Tuesday, 15 September 2009

I read their news today, Oh Boy.

The Herald’s headlines today cover their bets:

'Too soon to be certain' of economic recovery,
2:20PM Tuesday Sep 15, 2009,
SYDNEY - The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)

New housing figures point to possible end of recession
4:00AM Tuesday Sep
15, 2009 REINZ

Anyone would think no-one really knew what was going on.

ETS: The hobgoblins have arrived [updated]

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed - and hence clamorous to be led to safety - by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
H.L. Mencken

John Key thinks you’re a prize sap.  If anything is clear from yesterday’s decision to inflict a Maori-Party-endorsed Emissions Trading Scam on you as if you’d welcome it, then it’s that he thinks you think he’s got things sorted.

What a sap.  Ross Elliot sums up what’s going on in ‘A Letter To His Subjects from Master Key’:

   Kia Ora, Taxpayer Bastards
    Today I'd like to announce that with the support of the Maori Party, we have reached
a compromise on the Emissions Trading Scheme. This will enable the government to withdraw from Labour's proposed full-shaft without so much as a kiss and a cuddle, substituting a far less arduous half-shaft with an optional reach-around.
    Power bills will now rise only 5%, fuel by only 3.5 cents, and overall household costs by $165 instead of $330. This should delay the destruction of the New Zealand economy by at least one election cycle.
    When I asked my Climate Change Minister, Nick Smith, why prices had to rise at all, he replied, and I quote, "Go fuck yourself, Honky".
    All the best.
   John Key

John has bought a pup, and if he thinks you’re going to be happy to pay for it then he’s even more stupid than he looks.  You see, John Boy still thinks that an Emissions Trading Scheme is going to “save the planet” – he really does, you know.  He hasn’t yet worked out that Emissions Tax Scams aren’t designed to save the planet, and they never will – they’re about controlling everyone on the planet.

And aren’t they doing well?

You see, environmentalists don’t really want to “save the planet.” If they were, we’d now be buried in tributes from environmentalists to the memory of the great Norman Borlaug who died over the weekend – the  great humanitarian who most of them don’t even know about – the man who saved over a billion lives, and reduced the need for so much of the earth’s acreage devoted to feeding so many. Have we heard a word passed in tribute to his passing from mainstream environmentalists? Of course not.

But human welfare is not their goal – and nor is reducing footprints.

What is the real goal then? It’s as simple now as it was when it was cooked up. Owen McShane has a story that helps illustrate what I mean:

“During my time at UC Berkeley, the New Zealand Government appointed Duncan McIntyre as the world’s first Minister for the Environment. (Sadly they failed to get rid of the now surplus Commissioner.) Flushed with national pride I alerted Professor Wildavsky to the good news. He listened to my homily without noticeable enthusiasm. About twenty minutes later as he walked past me on his way to a meeting he put his hand on my shoulder and said:

You know, Owen, if you are Minister of the Environment, eventually you are Minister
of Everything.’

“About ten years later I began to grasp his meaning.”

Do you grasp his meaning?  Do you see the ruse? It’s very simple, in fact it’s the same as every collectivists’ dream ever was: to put all necks in one noose.  Once you control “the environment” – what you’re “allowed” to put into it and what you’re “permitted” to take out – then you control everyone and everything.  As Bob Murphy points out, the ruse was telegraphed in 1954 by inveterate whinger and pro-apocalypse whiner Paul Erlich in another of his books filled with predictions of global environmental collapse that never happened, where he quoted Harrison Brown saying:

“It seems clear that the first major penalty man will have to pay for his rapid consumption of the earth’s nonrenewable resources will be that of having to live in a world where his thoughts and actions are ever more strongly limited, where social organization has become all pervasive, complex, and inflexible, and where the state completely dominates the actions of the individual.”

This, by the way, is virtually the only prediction in Erlich’s books that has ever been proved right.

And Erlich wasn’t quoting Brown like what he was saying was a bad thing – quite the reverse. Because for Erlich and his followers, reducing consumption of the earth’s resources is not their primary goal – increasing the state’s domination of the actions of the individual is.  This is not some random conspiracy theory, as Murphy goes on to point out :

    “Free-market writers such as Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman have stressed that it is impossible for a government to restrict economic freedoms while retaining civil or “personal” liberties. For example, even if a democratic yet socialist government assures its citizens they have “freedom of the press,” that assurance is hollow because the government owns all the newspapers and radio stations. It’s also naive to say that citizens have the right to protest the government, if that same government has the power to reassign workers to Siberia (because they deem it best to maximize national “economic output”).
    “Because of these realities, people who call themselves progressives should rethink their commitment to more government control over energy markets. It’s not simply a matter of abstract property rights and fairness for shareholders of oil companies. If the government can’t be trusted to snoop on our phone conversations or emails–and I wholeheartedly agreed with the progressives who were alarmed at the erosion of civil liberties under the Bush Administration–then by the same token, how can that same government be trusted to fairly administer energy markets with only the fate of the planet in mind?”

Perhaps you could ask Nicky Hager?

Just to nail his point home, Murphy quotes among other things a recent Spiegel Online interview in which “Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the German government’s climate protection advisor, [proposed] the creation of a CO2 budget for every person on the planet…”;  a new report issued by the London School of Economics concluding that “family planning should be seen as one of the primary methods of emissions reductions”; and a recent article in the Wall Street Journal which detailed just how Orwellian policies to ration water usage can become.   (And there are countless other examples he could have used, including the ongoing to calls to use “renewable energy” – as if you can simply plug “renewable energy” into the grid to replace real energy production; and the visceral resistance of activists to geo-engineered solutions to  global warming, or to simply leaving people free to adapt.) He concludes:

“As with the progressive complaints against Big Brother in the War on Terror, the same applies in the War on Carbon: once you concede the principle that the government can coercively interfere with people’s daily lives, then just about anything goes–and will go when the proponents can cite ‘saving the planet’ as their goal.”

For more fuel on this particular fire, read (or re-read) George Reisman’s timeless article ‘The Toxicity of Environmentalism,’ and read this panoply of man-hating quotes from a litany of mainstream environmentalistsThey do mean it.

Now do you think that our local politicians understand any of this?  I’d say not really.  They probably understand it all gives them more control, and they won’t feel bad about that. Their Maori Party colleagues will understand that it somehow controls whitey more than their own constituency, and give Maori forestry owners more money for not doing anything – and they’ll hardly feel bad about that. And the National-led Government itself is so mired in contradictions that while John Key is bouncing from cloud to heaping praise on his new scheme to tax everybody blind, his Finance Minister Bill English was telling people that that with the NZ dollar so high this government will need to do everything it can to make New Zealand businesses more competitive.

Almost unbelievable.

If you’ve ever wondered how we’ve ended up where we are, then that braindead contradiction sums it up: the men you’ve put in charge over your lives have no bloody idea what’s really going on.  All they understand is that a hobgoblin has arrived on their table that they think allows them to look good.

Pity they haven’t worked out the real stakes – or that the hobgoblin itself is largely a fiction.

UPDATE:  Global warming has now hit New Zealand -- not global warming itself, but the political response to alleged global warming.

On the policy responses to this fiction read (or re-read0 Christopher Monckton’s Open Letter to John Key on The Policy Responses to get some context. It’s a shame John Key didn’t.

And for those like Jeanette Fitzsimons who says that Nicholas Stern’s Stern Report tells us that if governments don’t act now we’ll all be worse off in the end, then they need to realise:

  1. Calls for “action” like Fitzsimons are only calls for govt action to limit private action. Nothing more.
  2. The Stern Report has been thoroughly discredited. 
    1. As Murphy himself points out, “In the climate change debate, people often forget that under all but the most catastrophic scenarios, the future generations who will benefit from our current mitigation efforts will be much richer than we are."
    2. Stern’s “model” was deliberately chosen to show the worst possible outcomes: a medium high emissions scenario and with further feedback mechanisms, combined with the lowest possible estimates for future wealth to make the discounting look good.  See Tim Worstall analysis on this here.
    3. As climate scientists Chris de Freitas and Bob Carter, and prominent American skeptic Richard Lindzen pointed out thoroughly out in the Journal of World Economics, “there is [a question] how far the Stern Review, in the sections that it devotes to them, gives an accurate account of the scientific issues. We consider that the Review is doubly deficient. The scientific evidence for dangerous change is, in fact, far from overwhelming, and the Review presents a picture of the scientific debate that is neither accurate nor objective....”
    4. Bjorn Lomborg talked more about the dodgy numbers behind the Stern Report. “Mr. Stern's core argument [is] that the price of inaction would be extraordinary and the cost of action modest. Unfortunately, this claim falls apart when one actually reads the 700-page tome. Despite using many good references, the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change is selective and its conclusion flawed. Its fear-mongering arguments have been sensationalized, which is ultimately only likely to make the world worse off.”
    5. In any case, the window for Stern’s prescription has already passed, the scenarios he posits are outlandish, the action he proposes is simply government action to ban private action, and in the end, “It’s not impossible that what we might end up with is an economic system largely destroyed by environmentalist policies plus the start of a new ice age resulting from government efforts to counteract global warming through the use of technologically inspired counter measures.”  Read George Reisman’s scathing analysis here.
  3. This is not about science.  It’s about politics and about control. Fitzsimons and her brood don’t care how Stern made up his numbers or how their tame scientists over-inflate their figures – that’s all part of the new post-modern scientific method anyway, right. 

It really isn’t about science; it’s about control.  After all, even if the IPCC’s worst prognostications came to pass, it doesn’t follow that we all need to stick our head in a noose. As Bernard Darnton says, we know that socialism doesn’t work at fifteen degrees, so why will it work at seventeen?
So what would a libertarian do about global warmingPlenty. Property rights can still work over international borders.Fact is, it’s not sacrifice and self-abnegation that’s needed, but more self-interested pursuit of technology -- and what's needed to pursue that is more freedom and less big government.

John Boy has just delivered the opposite.

LIBERTARIANZ SUS: A tribute to the Towers

Susan Ryder has one regret . . .

susanryder It’s true what they say about it being pointless having regrets. But for a long time, there was one small thing that niggled.

It was just before I left Connecticut and eight of us had decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Windows on the World, the revolving restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center in New York City. At the last minute I pulled out citing fiscal prudence. Shortly thereafter I was leaving the east coast to backpack across the continent and decided that my money would be better reserved for that. My friends were disappointed, but accepted that they weren’t going to change my mind.

It wasn’t like I hadn’t been to the Twin Towers before, I told myself. And it wasn’t like I hadn’t seen the view from the top in spite of my dislike for heights. There are some things you must do in certain cities and a trip to the Observation Deck of the WTC fell into that category. I decided that I didn’t need to go up again and spend a lot of money to boot.

I used to spend weekends in Manhattan, courtesy of a friend who lived in a tiny apartment directly across from the United Nations on 1st & 42nd. Eileen was an Off-Off Broadway actress who spent periods of time performing out of town and generously gave me a key to her shoebox to come and go as I pleased. We’d met in London a few years earlier and kept in touch, which turned out to be a bonus for me.

My favourite time in the city was first thing Saturday morning. The weekday commuters were at home and the weekend tourists were yet to flock in, leaving the place briefly to native New Yorkers. Contrary to popular belief, I never found them unfriendly; quite the reverse, albeit brutally frank. Nor were they quiet, discreet discussion being unknown to them. And while it was often hilarious, I’m not going to talk about that today.

I went to the WTC on my first visit to the city. The financial district surrounding Wall Street has a definite ambience that doesn’t disappear when the markets close. It emits an atmosphere of power and wealth, particularly in those golden Reagan years. I found it enthralling. And the Twin Towers hovered over it all.

It’s difficult to describe just how big they were to anyone who never saw them up close and impersonal. In order to see the top while standing directly in front, I had to lean so far back I felt sick and even then, I still couldn’t see it. On paper, they were two very tall building blocks. In reality, they were majestic.

Fifteen years later I watched them disintegrate after the terrorist attacks that fateful September morning. Thankfully, I never lost a personal friend that day, but I’ll never know if any of the casual friends with whom I never kept in touch were among the fatalities. I do know of people who lost loved ones though, including the little girl who waited after school for the dad who would never collect her and the young man who started his first job in the South Tower that morning, who deliberately arrived early in order to make a good impression.

I also know that my blood boiled the next day when I heard the mother of a senior Epsom Girls’ Grammar School student report that some of her daughter’s Muslim classmates openly clapped and cheered the acts of terror. It is fair to suggest that these students will almost certainly have been echoing their parents’ beliefs, which begs the question as to the suitability of their residency. If you think that’s harsh, too bad. It is madness to bestow residency, let alone citizenship, upon anyone who would sympathise with terrorism against western culture.

I don’t think I met a New Yorker who liked the Twin Towers. In fact they loved to hate them, “butt ugly” being the descriptive term of choice. But I bet they’d give anything to be able to whinge about them again.

My friends had a wonderful time at Windows on the World that evening and were quick to let me know. I still believe I made the right decision at the time but, having said that, I’ve never missed out on anything appealing since. Life is too short for self-denial.

But after the Towers were destroyed, I was resolute. I decided that there were too many good memories upon which to dwell from those great days, as opposed to regretting an evening I never had, in a restaurant I never visited.

I wouldn’t give those murderers the satisfaction.

* * Read Susan Ryder’s column here every Tuesday. * *

Mid-month Bloggers Bash

Annie Fox reports:

There is a impromptu mid-month Bloggers Bash at Galbraiths. David Farrar from Kiwiblog and other bloggers from Wellington are in town and want to catch up with the Auckland bloggers. Kick off is 5.30pm this Thursday the 17th.

Get ye there!

Quote of the day: On those global warming computer models . . .

The unshakeable faith in computer models shown by the scientists who programme them would be the envy of any religious sect in the world.
……………………………………………………- Christopher Booker

Victorian Space Science Education Center – Greg Burgess


This is the Victorian Space Science Education Center  -- that’s Victoria, Australia, by the way, for those who were wondering what a long-dead British Queen might have to do with space.  It’s “ a specialist space-themed school education centre, established by the Victorian State Government to encourage excitement about the learning of science.”  Architect Greg Burgess describes the building he designed for the Center in Strathmore, Victoria:

content_04 “The Centre is held within two spiralling wall-arms which act as noise buffers from the surrounding freeway and railway. At their centre is a soaring volume of deep indigo from which all other spaces are accessed (right). From its stellar apex light plays dramatically into the depths of the building. 
    Conceptually, the building forms and their energetic convergence and divergence mirror the transformative forces of spiral galaxies. The architecture is devised through its unique spatial formation, sequencing and ambience, to support the space education program by immersing participants in a challenging world of space travel, experiments, problem solving and teamwork. An educational experience both memorable and inspirational.”

Check out an introductory video for the Center here at the Center’s website.


Monday, 14 September 2009

“Unknown hero” Norman Borlaug dies [updated]

"He was a bright, affirming flame in the midst of a sea of despair then prevailing."
………………………………-  M.S. Swaminathan, known as the "Father of the Green Revolution in India"

"Some credit him with saving more human lives than any other person in history."
- Bruce Alberts, President, National Academy of Sciences, U.S.

"Dr. Norman Borlaug is the first person in history to save a billion human lives. But he must also get credit for saving the wild creatures and diverse plant species on 12 million square miles of global forest that would long since have been plowed down without the high-yield farming he pioneered. The two accomplishments combined make him dramatically unique.”
- Senator Rudy Boschwitz, former member of the US Senate Agriculture Committee

"Dr. Norman Borlaug was the father of the Green Revolution that transformed much of the hungry Third World. . .  [I]n the 1960s . . . 4 million tons of food aid per year [was shipped] to India; now it can export food. Dr. Borlaug’s scientific leadership . . .  saved people from starvation. .  He is one of the great men of our age."
- George McGovern, former Democratic presidential candidate

borlaug-young If feeding the planet is your goal then your hero should not be Sting or Bob Geldof or Thomas Malthus or Jeanette Fitzsimons or (heaven help us) Che Guevara.  Even George McGovern can recognise that much. It should be that man in the picture there on the left: agricultural hero Norman Borlaug, who died on Saturday at his home in Dallas, Texas, at the age of 95.

Known around the world as the father of the real Green Revolution, despite viewing it himself as “a miserable term,” Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work to stop world hunger, for which no one did more.  Penn Jillette reckoned a few years back that Norman Borlaug was then the greatest living human being. Why?

"At a time when doom-sayers were hopping around saying everyone was going to starve, Norman was working. He moved to Mexico and lived among the people there until he figured out how to improve the output of the farmers. So that saved a million lives. Then he packed up his family and moved to India, where in spite of a war with Pakistan, he managed to introduce new wheat strains that quadrupled their food output. So that saved another million. You get it? But he wasn't done. He did the same thing with a new rice in China. He's doing the same thing in Africa - as much of Africa as he's allowed to visit. When he won the Nobel Prize in 1970, they said he had saved a billion people. That's BILLION! BUH! That's Carl Sagan BILLION with a "B"! And most of them were a different race from him. Norman is the greatest human being- and you've probably never heard of him."

So why so unheralded?  Says Don Boudreaux:

    “By saving millions of people from starvation, green-revolution father Norman Borlaug arguably has done more for humanity than has any other human being of the past century. Yet unlike Sen. Kennedy’s, his death will go relatively unnoticed. He’ll certainly not be canonized in the popular mind.
    “Alas, in our world, melodramatic loud-mouths thunder to and fro in the foreground, doing little of any value while stealing most of the credit for civilization. Meanwhile, in the background, millions upon millions of decent, creative people work diligently at their specialties – welding, waiting tables, performing orthopedic surgery, designing shopping malls, researching plant genetics – each contributing to the prosperity of the rest. Some contributions are larger than others (as Dr. Borlaug’s certainly was), but even a contribution as colossal as his is quickly taken for granted, any notice of it submerged beneath the self-congratulation, swagger, and bellicosity of the politicians who pretend to be prosperity’s source. How wrong.”

Sure as hell is.  The men of the mind achieve their heroism unnoticed, while their moochers and looters hof the headlines that should have been theirs’. 

For a sober career assessment of Borlaug’s under-the-radar great work, read the Voice of America’s tribute:

    “[Norman Borlaug’s] effort to increase crop yields has been credited with saving millions of people from starvation. . .   His advocacy of intensive, high-yield agriculture came under criticism from environmentalists in recent years, but Borlaug and those who followed his lead argued that older methods of sustainable farming could not produce enough food to prevent hunger in poorer regions of the world. . .  [Borlaug, of course, has been proved right over and over again.]
    “In 1944, when many experts warned of mass starvation in developing nations where populations were expanding faster than crop production, Borlaug began work at a Rockefeller Foundation-funded project in Mexico to increase wheat production by developing higher-yielding varieties of the crop.  By 1957, the average yield per hectare of Mexican wheat had almost doubled. 
    “Borlaug remained involved with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, even after his research took him to other parts of the globe, where he replicated the success he had had in Mexico, building his reputation as father of the "green revolution" in the 1960's. . .
    “In a statement Saturday through Texas A and M University [where he was still teaching], Borlaug's children said ‘It is the hope of the Borlaug family that his life be an example to all.  We would like his life be a model for making a difference in the lives of others and to bring about efforts to end human misery for all mankind’.”

A vain hope perhaps, when arseholes still fight the introduction of new biotechnologies to increase food production, and those same empty-headed misathropic control freaks still deny the murderous effect of the ban on DDT – a ban which has killed millions, and still kills around 3,000 people every day!

Anyway, check out these tributes to the great man from those who have remembered him:

And finally, Listen to "The Norman Borlaug Rap" ‘sung’ by Rohan Prakash in honor of Dr. Borlaug's 90th Birthday., and check out Penn & Teller’s colourful tribute to Norman Borlaug on their Bullshit! TV show.

And check out the Norman Borlaug archive at AgBioWorld

As the tributes say, this was a man whose work saved more human lives than any other.  In a rational world this hero would not be unknown -- and his passing now should not go unnoticed.

PS: By the way, the ‘Ethics’ tag below is no accident.  It shouldn’t take a genius to work out why.
PPS: My thanks to the great folk at AgBioWorld for the links, most of which come from their latest newsletter.

  • Nobel winner credited with saving 1 billion lives, dies
    Scientist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug has died aged 95, known as the father of the "green revolution", he helped lead a movement that is credited with saving up to 1 billion people from starvation.
    Bravo TV3.

Learner driver

Arrived home yesterday afternoon to find a near-neighbour had an unexpected visitor with a few parking problems.

P9130023 These are the sort of photos a good friend of the learner driver would keep, and pull out again at her twenty-first – because that’s what good friends do. :-)


[Pics by Annie Fox.]

Testing lab v testing lab [update 2]

If you’ll forgive the imagery, it’s somewhat amusing to see Cactus Kate impaled upon a contradiction.

Last week she came out against monopolies, declaring,  “I am not a fan of anything to do with monopolies.” Yet at the same time she’s a fan of LabTests, which has been granted a government-maintained monopoly in diagnostic medical work in the Auckland region.

Why the contradiction?  That’s easy.  Because in her rant against monopolies last week she failed to distinguish between between a coercive monopoly, which achieves its market position by reason of a government grant and government protection, and the other sort – the company that achieves and maintains its position of market dominance by producing things its customers want to buy at a price they want to pay.  (Given my public-spirited attitudes, I felt obliged to point this out.)

The problems with LabTests (whether real or otherwise) are the problems of government monopoly. Full stop. Specifically, they’re what happens when the District Health Board, which is a coercive monopoly, changes contracts from one crony capitalist monopsony supplier for another. No-one other than a government department (or its second cousin, a coercive monopoly) would change suppliers the way the Auckland District Health Board has done—bringing down the guillotine on your single supplier of one essential service on the same day the other is supposed to pick it up as if nothing has changed. And no problems in a genuine private business would be reported as they have been in this heavily politicised pseudo-market.

The problems now being reported were made inevitable by the crony-phony monopoly model of the government’s health ‘system’ – and they’re reported as they are because the whole health process is politicised.

Why would anyone be surprised?

Or just maybe, Annie, you understand them way better than most of the noisier commentators.  And if I’d seen your point earlier, it might have saved me writing many more words to say half as much.

UPDATE 2: Cactus demonstrates this morning that she still doesn’t have a frigging clue.  “I don't care about the arguments for or against the change in provider in a one-provider system,” she whimpers while heading off on another braindead chant of ‘LabTests good! MedLabs bad!’ – ignoring all the while that the problems with both of them are caused by the very thing she doesn’t care about and refuses to acknowledge!  What a mess.

The “Listening” opposition? [update 3]

Isn’t it funny how political parties begin “listening” – or at least they begin to say that they’re listening – whenever they’re out of power.  Yet as John Boy’s National Party demonstrates, they always stop listening just as soon as their feet get under the cabinet table.

“If new Labour Leader Phil Goff is sincere in his remorse over his party's ‘political correctness’ [and nanny state governance] while in office, Labour could be back in power sooner than polls currently indicate, says Lindsay Perigo.

And if Labour’s mea culpa were truly sincere, however, it would hardly have followed up Phil’s fillip with a reminder of the nine years of political correctness we’ve just endured: with the announcement that “taxpayer-funded condoms at supermarkets, dairies and service stations are on today's Labour Party agenda.” Just unbelievable.

And if Goff were serious, he would have realised that there was more nastiness to nanny state than

just shower heads and light bulbs.  He could have made a full mea culpa by apologising for the full gamut of Nanny’s meddling:

There she is inspecting school lunchboxes.
Telling us not to lie in the sun.
Not to drink more than seven servings.
Not to drive too fast.
Not to drive too often.
Not to smoke at home.
Not to smoke in the car.
Not to smoke in the pub.
Not to smoke at all, really (you getting the message)?

She tells us how discipline our children (or not).
That we may not let them eat tasty food.
That we must pay for hysterical advertising that treats adults like children.
That we must not watch advertising that treats us like adults.
That we may not drive fast cars in industrial areas at night.
That we may not climb tall ladders.
That we may not act in ways that Nanny deems "anti-social."
That we may not buy vitamins and minerals without a prescription from Nanny.
That we may not drink alcohol in public places.
That we may not smoke cigarettes at work or in the pub.
That we may not smoke marijuana anywhere.
That we may not ride a bicycle without a helmet.
That we may not walk a poodle without a muzzle.
That we may not buy fireworks that go ‘Bang!’
That we may not repair our own property if Nanny says we can't.

She’s everywhere!  She tells us:
We may only build the houses Nanny says we can.
We may not build houses at all where Nanny says we can’t.
We may not advertise for young female employees.
We may not open for business on days Nanny specifies.
When we do open for business, we must act as Nanny's unpaid tax collectors.
We may not fire staff who steal from us.
We may not fire staff, whatever their employment contract says.
We must surrender our children to Nanny’s factory schools.
We must pay for teachers that can’t teach and for centres of education that aren’t.
We must believe that Alan Bollard knows what he’s doing.
We must believe that our money is not our own.
We must not call bureaucrats “arseholes.”
We must not offend people paid to boss us around with our money.
We must answer stupid questions when Nanny asks us.
We may not spend our own money in ways of which Nanny disapproves.
We may not defend ourselves against people who try to kill us.
We must pretend that snails are more important than we are.
We must pretend that murderers are people too.
We must apologise to tribalists for things we didn’t do.
We must not offend criminals for things they did do.
We must apologise to conservationists for things we need to do.
We must apologise for success.
We must ignore failure.
We may not end our own lives when we choose.
We must pay for art we don’t like and TV shows we don’t watch.
We must pay middle class families to become welfare beneficiaries.
We must pay no-hopers to breed.

Nanny state was not a myth.  Nanny was and still is rampant – has been for more than nine years, and if the present govt continues the trend as they have she will continue her stultifying dominance for many more.  That has to give Goff a chance, which he’s perhaps only now belatedly realising.

But  Goff must also realise that Labour’s kicking in both the last elections and in recent polling is for nine years of nastiness more than that just encompassed by the ‘soft fascism’ of the nanny state.

  • The Electoral Finance Act, which were direct attacks on free speech and democracy, and as far as the electorate was concerned was ‘Labour’s Poll Tax.’
  • The blatant theft of an election by using the money taken from taxpayers to run the Prime Minister's Office to run for the Office, demonstrating an utter disregard for constitutional restraints.
  • The introduction of retrospective legislation to legitimise the theft, indicating that in the area of constitutional restraints on government, we're down there with Botswana.
  • The desperate move thereafter for taxpayer funding of political parties as a means to fill its empty coffers.
  • The move to tax working industry into submission with an ideologically driven emissions trading scam.
  • Fording unmarried people to get married.
  • Passing the Foreshore and Seabed Act, which in one stroke removed the right of litigants in common law to prove before a court that they have property rights in these areas -- demonstrating an utter disregard for judicial independence, common law and property rights.
  • The Muldoonist bullying of any media organisations who opposed you.
  • The renationalisation of the Accident Compensation Corporation, NZ Rail and Air New Zealand (after refusing permission for Air New Zealand to make its own way in the world), and the ever-expanding, ever-more intrusive meddling in all areas of the economy.
  • Piling up the tax take to pay for a new welfare system that was little more than an election bribe: i.e., Welfare for Working Families, which takes with one hand and doles out with the other; which demonstrates that trickle down is not a characteristic of capitalism, but of state worship; which makes beneficiaries out of one third of the country; which raises the marginal tax rate of those beneficiaries to levels of nearly ninety percent; and which will 'normalise' for a whole generation the lifestyle of sucking off the state tit -- damage on a generational scale for an election bribe that worked for just one term.
  • Nine years of tax-and-spend, without even a shadow of a chance of a tax cut – nine years of golden weather pissed away.
  • No action taken at all to increase property rights protection under the Resource Management Act, to make any positive changes to the state's disastrous factory schools, or to slow down the rampantly soft fascism of political correctness that infests the government half of the economy, and is slowly taking over the other half.
  • The evisceration of New Zealand’s ability to defend itself.
  • The vicious scapegoating of minorities (yes, I’m talking about the Brethren) and troublesome whistle blowers (Erin Leigh, Madeleine Setchell, Christine Rankin, Owen Glenn), and their final, desperate substitution of dirt-digging and mud-slinging for policy and debate (yes, we’re all still looking at you Mike Williams – and you Trevor Mallard for your bullshit about “American Bagmen” and the “cash for policies” crap). Isn’t it easy to forget how vicious these bastards were to anyone who opposed them.
  • The distinct and lingering impression that it was always above the law – Doonegate, Speedgate, Fieldgate, PledgeCardgate, etc. etc.: so much legally incorrect conduct and it was only Mallard and not Heather Simpson who ever got into court.
  • The rampant numerical and fiscal inflation of the grey politically correct mass of Wellington’s bureaucracy.
  • The grey miasma of bullying and electoral corruption that finally came to linger over the last term, and that finally solidified into the boot up its arse that ejected.

If he apologised for some of that nannying then he might acquire some credibility in opposition as this Government’s nanny Steven Joyce and its senior consultant wowser Geoffrey Palmer keep right on imposing the shackles.

If he acknowledged that his present party was so cynically vicious when it held the reins of power he might attain some credibility to attack this government for its own tentative excursions down that road.

And make no mistake, it’s important that Goff does swiftly acquire credibility because after nine months in power, its apparent this government is at least as determined as the last one to keep New Zealand’s ship of state on the same fundamental course.

It won’t be until Phil grasps the nettle and makes his party electable again that his own party wil attract donors again, and this present ruling party will feel the electoral pressure for real, fundamental change – which is what is so desperately needed if we’re to earn real prosperity and regain our basic freedoms.  Which means that Phil must first realise the full extent the last nine years of Labour’s iniquity.

I look forward to Phil’s full apology so the deck-chair shuffling can end.

UPDATE 1: Some editing done and a new list added.

UPDATE 2: Russell Brown reckons that Phil needed to “draw a line under the former leadership” but feels there was no need to throw what he calls “some sensible ideas” out of the cot. What “sensible ideas” were those?  Turns out Russell still likes the light-bulb ban.  Still likes the forced folation of bread. Still likes the smacking ban. Quite likes the new idea of “taxpaid condoms for all.”

Blimey, with supporters like these . . .

UPDATE 3: TWR suggests in the comments one I’ve forgotten: "Forcing unmarried people to get married" law from early in Labour’s tenure.  I’ve added it now.

Any others I’ve forgotten?  We could work up a full list and send it to Phil to make the full apology we’d all really like to see.  :)

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Queens Wharf: Putting RWC Party Central into business [updated]

The big red gates were swung open today and Auckland’s Queens Wharf was opened to the public – for a few hours anyway, although by the speeches of the politicians holding the keys you’d have thought they were about to part the Red Sea for good.

This is the chosen site for Rugby World Cup’s Party Central, so it’s not just curiosity that sent people through those gates this afternoon: There were any number of Citroen owners out there too – i.e., architects keen to see how their designs for the ‘Party Central’ architectural competition stacked up on the site itself.

Queens Wharf up close and personal is vast and windswept, even on a sunny day like today, and the entries for the design competition to fill it for Rugby World Cup and beyond were also posted today, both online and ‘in person’ at the Union Fish Co building down on Quay St.  One or two of these ideas are probably going to cost you a lot of money between now and 2011 -- and only a few look like they’re be able to make any of it back --  so you owe it to yourself (so to speak) to see where your money might be going.  And even if ways can be found to make any of these pay for themselves, whatever’s built there is going to preside over Auckland’s harbour and be beamed out to the world during Rugby World Cup, 2011 – so you’d want it to be done right, wouldn‘t you.

Which is really my way of saying that you should take a look at what’s been designed for down there.  Here’s the official website.  Here’s the brief. Here’s the whole pageful of designs. Here’s your information about the exhibition of designs.

There are 233 designs produced from this short two-week competition – just enough time to get a strong idea, and almost enough time to present it well – in many of whom the words sails, sustainability, “elegant sheds” and “flax baskets” figure prominently, as do knock-offs of some of the world’s most well-known architects, along with wakas, silver ferns and rugby balls by the dozen.  No surprises there. Other more rigorous and more original architectural themes are also evident, which you’d expect when  Auckland’s best and brightest architects put their minds to the same site: a site whose situation is, lets face it, a stunner.

When it’s finished whatever’s built there will become, or should become, the way for Aucklanders in what’s now a shambles of a downtown to head out from the heart of their city and experience the Hauraki Gulf and one of the world’s best harbours.  But it has some challenges:

  • Even with the red fence removed it’s still not easy getting there over all the roads – and the new bus terminal at the foot of Queen St is more a barrier than a link
  • The scale of the harbour itself is so vast (like Sydney’s only several times larger) and the population so small (like Sydney only several times smaller) that to make something work there is a real challenge.
  • Windswept wastelands litter the world as a result of architectural competitions for public space, and this site and its context offers more opportunity than most for this to happen again.
  • A bill for development that neither the government nor the two councils involved – or, I’ll wager, most of their ratepayers and taxpayers -- really wants to pick up. Which is why two sheds are supposed to be retained which are so unattractive that if they were on a back block in Piopio you’d probably knock them down – yet here they are in a prime spot about to have the world’s eyes on them, and all the talk is how to bodge up some way to ‘make them work.’

So how have the designers solved these problems and summed up the site?  The brief was to put a Cruise Ship Terminal, Rugby World Cup ‘Party Central’ and a rigorous and  lasting public space down there. Most of the better solutions have included at least a few of the following features:

  1. Good pedestrian links to Queen St and Quay St.
  2. Sheltered (and  partially covered) amphitheatres as gathering spaces.
  3. ‘Look-outs’ at the end of the wharf to present the Hauraki Gulf to visitors, and to act as a ‘destination’ for pedestrians at wharf’s end.
  4. Offering the chance for dining over water – something strangely absent in what should be the world’s best maritime city.
  5. Use of podiums to remove the Cruise Ship services and parking away from public spaces.

And here’s what I spotted doing some of these things well. To see them properly click on the image and a PDF image of the one-page design submission should open up.  As the designs are all submitted anonymously, they’re referred to only by numbers (disclaimer, one of these may or may not be my own contribution):

032 032, What it Does Well: Raising the podium and making it an expanded ferry terminal makes it an active working wharf (just as long as there are ferry services sufficient to fill it) and provides much interest across the wharf’s axis instead of just along it.  Good strong link to Quay St, which should give good visual presence from the foot of Queen St.

33 033, What it Does Well: Provides a strong sculptural integration of Terminal Building and (covered) public space.

55  055, What it Does Well: Its ‘entrance poles’ give a strong visual presence to Queen Street, and give a nod to  the theme of ‘opening the red fence.’ Brings smaller scale marine activity into downtown. Reduces wharf’s enormous scale, retaining 'promenades.’

071 097, What it Does Well: A simple concept that takes visitors out to the water’s edge, with a ‘Lookout Tower’ offering views northwest out to the world’s best harbour.

096 096, What it Does Well: It uses the existing shed well (if you must) to produce a structural motif leading from entrance to wharf’s end.  Brings in water to the public space.

125 125, What it Does Well: It’s bold, it’s strong, it links pedestrians to the complex, and it elegantly solves the problem of integrating the Cruise Terminal by using it as the ‘soundstage and screen’ for the outdoor amphitheatre.

146 146, What it Does Well: A seductively simple concept that elegantly solves the problem of integrating the Cruise Terminal and the raised public space.

161 161, What it Does Well: It’s bold, it’s strong, it embraces the scale and sweep of the harbour; its lettable space could pay for itself. It takes pedestrian from all sides of Quay St and offers them bridges over and ramps that sweep into and around (on several interlocking levels) to become first an amphitheatre, then the Cruise Terminal, and out to a ‘Lookout’ from which to enjoy the Gulf .

197 197, What it Does Well: Takes the wharf down to the water with a ‘beach,’ gives protected open space, and gives a ‘Lookout’ from which to enjoy the Gulf (you see what I mean by “some common themes”?).

205 205, What it Does Well: Brings the city to the water’s edge by bringing the harbour right into the city – to regenerate Quay St as well as the two wharves.

211 211, What it Does Well: Uses its curving geometry to give scale to the site; puts its' public amphitheatre in the right spot; offers a unique Lookout Tower to give visitors ‘an eye’ on the whole Hauraki Gulf. There’s humour in it.

212 And finally, at least numerically, 211. What it Does Well: Brings Calatrava to Auckland.

So those are the ones that caught my eye. And what will probably win?  Probably none of these.  Probably something like one of these two: something that’s simple and box-like and could just as easily be in a suburban park; something unchallenging that re-uses the two existing barns; something with open plazas so windswept and vast – so pedestrian and unimaginative – it’ll feel like Red Square by the Water; something without a hope of earning back its construction costs, so that you’d wonder whether it would even be worth the bother and the expense.  Nice pictures but.



UPDATE:  Clearly while all the architects were wandering around starry eyed on the wharf yesterday, the politicians were doing a deal.  From Radio NZ comes news that "Government is not ruling out more Queen's Wharf cash" :

    “The Government is now open to the idea of pumping additional money into the redevelopment of Queen's Wharf in Auckland. . . .
    “The Government bought the wharf jointly with the Auckland Regional Council in June for $40 million and warned it did not want to spend any more on it.
    However Prime Minister John Key now says the Government could contribute further.”

My guess is that John Banks showed John Key the amount the parlous ratepayer could afford, pointed to something like the sad picture above and said something like: “Unless your taxpayers pony up, that’s all you’re gonna get.”  That’s just a guess, mind you.  ;^)

Religion on the Radio

Something a bit unusual for your Sunday today: Religion.   Go on, confess: You’ve missed my regular Sunday posts, haven’t you – I can hear you already. So check out Rationally Selfish Radio on that very topic:

Dr Diana Hsieh lectures on her regular ‘Rationally Selfish Radio’ podcast on the philosophy of religion -- particularly arguments for the existence of God. In this podcast she introduces the topic by discussing its importance, the burden of proof principle, and the nature of God. The length is 20:58 minutes.  Head here to get all the links

Enjoy!  And to help you enjoy properly, here’s one of my favourite cartoons from Russell’s Teapot. Did someone say Pascal’s Wager?


Friday, 11 September 2009

September 11, 2009 [update 2]

It’s now eight years  to the day since barbarians flew planes loaded with people into two soaring symbols of western freedom with around 5,000 souls inside.  The resulting cataclysm still hangs over this century like a gaping wound. In the words of Christopher Hitchens,

“from Afghanistan the holy order was given to annex two famous achievements of modernism -- the high-rise building and the jet aircraft -- and use them for immolation and human sacrifice... Faith-based fanatics could not design anything as useful or as beautiful as a skyscraper or a passenger aircraft. But, continuing their long history of plagiarism, they could borrow and steal these things and use them as a negation.”

Eight years after the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor – the only comparable event in modern history – Japan had already been reduced to rubble and begun its rebuilding into the peaceful modern powerhouse into which it was transformed.

Yet eight years on after the brutal slaughter of thousands of innocent people the buildings the barbarians destroyed are still un-replaced, the chief planners and perpetrators of the outrage remain on the loose, and the pursuit of those leading barbarians is greeted with cries that the west itself is the aggressor.

How much has the world changed since 1941.

To be fair, the pursuit itself is so flawed as to be almost completely off-mission.  Sure, there are problems in just finding the bastards who planned this – unlike the bastards who bombed Pearl Harbor, it’s not possible to find them on a map.   But it’s not like there isn’t a rough idea. 

War was declared on the west eight years ago. That it’s still going isn’t for lack of firepower on the west’s behalf, it’s an almost complete lack of moral fibre.  A refusal to believe that it’s a war that we’re in, and a politically-correct misdirection of effort into a war on on a tactic instead of against the actual barbarians responsible for the outrage – a hand-wringing, faith-based unwillingness to identify the enemy.

It should not bave been a “war on terror” in which the west was engaged these last eight years.  In the same way that the Second World War was a war against Nazism and Shintoism, this was should have been a war on Islamic Totalitarianism – a war waged explicitly against this hydra, and with the full moral authority that this was a war of self-defence – a war of civilisation against the barbarians who attacked it. 

It should have been a war in which it was recognised that there is “No Substitute for Victory.”  It has never been that war, which is why it still dribbles on eight years after the outrage that finally brought the enemy to the world’s attention. 

The errors made by George W in waging his “war against a tactic” (and in the wrong place) are now being repeated by his successor, President Zero.  America’s Commander-in-Chief said recently,

“I’m always worried about using the word ‘victory’,” said Obama, “because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur.”

But, you know, when Emperor Hirohito was made to come down and surrender to MacArthur that was the beginning of the end for the medieval warrior spirit of Shinto, and also the beginning of the beginning for the peaceful success of the modern-day Japanese who -- liberated from their medieval past -- gave the whole world a lesson in how ragingly successful the peaceful pursuit of prosperity can be.

It took another six years after World War II was concluded to subdue and modify Japan, and put it on a path to peace and prosperity : Six years and the destruction of Shintoism as an ethical code.   It took seven years to reconstruct Germany and to destroy the bacillus of Nazism – two jobs selfishly important to every anyone who valued a peaceful world after decades of strife and war.  Just as selfishly important now would be a haven of secular peace in the ravaged Middle East or Near East.

Mind you, these jobs were done by people  and was done by people who knew what they were doing.

Now, eight years after the horrors of September 11, 2001, we discover that today’s leaders know nothing.  We discover they were coasting on the knowledge of previous generations, without being able even to apply the lessons learned.

What should have been a day to commemorate the fallen is instead, therefore, a day to berate those who have betrayed them.

In their honour then I offer my thoughts above, such as they are, and this small memento of triumph: architect Minoru Yamasaki in front of his greatest achievement: New York’s World Trade Center.  In every sense they were the symbol of the very best of modern civilisation.  And that’s why they had to die.

UPDATE: Now the clocks have rolled around in the US, there’s more good commentary appearing online from my sort of people:

  • Four Important Articles for this God-Awful Date
    “End States Who Sponsor Terrorism” by Leonard Peikoff “Just War Theory” vs. American Self-Defense by Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein The “Forward Strategy” for Failure by Yaron Brook and Elan Journo “No Substitute for Victory”: The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism by John David Lewis.
  • “America fights a self-crippled war on terror” – Elan Journo
  • Mark Steyn:
    No dynamic culture can stand still, so we shouldn't be surprised that fewer and fewer people, from the president down, find it harder and harder to remember quite what "the day that changed the world" was all about. Nevertheless, there is unfinished business — starting with that hole in the ground in lower Manhattan.
  • Ralph Peters:

        Eight years ago today, our homeland was attacked by fanatical Muslims inspired by Saudi Arabian bigotry. Three thousand American citizens and residents died.
        We resolved that we, the People, would never forget. Then we forgot.
        We've learned nothing.
        Instead of cracking down on Islamist extremism, we've excused it.
        Instead of killing terrorists, we free them.
        Instead of relentlessly hunting Islamist madmen, we seek to appease them.
        Instead of acknowledging that radical Islam is the problem, we elected a president who blames America, whose idea of freedom is the right for women to suffer in silence behind a veil -- and who counts among his mentors and friends those who damn our country or believe that our own government staged the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

UPDATE 2: An email purporting to contain a short piece by one Emanuel Tanay is doing the rounds.  In fact, the  piece is by Paul E. Marek, a second-generation Canadian, whose grandparents fled Czechoslovakia just prior to the Nazi takeover. He wrote the following article in February of 2006 to explain why the peaceful majority is irrelevant.

As he says about the deluded young girl on the right,  “She misses the point: Her job is to prevent the fanatics from hijacking her faith.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Why The Peaceful Majority Is Irrelevant
By Paul E. Marek

    I used to know a man whose family were German aristocracy prior to World War Two. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.
    “Very few people were true Nazis” he said, “but, many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”
    We are told again and again by “experts” and “talking heads” that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam. The fact is, that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honor kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard quantifiable fact is, that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority” and it is cowed and extraneous.
    Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China’s huge population was peaceful as well, but Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The Average Japanese individual prior to World War 2 was not a war mongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its way across South East Asia in an orgy of Killing that included the systematic killing of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And, who can forget Rwanda, which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were “peace loving.”
    History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by the fanatics. Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany, they will awake one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Bosnians, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others, have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late. As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.

Beer O’Clock: The American Beer Revolution

From Reason Online:

    In 1980, there were fewer than 50 breweries in the United States. Today, over 1,400 craft breweries help the U.S. produce more styles of beer than anywhere else in the world.  A new Reason.tv video explores the history of beer in America and shows how deregulation paved the way for the recent American beer revolution.
    European immigrants brought beer to America, building breweries wherever they settled. By 1870, there were more than 4,000 breweries in the U.S. But in 1920, prohibition decimated the industry. When prohibition ended, home brewing was still a crime punishable by five years in prison or a $10,000 fine.
    In 1979, consumer choice and freedom finally returned when the unlikely figure of President Jimmy Carter signed a law allowing individuals to brew small batches of beer at home. Innovative home brewers became entrepreneurs and opened craft breweries across the country. The craft brewing industry generated over $6 billion in sales and produced over 8.5 million barrels of beer in 2008.
    “The American Revolutionaries were beer drinkers who fought for a free society,” says Reason.tv editor Nick Gillespie. “Here’s to freedom, choice and great American beer.”

Nick insists that last is not an oxymoron. And here’s some evidence to back him up: Best Beer in America 2009 – not to mention some pretty cool graphics.

Watch Beer: An American Revolution right here:


Your regular Friday ramble

Okay, it’s Friday so you know what to expect.  Here’s a ramble round the ‘best of the net’ this week courtesy of my Twitter feed, (where you can subscribe to the feed – it costs you nothing – and you can get all this freedom news first.)
  • Penn&Teller call Bullshit! on the Vatican: "The Vatican is the Catholic Las Vegas. We're going to rip the gilded roof off & explore the rats and Ratsingers.” Watch quickly, before the Catholic League realise you’re enjoying it:  
  • Is Trevor Loudon the first New Zealand blogger to claim a “scalp” of a US presidential appointee, and to be quoted in the US Congress?  Congratulations Trevor:
    Watch New Zeal Quoted in US Congress.
  • oBomba 4 blog Why is Trevor being quoted?  Because Obama has dropped an unexpected ideological atomic bomb on America, and Americans are fighting back, that’s why.
  • Rational Jenn goes  myth-busting on Ayn Rand and her views on children and motherhood, which are nothing like as “soul-killing” you’ve heard.
  • It is still not your tree. Labour MPs say despite minor if long overdue changes to give you back ownership of your trees that they want to take it off you again.
  • Looks like National will be supporting ACT’s member’s bill on Voluntary Student Membership.  As Peter McCaffrey says, “better get your submissions ready.  It’s about to go down!”
  • Which American president is described here? He campaigned almost exclusively against the failures of the previous administration. He promised to cut the burgeoning deficits of the previous administration and balance the budget, only to increase them to unprecedented levels and unbalance the whole world. Upon election he immediately forged ahead with remaking policy by creating all kinds of centralized agencies, including the nationalization of multiple industries. He surrounded himself with collectivist radicals.  He used his personal charm and gregarious nature to court favorable news coverage and loyalty from the media.
    Can you guess who?  It’s almost certainly not who you were thinking.
    Read The Obamanous Parallels.
  • Which country has the most nose jobs (per-capita)? The answer will surprise you. http://tr.im/yhFi
  • Hot on the heels of Beervana, Paul Walker asks an important question: “Do the rankings that come out of such shows really tell us much about the quality of the beers?” This is the stuff we need to know!
  • Paul Litterick has A heartbreaking poem of staggering genius at the Fundy Post:
  • Why is poetry so awful these days?
    I only ask because
    I was listening to Jenny Bornholdt on
    Nine to Noon and thought to myself
    "This is crap."
    I blame the Montana Book Awards . . .
  • A friend says, “I have watched a few Bill Whittle videos on pjtv.com before, all very good. The one released two days ago is a very good one titled "A Tale of Two Revolutions: The War of Ideas & the Tragedy of the Unconstrained Vision" is worth a look.”  Check it out:
  • How’s this for a great commercial – and the very best way for a horror film to end:
  • "100 years ago the American "public sector" was around10% of economy. By 1940's it was over one-quarter. Soon it will be on half.  Time for some Jeffersonian rebellion, perhaps?
  • Economic mythbuster Eric Crampton points to a new “biscuit harm index” calculated for the UK. (Turns out that many Brits “injure” themselves while eating biscuits.)  Wonders Eric, “Perhaps BERL could use this data to produce a biscuit harm index showing the social costs that could be avoided if only biscuits didn't exist.”
  • And welfare mythbuster Lindsay Mitchell slams the expensive and frankly unaffordable tax-paid extension of paid parental leave. (There’s no money for police ammunition, but . . .) 
  • The subtext subtly woven through the ObaMessiah’s innocuous blandishments to captive American  schoolchildren declares: I own you. Or rather, the state owns you.
  • Uh oh: Buffett is selling stocks. Don't know why the NYT's buried that fact in 1,500 words....
  • "Why Do Women Have Sex?" Not quite the reasons you’d have predicted:
  • Madeleine reviews this week’s Boscawen, McCoskrie, Evans, Baldock meeting.
  • Wall Street Journal   slams NZ for capitulating to "green PR gone wild.”  “NZ's cap-and-trade rationale is a bunch of hot air," says the world’s most important business opinion leader.  (And there are still people who say we “must” endure a carbon-rationed economy to keep our place as a respected trading nation!  Did I say people?  I meant politicians.)
  • "-ism will cure every ill of the body politic." A short film from 1946 that offers an amusing reminder of what made America great, & what came along and buggered it all up.
  • The future price of gold will be as much about politics as it is economics. It was always so.
  • It's a different sort of healthcare system: It's much more market-oriented than the US. It's India, and it works!
  • Just for once, Michael Moore is right about businessmen.
  • The war on government welfare is more and more difficult to wage -- because the enemy is less and less distinct.
  • "Adam Smith would not be optimistic in today's economic world."
  • Obama is committing the same economic mistakes made during the Great Depression, says a new study endorsed by Nobel laureate James Buchanan.
  • “‘If we demand a proof for everything, he [Aristotle] had said, ‘we shall never be able to prove anything, since we shall not have a starting point for any proof. Certain things are obviously true and do not require proof.’
    ‘Prove it,’ his nephew Callisthenes had said. Aristotle was glad Callisthenes had gone off with Alexander. He was not sorry to learn he’d been killed.”
    Read Roderick Fitts on The Justification for Induction--Or Lack of It.  Good stuff.
  • The great petroleum geologist Wallace Pratt famously said that “Oil is found in the minds of men.”  Read this great tribute to the men of the mind who discover it - and reflect on what this means for the “scarcity” of resources and for theories of intellectual property: Tribute to Tiber: “Oil is Found in the Minds of Men”.
  • Some thoughts here on blog comments from a man I respect who’s far more ‘slash-and-burn’ with irrational chaff than I am.  Read: Sanction of the Victim.
  • "The US spends tomorrow's money today. We Chinese spend today's money tomorrow... Guess which one’s getting richer.
  • Message from Ludwig von Mises that many Misesians at his eponymous institute need to learn:
    ”Without copyright protection, creators have to bear the costs of production while the benefits go to others.”
  • There's an American Beer Revolution going on! More on this later . . .
  • "The Ethics of the Financial Crisis" just posted at Stephen Hicks's site: http://www.stephenhicks.org
  • Justice demands killers serve out full sentences. To mention killers without first mentioning victims is an affront to the innocent.
  • Message to people whinging about banks’ profits:  If you don’t like banks making money, then don’t borrow any.
  • The headline says: 'Survey: few students understand basic finance.' Fact is, most journalists don't either. Or economists.
  • The scientific mind, according to Aristotle:
  • Simon Jenkins: "The war on drugs is immoral idiocy. We need the courage of Argentina."
  • Jon Voight: Don't let Obama fool you with his Alinsky methods. Get the book 'Rules for Radicals' by Saul Alinsky.
  • Obama is not Jimmy Carter, so don't you go thinking that a few bad poll ratings are going to bother him. He’s not looking at political suicide – he’s still got all that Stimulus money to bribe you with when he needs to.
  • Great Glenn Beck interview with former communist radical David Horowitz on today’s Obama-Saul Alinsky agenda.
  • Bookend that one with this revealing interview with former KGB Cold Warrior who admits that the KGB sent less on espionage and spying on the west than they did trying to undermine it culturally. The fruits of that programme are now all around us.  No wonder the Kremlin is still laughing.
    Watch Interview with Yuri Bezmenov.
  • Christianity is the basis of western civilisation?  Who the hell are you kidding!
    Read: A christian nation?.
  • Shopping Antics: Why One Wife Now Shops Alone.
  • One more negative of antitrust policy is increased uncertainty & delay for market participants - Jeffrey Miron.
  • Why Tax Cows? Methane emissions from livestock is not a big issue.
  • Bjorn Lomborg: "the least cost-effective way to deal with climate change is carbon taxes."
  • Climate Camp: Spend a week in a tent learning anticapitalism, and you too can help change the weather. Deluded Canutianism for impressionable youngsters.
  • US youth unemployment up 1.7% to 25.5% -- just after July's hike in the minimum wage!
  • Official US unemployment now 9.7%. Real US unemployment: now 16.8%!
  • The "Good" Unemployment News this week: US unemployment figures nearing Great Depression levels. http://bit.ly/3nXBHv
  • “Advocates of land-use controls hold a Utopian vision for which they rush to wield the coercive power of government.”  See, it’s not just me who says this.
  • New book from historian John Lewis argues that aggressive military offenses win wars & lasting peace, & defensiveness leads to prolonged carnage. Order your copy today!http://tinyurl.com/nkopjc
And finally, here’s a cute wee joke I pinched off Gus Van Horn that’s been doing the rounds by email:

You have just received the Amish Virus. Since we do not have electricity nor computers, you are on the honor system. Please delete all of your files.
Thank thee.
Enjoy your weekend reading,
Peter Cresswell
PS: All those who know and love Annie Fox, you need to read her latest update.