did lift Atlas back into number on spot on Amazon’s ‘Fiction’ and ‘Classics’ list, and number fifteen overall.
  • Jane Eisenhart has a few thoughts on Glenn Beck's interpretation of the importance of fiction writers, in particular Ayn Rand…
    Glenn Beck on Fiction – HOMETOWN GROTESQUE
  • Speaking of great books, C. Bradley Thompson’s Neoconservatism: An Obituary For An Idea has been InstaPunditted. If you remember the summary I gave of it here at NOT PC, you’ll realise that this is a book you need to read, especially if you think conservatism is your friend.
    Neoconservatism: An Obituary For An Idea – AMAZON
    The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism - C. Bradley Thompson, The Objective Standard
    Summary at NOT PC:
  • And speaking of Hayek, here’s a great interview he gave with Reason Magazine back in 1992, just after the “late 20th century decided to provide a reality check” on all those academic scribblers who’d been ignoring him since the thirties. [Thanks to reader Falufulu Fisi for the link]
    The Road from Serfdom: Forseeing the Fall - REASON
  • Clearly, productive work can and ought to be personally fulfilling. But where does this put one’s career in comparison to one’s personal relationships?
    The Spiritual Value of Work – Daniel Casper, THE UNDERCURRENT
  • Looks like Argentine coach and living legend Diego Maradona has found a new use for those annoying vuvuzelas [sent in by reader Russell W.] :
    MaraVuvu
  • Frank Furedi explains why he will always stand up for permissiveness—and why you should too.
    Why I will always stand up for permissiveness – FRANK FUREDI, SPIKED
  • Struck down by his own thunderbolt?! You’d think God would take better care of himself, really.
    Oh Dear, Goblinites! – LINDSAY PERIGO
  • There’s a far more intelligent Peter Cresswell blogging in Canada. His latest post is a reflection that the standard interview question, “Give an example of a mistake you’ve made,” is actually a valuable opportunity for self-reflection.  So much so the answer may be more valuable to you than it is to the person asking it.
    I Was Wrong – Peter Cresswell (another one), PUNISHED BY REWARDS
  • Is love a zero-sum game? Well, no.  Not really.
    Is Love a Zero-Sum Game? – JASON STOTTS
  • The Atlas Shrugged movie has begun filming ... and already people are less than pleased.
    Atlas Shrugged Movie Filming – NOODLE FOOD
  • One of those people is not Lew at KiwiPolitico, however. He’s looking forward to seeing Grant Bowler, who played Wolf in NZ TV show Outrageous Fortune, as Hank Rearden! Certainly not the news I expected to hear this morning! (For my American readers, Outrageous Fortune was the NZ TV series that you guys made into ‘Good Behaviour,’ and then ‘Scoundrels.’ Though without the class.)  Bowler is the convict with the beard.
  • And finally, I don’t know about you but I’m really looking forward to Freddy Kempf playing the Rach 3 with the NZSO tomorrow night at the Town Hall.  And here he is last year in Sweden, playing that very thing, under the NZSO’s own conductor-in-chief Pietari Inkinen. (Bad visuals, too many cuts, but too serendipitous a find not to post.)

  • And just for Terry, here’s ‘The Moldau’ by Bedrich Smetana—who, coincidentally, was born in what is now Slovakia!  UPDATE: No, of course he wasn’t.  He was born in Litomyšl, Bohemia, which is still in the Czech republic.
  • And Wagner’s ‘Forest Murmurs’ (for which, you’ll need to turn your sound up):

Enjoy your weekend
PC

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‘Roll it’ experimental housing - University of Karlsruhe

1274297030-741-750-500-528x352 Here’s another variation on the theme of small and adaptable spaces.

1274297036-678-750-500-528x352 This time, rather than sliding panels cunningly designed to tranform a 32sqp apartment into 24 different layouts, we have an experimental house that transforms the space by rotation.

1274297037-681-687-500-528x384 Sort of in the way a hamster might do it.

1274297031-666-800-406-528x267

But this is way more ingenious than a hamster could do.

For more on the house, check out the story and pictures at Arch Daily [hat tip NZ Wood].

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

The schadenfreude of the postmodern president

"Politician's logic: We must do something. 
This is something.  Therefore, we must do it."
            - from Yes Minister! by Antony Jay & Jonathan

Obama told the American nation last night that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will change politics as much as 9/11 changed foreign affairs.

There is one respect in which that is right.  It has permanently burst the bubble of President Hope-And-Change, the man who boasted that just by his nomination, the oceans would lower and the world would begin to heal. Now, in the words of Tim Minchin (writing at TIA Daily), “he can't even prevent them from carrying the spill of a single oil rig.”

Obama, meet schadenfreude.
The bubble is bursting for him not because he has disappointed real expectations but because he dealt in unreality all along, and his followers are betrayed because the unreal is the unreal and never had any value….
    “Obama…promised a world where the government can control everything. Like [Kevin] Rudd since the failure of [Australian] cap-and-trade, he will not even be able to control his own followers when the truth of his impotence over the Gulf oil spill stands fully revealed.”
Every president has a defining moment.  Washington’s moment was his stepping down after two terms “to head back to the plough,” setting a precedent that every subsequent president (but one) then followed. Lincoln’s moment was signing the Emancipation Proclamation into law, giving  meaning to six years of carnage. And Jimmy Carter’s, of course, was his endless hand-wringing over the Tehran hostages.

The defining moment of Obama’s presidency, the moment when his balloon really began deflating, may well turn out be his tantrum over the oil spill—yelling “Plug the damn hole” as if his anger by itself could create metaphysical change. That was the moment at which the post-modern president confronted the reality that his whole charade was designed to conceal, especially to his supporters and even to himself: that reality doesn’t respond to threats.  That was the inconvenient truth his post-modern presidency hadn’t bargained for, and it deserves to be his epitaph, and that of the Postmodern Left, of which both Kevin Rudd and Obama are (or were) standard-bearers. It’s important to understand why an oil spill is so uniquely damaging to the aura of the Postmodern Left:


Barack Obama and Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd both belong to a new class of leftist leaders: postmodern ones [explains Tim Michin]. This distinguishes them from either the Old Left or the New Left. The Old Left (led by men like Franklin Roosevelt) were class-warfare-focused but claimed to believe in economic progress: they said they wanted a modern world with the government in control of the means of production. The New Left (the hippies and their contemporary descendants, the Greens) witnessed the failure of that socialist/fascist ideal in every country it was tried and, in bitterness, threw economic progress overboard to adopt a policy of living at the mercy of nature.
    “Unsurprisingly, the New Left failed to attract wide support. Its contempt for human survival was too apparent. Thus the postmodern left was born. The Postmodern Left combines a thirst for an ever-growing centralized government power with cunning levels of disguise to appear to be all things to all men. Hostility to science is wrapped in the language of science (global warming theory). The shackling of capitalism is dressed up as saving it (the stimulus packages). Hostility to US predominance is dressed up as a desire for a new world order in which US strength is ‘restraint.’ In fact, under all its disguises, the postmodern left believes in nothing but power for itself and the weakening of the institutions of the West.”
Power.  The Postmodern Left promised power could do all things.  If you ask, “Why is it the president’s job to deal with the oil spill?” then the answer has to be that his own all-encompassing power-lust made it so. His will to power makes his micro-managing of the crisis necessary. But the nature of the crisis reveals his impotency.

You see, power over men is not the same thing as power over nature. What the oil spill and its still unfolding aftermath reveals is that the power the postmodern left seeks for its own sake is well able to issue threats and to throw tantrums, but utterly impotent to effect reality. Threats, however powerfully delivered, just don’t work against a gushing oil well.
The spectacle of watching an actual physical fact of reality playing out before this kind of mindset is both humorous and tragic [explains Doug Reich at the Rational Capitalist]. After all, there is no option in the leftist playbook for dealing with a fact of reality. Can Obama pass a law forbidding the oil to leak? The oil can't be put in prison. Can he expropriate BP's cash or imprison the BP executives? BP needs money to pay for the clean up and he needs the technical know how of the company. Can he convene a panel of experts and central planning apparatchicks? He has appointed an oil cleanup czar which Matthews and Olbermann rightly excoriate as ‘a lot of blue-ribbon talk’ accusing Obama of being a mere ‘Vatican observer’ and threatening to ‘barf’ if he mentions the Nobel prize credentials of his Secretary of Energy again. In other words, they recognize this is all talk and no action.
    "Yet, the oil continues to spill.”
And threats are all they have as a remedy.

So ends the aura of the post-modern president.  Not with a bang, but with a gusher.

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Get yer vuvus out!

As a guide to your Soccer World Cup pleasure and enjoyment, here are a few tips on using your uniquely versatile vuvuzela.

VuvuHumour

More vuvu humour here.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Socialist Studies at Avondale College

Guest post by Paul Van Dinther

If you thought that socialist brainwashing only happens in American schools, think again. It happens right here today under our very noses.  Avondale College, for example, where my 14-year-old son attends and is subjected to "Social Science" class—more accurately called "Socialist Studies." If you want single-sided socialist  indoctrination, this appears to be the place to come.

My son has grown up in a family with a healthy level of scepticism towards whatever the media dishes up, and my own critical views towards global warming feature regularly at the dining table. A few weeks ago, however, he messaged me that the class was being required to watch Al Gore’s thoroughly discredited film Inconvenient Truth as a lead-up to an assignment on the Kyoto Protocol. (And by “thoroughly discredited,” I mean to a High Court standard.)

My son's critical mind kicked in immediately, and he asked if they would also show The Great Global Warming Swindle as a counterbalance to Gore’s propaganda, but his request was dismissed, except to say it might, may, could, perhaps be shown after the assignment was handed in. Maybe. Several other students voiced equally critical comments about the single-sided view on global warming being presented, which was promptly silenced by a 3 page handout full of highly technical counter-arguments against global warming scepticism. These pages were handed out without either comment or discussion. We now wait with bated breath to see how his assignment will be marked.

But they are not done yet. Today again, another message. This time the class is being shown the controversial and equally one-sided The Story of Stuff—a twenty-minute polemic against capitalism of which Michael Moore would be embarrassed. Already thoroughly exposed, and even banned in at least one State of the US, it is still still apparently suitable to be shown in New Zealand’s compulsory Socialist Studies classrooms, without any opposing views being allowed. Once again a single-sided view is presented.

I don't mind having long-established views challenged, as it only serves to test our own, but this is not a fair fight. This is not learning or education, it is indoctrination pure and simple. Kids in schools are highly impressionable, and this uncritical barrage of indoctrination from those whose wisdom our children are supposed to respect is so overwhelming, and so slanted, that it looks like nothing so much as taking advantage of those that teachers have within their control. One from which only impressionable young kids with careful parent guidance will be able (we hope) to emerge with their thinking matter intact.

It is a type of child abuse of the mind. And the worst of it is, I actually am forced to pay for the brain damage being inflicted.

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Should we stop bagging the Aussies now?

Yeah, I know we like bagging Aussies, but the fact is it’s not reciprocal.

When Australia got thrown out of the 1995 Rugby World Cup quarter-final by an England drop goal and NZ played England the next week in the semi-final, to a man and woman my West London Australian football team and accompanying WAGs were cheering as loudly as I was when Jonah Lomu ran over Mike Catt and the rest of the English rugby team. (And their after-match haka in the main street of Bath had as much enthusiasm as even Pita Sharples would hope for, if not any finesse.)

I’ll wager something similar was happening across the Tasman last night and this morning.  (Well, maybe without the haka.)  I’ll bet that while we NZers were getting excited about Germany kicking Aussie arse, Aussies were getting excited in a more positive way about the All Whites’ success, and were just thrilled as we were when in the last minute they won our first point in World Cup history.  (It’s a bit like seeing your little brother do well, I guess.)

So to test that theory, here’s a selection of last night’s match reports from a suite of Aussie news rags:

FROM villain to hero, Winston Reid did for New Zealand what no one could do for Australia. ..

 

And here’s a poll from Melbourne’s Herald Sun:

Poll
And this was their teaser on the main page:

BitOfAllWhiteSo maybe we should stop bagging the big feller, huh?  Well, maybe not so much anyway.

Finally, in related news, German engineers develop a Vuvezela-blocker for your lounge, and England fans? Well, they’ve been developing their own vuvuzelas for their next game:

UK Vuvuzella

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DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: The Crying Game

_richardmcgrathLibertarianz  leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories and headlines on issues affecting our freedom.

This week: The Crying Game

Looks like Len Brown is sorry someone decided to check his credit card spending. If he cried about being outed over an $810 dinner, the documentation from which appears to have be conveniently hazy, he’s going to be inconsolably hysterical over the remaining $17,000 which he slapped on the card over the past three years.

Then there is Damien O’Connor, reliving the car ride of killer Mark Lundy by taking a $700 taxi journey from Wellington to Palmerston North. Like Lundy, O’Connor remembers nothing of the trip.

tics01 The poisoned chalice is next passed to Rick Barker in recognition of his $461 lobster dinner and hotel movies in New Orleans. Meanwhile Chris Carter leads the media on a treasure hunt around the Beehive. What marvellous entertainment! Isn’t it fabulous watching these vermin twist and wriggle? Great days indeed.

Sometimes it’s better to laugh at your enemies, lest you risk becoming bitter and twisted. So, to hopefully brighten up your day, here is some humour on the subject of politics which I gathered up yesterday:

Honesty in politics is light on oxygen; the higher up you go, the scarcer it becomes.

***

The trouble with political jokes is that they get elected.

***

tics02Crime is politics without the excuses.

***

Definition of politics: poly as in many; and tics as in small, blood-sucking parasites.

***

Put politicians in their place – the local landfill!

***

There’s been a report of a fire in the library of Opposition MP Parekura Horomia. Sadly, both books were lost. Sadder still, he hadn’t finished colouring in one of them.

***

Electoral slogan: Make Your MP Work – Don’t Re-elect Him.

***

Political leaders never seem to have the answers until they write their memoirs.

***

Yes, power corrupts – but isn’t that what it’s for? 
[attributed to Chris Carter]

***

John Key and Bill English are in a restaurant, hopefully using their own credit cards. The waitress asks if she can take their order. Bill leans close to her and says: “Honey, can I have a quickie?”   The waitress glares at him, gives him a brief lecture on feminism, tells him she’ll never vote National again, and stomps off.  “Bill,” says John Key, “it’s pronounced quiche.”

***

Two politicians are having lunch together. All of a sudden one stands up and shouts: “You’re lying.”

“I know,” replies the other. “But just hear me out.”

***

John Boscawen went into Rodney Hide’s office and found him whooping and hollering.
“What’s the matter, boss?” asked John.
“Nothing at all,” said Rodney. “I’ve just finished this jigsaw puzzle here in record time.”
“How long did it take you?” asked John.
“Well,” said Rodney, “it took me a month, but on the box here it says 3-5 years.”

***

Years ago, Winston Peters decided to take his mother riding on his friend’s farm as a belated Mother’s Day present. Apparently she lasted three hundred metres before her legs gave out.

***

It takes four politicians to change a lightbulb – one to actually replace it, and three others to deny what just happened.

***

It doesn’t take any Marxists to change a light bulb, because the light bulb contains the seeds of its own revolution.

***

A burglar broke into the Beehive one night and pushed a knife against the chest of a well-dressed man in one of the corridors.
“Give me your money,” he demanded.
“Hang on a minute,” said the well-dressed man, “don’t you know who I am? I’m a senior government minister.”
“In that case,” said the burglar, “give me MY money.”

***

At a church fair, the local MP was served a glass of punch with a warning that it was spiked. The reverend standing behind him said “I would rather commit adultery than allow alcoholic liquor to pass my lips.”  Hearing this, the MP poured his glass back into the punchbowl, explaining to the hostess “I didn’t know we had a choice.”

***

A backbencher was asked about his attitude toward whiskey.
"If you mean the demon drink that poisons the mind, pollutes the body, desecrates family life, and inflames sinners, then I'm against it."
"But if you mean the elixir of Christmas cheer, the shield against winter chill, the taxable potion that puts needed funds into public coffers to comfort little crippled children, then I'm for it.
This is my position, and I will not compromise!"

***

Peter Dunne took three of his supporters on an aeroplane flight over the Ohariu Valley, along with a sackful of taxpayer money. The first supporter said, "I will make someone happy!" and throws a ten dollar note off the plane.”
The second supporter said, "I will make five people happy!" and throws 5 ten dollar notes off the plane.
The third supporter said, "I will make 500 people happy!" and throws 500 ten dollar bills off the plane.
Then Peter Dunne says, "Watch this guys, I will make the whole world happy … " and threw the pilot off the plane.

***

When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the government
fear the people, there is liberty.
Thomas Jefferson

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‘Glad Day’ – William Blake [update]

38 Glad Day, print from engraving, 11”x8”,
also known as The Dance of Albion or Albion Rose

"This above all," Polonius advised his son, "To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man."

Good advice. Advice encouraging us to look within, to find and kindle our own spark, the thing that makes us who we are; that "divine presence within" of which William Blake once spoke.

It is the very beginning of becoming an individual who values their liberty.  The same spirit that makes a bunch of soccer players from the edge of the world want to test themselves against the best in the world, no matter the result.**

William Blake himself was what you might call an untrained artist—a Renaissance Man who conquered poetry, illustration, engraving, draughting, writing and painting—and he had that same spirit himself, in spades.

In the mythical story of the founding of Britain, Albion was a Giant son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. In Blake’s complex mythology, Albion is the primeval man—the man from whom the human spirit flows.

* Of course, being a print the final finish can vary hugely, e.g.,

Blake.Albion WilliamBlake-Albion-Rose-1794-95

** UPDATE: And what a result!  “Winston Reid scores in the final seconds of extra time on Day 5 of the World Cup to pace New Zealand to a 1-1 tie with Slovakia at Royal Bafokeng Stadium…” and go equal top of their group!!  A glad day for sure!! Go New Zealand!!! Woo hooo!!!! 

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Increased unemployment. Still no recovery.

A few months ago the government made a very great deal indeed about a fall in the unemployment figures, even though

a) they made them up, and
b) youth unemployment was still soaring, and
b) the real reason for the “drop” was that 7,198 people left an unemployment benefit in February to go on the student allowance.

The massaging of the figures was as transparent as the American trick of subtracting temporarily-hired census-workers from their unemployment numbers.  Nonetheless, the “dramatic drop” her department had engineered allowed Social Development Minister Paula Bennett to enthuse about a “recovery,” Alan Bollard to start raising interest rates, and Treasury to start pretending the NZ economy was going to grow at around three percent over the next year.

So what are they all saying now that the latest unemployment figures show unemployment is still rising (up 329 to 60,106)?  That total benefit numbers are rising even faster (up 1887 to 329,349, about one in every eight New Zealanders of working age)? Are they conceding their earlier errors?  Are they admitting that talk of a “recovery” is premature, if not pure fantasy? Are any of them admitting they were wrong?

No, of course not.  The spin this quarter is that we should all be happy that nearly 2000 more people are now on a benefit because this increase remains “below forecast.”

What a lot of cant.

Still, no-one’s using that word “recovery.”  And it’s been a long time since I’ve head anyone say “green shoots.”

Unless they’re laughing when they say it.

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The Gaza Flotilla Choir presents: “We Con the World”

A classic song from Gaza’s Peace Faux-Tilla [hat tip Prodos]:

Classic tune.   Classic chorus:

We’ll make the world
Abandon reason.
We’ll make them all believe that the Hamas
Is Momma Teresa.

If you enjoyed that, you’ll enjoy Craig Biddle’s new piece in ‘The Objective Standard.’

_Quote It considers the essentials of the recent ‘peace activist’ effort to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the pathetic nature of Israel and America’s responses to the assault, and the principles that should have governed their responses.”

Read it here: “Israel and America’s Flotilla Follies (and How To Avoid Them in the Future)

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In the trough: Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

Almost the whole mountain of available paperwork on the country’s biggest beneficiaries has just been released to the public, with the request that you join in and help the media to sniff out all the rorts of all the Ministers in all 16,522 pages.  There’s guidance from both Idiot/Savant and David Farrar:

_Quote Start here, click to get a random Minister's file, page back and forth within it (or just download the whole thing), then when you're done, mark it as not interesting or worthy of further investigation. (Note: if you're not sure what's allowable or not, check out schedule 2 of the Travel, Accommodation, Attendance, and Communication Services Available to Members of the Executive).”

And Whale Oil has just released into the wild 74 pages of bank statements and expense claims from Auckland mayoral wannabe Len Brown that you can trawl through to your heart’s content to see just how he likes spending your money on himself.

So for full completeness now, from all the higher-profile trough-dwellers, all we’re missing now is the same thing showing us Bob Parker’s and John Banks’s own similar spending over that same period.  Anybody on the hunt for that? Conor…? Mike…? Anyone…?

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Rolling, rolling, rolling: The Treaty gravy train is still rolling

As usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to; so tyranny is
the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have a right to.”
            - John Locke

The Foreshore & Seabed deal is complicated enough already without Hone Harawira muddying its far from pellucid waters.  But bear in mind that when Hone complains the government has “pandered to rednecks” and he calls the agreement “bullshit” [audio] he’s just playing politics with you.  He just wants mainstream New Zealanders* to think his tribalists have been shafted so they won’t look too deeply into what’s just been given away.

Hone is obviously upset that the government has (quite properly) refused to make a gift to iwi of that which they were previously required to go to court to prove. From Lew at KiwiPolitico (who, it seems, agrees with Hone):

_Quote “‘[The government, says Hone] took the two things which would make Pākehā happy and refused to give the one thing which would make Māori happy.’
“The two things are guaranteed public access and inalienability [clarifies Lew]; the one thing is Māori title.”

I disagree.  I’d say the government got one thing right and several things wrong. But I’d go further. In opening the door for iwi to make a form of common law claim to property in specific tracts of foreshore or seabed, on that at least the government has done well. This would be using power to recognise right. So too would have been recognising the right to alienate (sell) that to which title had been proved. On that, the government has done poorly.  That too would have been using power to protect right.

What Hone wants “mainstream” New Zealand to overlook however is what has been given beyond right.

The devil seems to lie in what changed between yesterday and the government’s offer last month to allow this deal to happen. There appear to be two new things handed over:

  1. A unjustified declaration in law that Maori have mana over the foreshore and seabed.
       The universal recognition or mana tukuiho--“recognition for all iwi with a coastal connection, whether or not they meet the test for customary title”—will “cite iwi and hapu with specific coastal areas,” says the Herald, spelling out out “to councils and other statutory organisations what rights the recognised iwi and hapu have on conservation issues in their area.”
    In other words, the door has been opened now to grant Maori leaders a “partnership” in law that the Treaty itself never promised, but which the myth-makers have been agitating for for at least two decades. 
    A form of partnership that will make a gift to iwi of unspecified political power over aquaculture operations, minerals claims, harbours, ports, airports and more.
    A gift that has just opened the door to a world of trouble.
  2. “The Government also agreed [says the Herald] that iwi which have already had a Treaty of Waitangi settlement can make a new claim for customary title in the foreshore and seabed.”
    So much for all those “full and final” settlements too, eh?

And so much for one law for all.

So the scorecard to me on yesterday’s agreement looks like one step forward, and three back.  And in every direction, these are big steps.

The gravy train is still rolling.

* * * *

* Yes, Virginia, it’s now PC to use the “mainstream” word.  You now have Aunty Tariana’s permission.

UPDATE: Dim Post has a similar view of Hone’s politicking.

_QuoteThis is just cynical politics: Harawira’s censure is beneficial to National – it’s voters hate him and see his anger as an indication that their party has done the right thing. And it lets the Maori Party pretend it has at least one member who speaks for those who don’t like their coalition choices which is obviously not the case.”

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“Only a few dozen” IPCC “experts” support their so-called consensus [update 3]

In his widely reported attack on climate change skeptics last week, John Key’s Chief Science Adviser Propagandist for Global Warming Zealotry Peter Gluckman conceded that he himself is “not a climate scientist…

_Quote_Idiot But suffice to say that I accept the weight of evidence that anthropogenic climate change is real and at some time in the not too distant future there will be significant impacts. This is the consensus view reached by every credible scientific body that has examined the question.”

He went on to insist again yesterday, in response to further criticisms of his non-scientific tirade, that there is “an international scientific consensus that the world is warming,” so skeptics should essentially just go away and shut the hell up.

But as I asked last week after his outburst,  if the science is truly settled, then why has the IPCC felt the need to manufacture evidence, and the government scientists on which it relies felt the need to massage data and alter temperature records? To have departed from science so severely “that they have become advocates for one particular set of hypotheses, and have become militant fighters against all others”?

If the case is closed, then why has a cross examination of global warming science conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Law and Economics just concluded that virtually every claim advanced by global warming proponents fails to stand up to scrutiny?

If there is a scientific consensus, then why has Britain’s Royal Society of scientists, of which I believe Professor Gluckman is a member, just released a statement saying quite explicitly that “any public perception that science is somehow fully settled is wholly incorrect.”

In fact, in his own words Professor Gluckman places this so-called “consensus” above the scientific evidence itself—as you can see if you read his original speech—but even as he insists that politicians and the news media talk only about this so-called consensus, instead of those who point out its non-existence, he concedes that “the [consensus] conclusions are not universally accepted.”

So at the same time he submits the so-called consensus is his strongest argument, at the same time he agrees that the consensus itself is not universal.

In fact, as the Royal Society points out, the “consensus conclusions” are not even so widely accepted as Professor Gluckman would like us to think—not even by the IPCC, upon whose pronouncements he wishes us to rely. As a prominent IPCC insider has declared unequivocally in the last few days, the IPCC consensus on climate change is phoney.

_Quote The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming, according to Mike Hulme, a prominent climate scientist and IPCC insider.  The actual number of scientists who backed that claim was ‘only a few dozen experts,’ he states in a paper for Progress in Physical Geography, co-authored with student Martin Mahony.
    “‘Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous,’ the paper states unambiguously, adding that they rendered “the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism.’
    “Hulme, Professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia –  the university of Climategate fame — is the founding Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and one of the UK’s most prominent climate scientists. Among his many roles in the climate change establishment, Hulme was the IPCC’s co-ordinating Lead Author for its chapter on ‘Climate scenario development’ for its Third Assessment Report and a contributing author of several other chapters.
    “Hulme’s depiction of IPCC’s exaggeration of the number of scientists who backed its claim about man-made climate change can be found on pages 10 and 11 of his paper, found here.”

No wonder so many many once celebrated climate researchers are now feeling like the used-car salesmen of the science world—and that Professor Gluckman feels called upon to step in and defend them.

UPDATE 1 [9:52am, Tue]: If you’re near a radio, Leighton Smith at NewstalkZB will be interviewing the Pennsylvania law professor responsible for the cross-examination mentioned above at 10:30 this morning.  Listen in at the NewstalkZB website if you can’t get near a radio. (And I’ll try to get an audio link up as soon as I can.)

UPDATE 2: Here’s the audio link for Leighton’s interview with Jason Scott Johnston, Professor and Director of the Program on Law, Environment and Economy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, who found in his cross-examination of global warming science that “on virtually every major issue in climate change science, the [reports of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] and other summarizing work by leading climate establishment scientists have adopted various rhetorical strategies that seem to systematically conceal or minimize what appear to be fundamental scientific uncertainties or even disagreements.”  In short, that “it doesn’t withstand scrutiny.”

The interview starts at 35:20: “Interview with Professor Jason Scott Johnson

UPDATE 3: A related point made by Andrew Bolt:

    “But this raises the question: how easy is it for such a small group [or a senior science adviser] to become slaves of group think - or, indeed, to become intoxicated with their enormous and flattering influence on …politics?
    “In 2006, Professor Edward Wegman raised this very fear in his report, commissioned by the United States House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee to examine the IPCC’s discredited “hockey stick”, devised by Michael Mann, which purported to show unprecedented warming last century:

_Quote One of the interesting questions associated with the ‚"hockey stick controversy’ are the relationships among the authors and consequently how confident one can be in the peer review process. In particular, if there is a tight relationship among the authors and there are not a large number of individuals engaged in a particular topic area, then one may suspect that the peer review process does not fully vet papers before they are published…
    ‘However, it is immediately clear that the Mann, Rutherford, Jones, Osborn,
                   Briffa, Bradley and Hughes form a clique
, each interacting with all of the others. A     
                   clique is a fully connected subgraph, meaning everyone in the clique interacts
                   with every one else in the clique....
                   ‘Michael Mann is a co-author with every one of the other 42 [in his clique]. The
                   black squares on the diagonal [fig. 5.2] indicate that the investigators work
                   closely within their group, but not so extensively outside of their group.’

“Note those names again: Michael Mann, Scott Rutherford, Phil Jones, Tim Osborn, Keith Briffa, Ray Bradley and Malcolm Hughes are all climate scientists implicated in the Climategate scandal.”

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