Friday, 12 February 2010

Friday morning ramble

    In no particular order, here’s another ramble round a few things that caught this liberty-lover’s eye this week.

    • Simon Power. Law student turned politician turned instant medical expert.
      “Simon Power's dismissal out of hand of important proposals in the Law Commission's Review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 says just one thing: that craven political posturing is more important than preventing harm to New Zealanders.”
      The Death of Evidence – RUSSELL BROWN
      Simony – DIM POST
      Law Commission favours more realistic drug laws – WILL DE CLEENE
       Guess we need a new Justice Minister then – ERIC CRAMPTON
    • r512859_2787727 Peter Garrett. Rock star turned  Australian cabinet minister, turned soon-to-be-ex-minister.
      How can he sleep while their roofs are burning?
      Read Heater Garrett

    • “We see with interest that Tariana Turia understands that the Foreshore and Seabed issue can only be settled with an acknowledgement of property rights and due process through the courts.
      Pita Sharples, it seems prefers the so called ‘communist solution.’ ”Dr Sharples said Maori did not have a concept of ownership prior to Pakeha arriving in New Zealand. . . ”  Very interesting. Very interesting indeed.
      Tariana Turia sound on property rights – ROAR PRAWN

    • Tau Henare throws a few “biggotted” toys out of the cot.  Cactus throws them back, with interest. The Hand Mirror and Busted Blonde stand back appalled.
      MP Facebook Dork Of The Week – CACTUS KATE
      MCP Watch: Tau Henare – HAND MIRROR
      Oooops – ROAR PRAWN

    • The Hand MIrror offers a timely reminder: “Just in case you didn't know, and I'm going to write this nice and big now: Sensing Murder has never solved any murders. That is all.”
      True story.
      A timely reminder – HAND MIRROR

    • Kris Sayce wonders whether the ASB’s Ralph Norris might be a graduate of the same university as ANZ Bank’s Mike Smith: the Pinocchio University?
      Could it Be True Not One Single Taxpayer Dollar Ended Up With the Banks? – MONEY MATTERS

    • Roger Douglas writes the speech that Phil Goff should have delivered this week.  It’s, well, for the guy who introduced and then raised GST, it’s really bloody good. It begins:

          “The most general apology that I need to make on behalf of the Labour Party is for confusing the intention of a policy with the outcomes it produces. I am sorry for thinking that the mere intention of helping those who were least well off actually did help them. I have now come to realise that, more often than not, those most harmed by a policy are those it was usually intended to help.
          “First, let me apologise to the thousands of young people who have lost their jobs because of our support for abolishing the youth minimum wage. . . ”

      Read The Speech That Goff Should Deliver – ROGER DOUGLAS

    • Today could be a pivotal day in Iran. It “marks the 31st anniversary of the coalescing of Iran’s Islamist revolution. But on this deeply symbolic day, which Tehran usually spends glorifying its militant, tyrannical rule, millions of Iranian citizens will likely attempt another show of mass defiance and repudiation of the regime.”
      Pivotal day in Iran – VOICES OF REASON

    • “The government has released a series of aerial photographs of the September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorist attack on America. The photo set, appropriately presented and captioned by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) here, taken from a helicopter by Greg Semendinger of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), was made available to the public following an ABC News Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filing. The record of this atrocity, currently the worst attack in U.S. history, speaks for itself.”
      New Photographs of 9/11

    _quoteDoes even Mr. Obama listen to his speeches? The public does - at least
    to this extent: They understand that when he's attacking the tired old
    Washington games, he's just playing the game, but when he's
    proposing the tired old Washington solutions, he
    means it. That's the only Barack Obama on offer.”

    - Mark Steyn, ‘Talking the Talk

        _quote The choices are 20 percent unemployment for six months, or
    10 percent unemployment for three years. . .”

    - Friedrich Hayek in 1982, counselling balancing
    budgets and ending credit inflation as a means by which to end that crisis swiftly.

    • “The bounce in the growth momentum of both real and nominal GDP is due to the Fed's massive money expansion. It is an illusion. Neither the Fed nor the government can grow the economy.”
      So just in case you were wondering . . .
      This Depression is Not Over – Frank Shostak, MISES DAILY

    • “Most economists, including yours truly, have been saying that the huge budget deficits the country is running will result in inflation. So, where's the inflation? Inflation normally lags changes in the growth of the money supply by one to two years. The big monetary expansion took place in the last half of 2008. So if the economy follows past trends, one would expect to see growing inflation by the latter part of this year.
          “There are several reasons why inflation does not occur simultaneously with a sudden growth in the money supply…”
      Where Is the Inflation? – Richard Rahn

    • The collapse of Greece is the world’s economies in microcosm.  “They increased spending in the boom years and now cannot find the political courage to cut the budget, just like the US.”
      Mired in debts and government deficits, the talk is of a Euro-zone bailout. “Yet, the whole debate is misleading: Greece is already being bailed out by the rest of the union.”  “The future of the euro is dark because there are such strong incentives for reckless fiscal behavior . . . ” The house of cards is collapsing. The world’s economic fuse box is starting to blow. The metaphors are piling up.
      The Bailout of Greece and the End of the Euro – Philip Bagus
      The Big Fat Greek Government – Mark Thornton

    • “The fiscal crisis in Greece is fascinating political theater, in part because the Balkan nation is a leading indicator for what will probably happen in many other countries. The most puzzling feature of the crisis is the assumption in other European capitals, discussed in the BBC article below, that a Greek default is the worst possible result. It certainly would not be good news, especially for investors who thought it was safe to lend money to the government, but there are several reasons why the long-term pain resulting from a bailout would be even worse. . . ”
      Maybe Greece Should Go Bankrupt – Daniel J. Mitchell

    • You want short-term, destructive behaviour for the short-term appearance of economic stability? Then Greece is just a warm-up for the bigger failures to come.
      No Exit in Sight for U.S. As Fannie, Freddie Flail – WALL STREET JOURNAL (EUROPE)

        _quote We are witnessing the tragic spectacle of the deficit-ridden rescuing the bankrupt with an outpouring of more … red ink—and the taxpayer is left holding the bag.… By extending credit to countries beyond their ability to repay, the final bankruptcy is worse…. There is no point to a bailout that increases world debt when the problem is too much indebtedness already.  Countries are in trouble because they cannot service their current obligations.  The strain on them is not eased by a bailout that loads them up with more.”
    - Former US Secretary of the Treasury, WIlliam E. Simon, writing as if yesterday, instead of in the Wall Street Journal in 1983.

    • Meanwhile, good news for falafel eaters:
      Mediterranean Diet May Hold Key To Avoiding Stroke, Dementia
    • “Wall Street analysts and financial pundits are struggling with a ‘conundrum’…. Retail sales posted an unexpected increase of 3.3 percent in January compared to a year earlier. Furthermore, labor productivity rose a seasonally adjusted 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, exceeding expectations and implying a fall in per unit labor costs.
      “Yet, on the same day as these statistics were released, an unanticipated and substantial rise of U.S. jobless claims was reported. The concurrence of these data presented the conundrum: Why are businesses not taking advantage of their rising sales and declining labor costs to increase employment and output and earn higher profits?
      “The answer, as Mises told us, is that entrepreneurs and workers only belatedly and painfully free themselves from the false and frenzied optimism fostered by the inflationary boom, especially one that turns into a runaway bubble. Once people finally do recover a sober view of reality, a deep and abiding pessimism sets in and makes entrepreneurs especially wary of embarking on new and seemingly profitable ventures. As Mises explained it . . . ”
      Read on : Mises Solves Current "Conundrum"--60 Years in Advance

    • 6a00d8341bf72a53ef012877890e8d970c-300wi A fascinating essay here by the son of architect Richard Neutra (the designer of the house in which Ayn Rand wrote the Fountainhead screenplay), which examines the “internal architecture” of his legendary father through a 1958 Berkeley psychological study. [Hat tip Prairie Mod]
      Neutra Territory  - DWELL.COM

    • “Every investment prospectus warns that ‘past performance is no guarantee of future results.’ But suppose that an investment professional's record contains nothing but losses, of failed prediction after failed prediction. Who would still entrust that investor with his money?
          “Yet, in public policy there is one group with a dismal track record that Americans never seem to tire of supporting. We invest heavily in its spurious predictions, suffer devastating losses, and react by investing even more, never seeming to learn from the experience. The group I’m talking about is the environmentalist movement. . . ”
      No More Green Guilt – Keith Lockitch
    • Town planners in Denver are saying “Everybody Must Get Zoned.” “At 639 pages, the old zoning code was considered horribly complicated and cumbersome. Weighing in at 730 pages, not including 76 neighborhood maps and six Overlay District maps, the new zoning code is being called an improvement. It is a control-freak fantasy, with detailed rules for every aspect of city life.”
      Everybody must get zoned: Kenny Be looks at Denver's new zoning rules

        _quote Zoning is a progressive political idea that essentially collectivizes
    land use decisions by creating a ‘public’ right to land use. When
    communities adopt zoning, they are essentially nullifying private
    property rights in favor of community control.”
    - Bill Fischel, ‘The Economics of Zoning Laws: A Property
    Rights Approach to American Land Use Controls

    • Was the "pioneer spirit" the “product of faith."  Hell no! “The "can-do pioneering spirit" is the product of reason, not faith.
      Whence can-do?
    • How about some practical ethics? "With Ayn Rand's Benevolent Universe premise as a starting point, Tod discusses various ways to answer one of the tough questions: What Should I Do With My Life?"
      How to Decide What You Should Do With Your Life – A BLOG BY TOD
    • How about taking a Hotel Hell Vacation?  Motella has the story.
    • Progressives and Pragmatists.  They’re one and the same, you know.  So where does that place Obama?
      Is Obama a Pragmatist? 
    • Anyone else sick and tired of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of bleeding needs?
      Stop the Maslow Madness – William Green
    • Sarah Palin speaking to 600 “Tea Party Nation” people creates a national media frenzy. Asks Tea Party Patriots, an organization with a reach of millions of members and over 1,000 voluntarily affiliated tea party and 912 local groups: “WHY WOULD 600 PEOPLE AT A RALLY CREATE A MEDIA FREENZY?”  Says The New Clarion: “I’m convinced that this event was covered to designate the Tea Party movement as a right wing Republican movement. I doubt it will work because the parties I attended last year were mostly independent voters with some Repubs and Dems as well. But they may get some mileage out of it. Stay tuned.”
      Hijacking the Tea Party Movement? - THE NEW CLARION
    • Thrutch reckons this interview interview with Mark Pincus, founder and chief executive of Zynga, a provider of online social games, is a great condensation of the principles of rational management.
      Are You a C.E.O. of Something? – CORNER OFFICE
    • Are these the funniest reviews of Avatar you’ve seen?  They’re less a review than an evisceration! “From the sick genius behind the 70 minute review of “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”, an equally insightful and hilarious two-part review of Avatar.”


    And finally, here’s George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (click on part 2 once it finishes).  Have a great weekend.


    1. I told you Norris was a weasel...

    2. re: Peter Garrett: Rocker for truth, justice & a better world is on the brink of a fall over championing that most pressing of causes, home insulation!! Dee Oilz! Power, Passion and Pink Batts for the people! (And he's killed more than Oz lost in five years in Afghanistan. It's tough out there in the home insulation trenches.)

    3. The Moviemento Libertario Party in Costa Rica was running on an "get tough on crime" and drug prohibition platform as well as promising a free computer for every primary school student. It is the goodies that count.

    4. I have just been reading a review of a new book on the history of slavery. I am quite sure that kids in our schools believe the Anglo/Americans invented slavery whereas they were actually the first to make it illegal.
      Slavery never took root (or survived) in England and northern Europe as much as elsewhere because the Anglo Christians in particular had a strong sense of the nature of rights in property and did not feel comfortable with extending those rights to ownership of other Christians. For a while they joined in the New Americas bonanza by enslaving heretics and non believers only.
      But only 5% of the slaves who crossed the Atlantic ended up in North America.
      Anyhow, the dilemma the English faced in making slavery illegal was that they recognized the property rights of the slave owners.
      So the UK government actually paid 20 million pounds to UK slaveowners in compensation for their lost property rights. The American government refused to compensate and this was one major reason for the Civil war that almost destroyed the Union.
      Interesting history given that our Government would not compensate for loss of property rights in telecom - let alone in private land taken for the public good. And there is no mention of compensation in the Auckland Governance (Law reform) Bill even though it says the Auckland Spatial Plan must protect significant ecological areas.


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