Friday, 28 May 2010

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: It’s mind-changing!

Ready to ramble round the interweb again?  Not counting the many fine posts here at NOT PC, Here’s the best liberty links I’ve spotted for you this week.

  • This is how to honestly change your mind (in chronological order)
    1. “Maybe I’m missing something, but the TV3 story about Key and his vineyard sounds a bit daft to me: Key invested in the vineyard before he was elected and his investments were then placed into a blind trust – is he supposed to pretend he can’t remember buying a vineyard?”
    Maybe I’m missing something . . .DIM POST
    2. “So the allegation is that Key transferred his assets into a company managed by his blind trust – but that he had visibility of the assets owned by that company. This contradicts his previous statements to Parliament. So they might have something there.”
    Okay now I see it – DIM POST
    3. “Shockingly enough it looks as if Labour’s latest attack against Key actually stacks up…”
    Stage 1 – DIM POST
  • prison_extension_2 When you’re thinking about the eight-story prison rising beside the gateway to Auckland, towering over school playing fields blocking the view of the harbour and the city’s volcanic cones, just remember that that people who designed, built and gave permission for it to be built—which includes the council’s so-called Urban Design Panel—are the people that the Resource Management Act gives absolute say-so over the quality of the built environment.
    Mt Eden-finished So why would you want to give them that power?
    Prison an "architectural monstrosity"
    - TVNZ
    Looming prison tower offends community – NZ HERALD
    "Architect" Phil Goff Invited To Give Speech Outside Mt Eden Prison – CAMERON BREWER
  • Don’t get yourself too excited about the British Con-Lib government “slashing” their spending.  In just one short announcement of the cuts Liberty Scott counts four lies, two shifty evasions, one incompetent explanation—and a pretty limp-wristed attempt to cut anything very much at all.
    Much Ado About 1% – LIBERTY SCOTT
  • “Chris Trotter writes an interesting piece on what may have lain behind National’s rejection of the Tuhoe ‘deal.’ Well worth reading.” [Hat tip Inquiring Mind]
    Coming Apart, Or Holding Together?  - CHRIS TROTTER
  • “Over at the (low) Standard Marty G is proving once again that he doesn't know much about economics. He gives us Privatisation: The facts. Read them if you must. As a public service let me give some actual facts about privatisation.”
    Privatisation: the facts – ANTI DISMAL
    UPDATE: But there’s more!
    Privatisation: the "facts" – ANTI DISMAL
  • Over at Kiwiblog and The Visible Hand, David Farrar and Matt Nolan show once again they know nothing about the Emissions Tax Scam, but plenty about spin.  Says Matt, quoted approvingly by the Manatee, “The ETS is a scheme to raise the funds to pay for our [sic] Kyoto Liability.  Even if you don’t believe in global warming, we [sic] have a liability that is based on carbon emissions.  As a nation, either people who produce the carbon pay for it – or everyone pays for it through higher taxes.” Or else “we” simply repudiate this simple scheme that Simply Simon Upton stupidly signed up to. 
    Fortunately their commenters “get” that, even if the spin doctors bloggers don’t.
    National, Labour, Greens: You all get this, please help clear it up! - VALUE-FREE ECONOMICS BLOG
  • But we need an Emissions Tax Scam to impress our trading partners, you say?  Bullshit, say the facts:
        Value of NZ trade with countries having some sort of trading scam themselves: $5 billion.   
        Value of NZ trade with countries having nothing of the kind: $34.5 billion.
        Countries outside the European Union who’ve shackled themselves with an Emissions
        Tax Scam: One.  Us.
    The Magical Twenty Nine Countries with an ETS – NO MINISTER
  • So that’s just us and the European Union, then.  Oh, and California.  I wonder how are things going there…?
        “California, that former land of opportunity, was one of the first states to pass its own version of "cap and trade" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2007 when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the law, called AB-32, he said it would propel California into an economy-expanding, green job future. Well, a new study by the state's own auditing agency—its version of the Congressional Budget Office—has burst that green bubble.
        “The study released May 13 concludes that ‘California's economy at large will likely be adversely affected in the near term by implementing climate-related policies that are not adopted elsewhere.’ While the long-term economic costs are ‘unknown,’ the study finds that AB-32 will raise energy prices, ‘causing the prices of goods and services to rise; lowering business profits; and reducing production, income and jobs.’
        “The economic reality here is what the Legislative Analyst's Office calls ‘economic leakage.’ That's jargon for businesses and jobs that will ‘locate or relocate outside the state of California where regulatory-related costs are lower.’ The study says the negative impact on most California industries will be ‘modest,’ but energy-intensive industries—specifically, aluminum, chemicals, forest products, oil and gas and steel—’may significantly reduce their business activity in California.’”
     Cap and Flee: California refutes its own 'green jobs' policy - FLASH REPORT
  • I haven’t watched it all yet, but regular reader Falufulu Fisi reckons that if you watch this five-part series on You Tube you’ll have a much clearer grasp of what I mean when I say that banks create money “out of thin air”; or when economists talk about “the organisation of debt into currency.”
  • As they say:
    Debt Money-It’s the Ultimate Ponzi Scheme – DAVID McGREGOR
  • What to do about North Korea?
    1) Perry de Havilland calls for the simplest solution, and his commenters explain to him why it’s not that simple.
    Crisis in Korea... - SAMIZDATA
    2) Hitchens hits it, especially in the last sentence!  The headline isn’t too bad either.
    How Kim Jong-il blackmails the West into supporting his evil North Korean regime. – CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS
  • Speaking of Hitchens, here he is talking to Kim Hill last weekend about, well, everything really. Agree or disagree, it’s wonderful to hear such pithy, articulate conversation.  Something to enjoy, and aspire to.
    Listen here. Download here.  40 min.
    Saturday Morning with Kim Hill: Christopher Hitchens – THE DAILY HITCHENS
  • Okay, when is this going to get sorted:

    “According to the yellow CPI line our core state spending [sic] should now be around $40billion instead of the budgeted $64.7billion….”
    Crikey, even the Europeans know it’s time to sort this shit out, don’t they?  Don’t they??
    When and how?  - NO MINISTER
  • It’s already too late for America.
    Deficit Landmines Dead Ahead! – DOUG CASEY REPORT
  • Who would have thought it? Second-hand appliance dealers conniving with beneficiaries to deceive Work and Income.  Looks like yet another confirmation of Milton Friedman’s Four Rules of Spending. Rule No. 3: “I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch!” Or an X-Box.
    WINZ sting exposes beneficiary scam  - NZ HERALD
    Milton Friedman on the four ways you can spend money  - SIGNAL VS. NOISE
  • “Of all the motivations for reforming the DPB, improving the lot of children is the most important… if [getting parents into] work isn't the answer then it must be more welfare. But if more welfare is given, more children will grow up on welfare and their expectations will be based on their environment and in 20 years time the advocates will still be calling for more welfare. More welfare is an ever-expanding downward spiral.”
    Cheaper to leave them on the DPBLINDSAY MITCHELL
  • Yet another story of how governments use the welfare state to manufacture their own voters. “A morality of sacrifice not only needs sacrificial victims, it also needs recipients. Hence it manufactures the latter in order to further immolate the former.” [Hat tip Thrutch]
    Cliff-Diving into Dependency, and Trolling for Democratic Votes – PAJAMA MEDIA
  • Quite interesting...if we could buy a copier off the government...

  • “In light of Randal Paul's views on abortion, reproduction, and end-of-life decisions, nobody should be asking whether Paul advocates too much liberty.”
    Rand Paul Wants Total Abortion Bans - ARI ARMSTRONG
  • The Wall Street Journal and the Cato Institute have the third-to-last and second-to-last word on the Randal Paul kerfuffle. [Hat tip Vulcan’s Hammer]
    ”Even if Mr. Paul was speaking out of a principled belief in the rights of voluntary association, he was wrong on the Constitutional and historic merits. The Civil Rights Act of 1964—and its companion laws, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965—were designed to address abuses of state and local government power. The Jim Crow laws that sprang up in the South after Reconstruction and prevailed for nearly a century were not merely the result of voluntary association. Discrimination—public and private—was enforced by police power and often by violence.”
    Rand Paul's Constitution: The Kentucky candidate's bad history  – WALL STREET JOURNAL
    ”Contending that only government power saved us from slavery and Jim Crow, it ignores the role of private power – the abolitionists, and the civil rights movement – that brought about that government power. More important, it invites us to believe that government had little or nothing to do with slavery and Jim Crow in the first place…”
    A Bum Rap for Limited Government – CATO
  • Harry Binswanger gets the last word:
       ”Rand Paul (not named for Ayn Rand) is busily retreating from the principle of property rights, which he correctly applied to state his opposition to the portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which denied the right of private businesses to discriminate on the basis of race.
        “What he should have said is that there's a right to be irrational, and racism is the most irrational form of collectivism.
        “Of course, that needs more explanation, because there's only a right to choose between rationality and (non-coercive) irrationality, not a primary right to be irrational. Rights exist to protect the exercise of rationality, which necessarily entails leaving people free to be irrational, as long as they don't initiate physical force.”
    What Rand Paul should have said [excerpt]  - HB LIST
  • It looks increasingly likely that crony capitalism is at least partly to blame for the hash being made of the Gulf Oil Spill. Time to wheel out your public choice economists.
    “The familiar old trap is set: Do you want unfettered markets and oil spills or government regulation and safety?  The implied premise is that the oil industry operates in a free market. So, the argument goes, the only alternative is government regulation…[but] the Gulf oil spill occurred on property owned and managed by the federal government, and the operator-at-fault (BP) has been the most politically active in its industry.
    “Has BP been too busy spending money to [buy politicians, and to] impress the government and the public with how’“green’ it is to look after safety adequately?”
    ”…The free market will undoubtedly take the rap — but it’s an unjust rap. According to
    Reuters, ‘Like BP, both Transocean … and Halliburton, a contractor, also pumped money into the campaign war chests of senators who sit on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee.’
    ”I have a feeling the companies weren’t buying repeal of corporate favors.”

    The BP Spill: Self-Regulation, Public Property, and Political Capitalism – MASTER RESOURCE
  • “Once again, an episode from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged leaps to life from behind closed doors in Washington, D.C. According to a recent report from The Washington Post, President Obama is angry about the British Petroleum oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico:
  • BP-oil-fire-300x225     ‘Since the oil rig exploded, the White House has tried to project a posture that is unflappable and in command.
        ‘But to those tasked with keeping the president apprised of the disaster, Obama’s clenched jaw is becoming an increasingly familiar sight. During one of those sessions in the Oval Office the first week after the spill, a president who rarely vents his frustration cut his aides short, according to one who was there.
        ‘‘Plug the damn hole,’ Obama told them.’

    That’s the politician’s answer to every intractable problem: give orders, issue threats, and wait for obedience. But the creative human mind cannot take orders like that. Notice I didn’t say, ‘refuses to take orders.’ I said, ‘cannot take orders.’”
    “Plug the damn hole!”  - VOICES OF REASON

  • But don’t go thinking Obama is stupid—on foreign policy, or anything else for that matter.
    Obama: Neither Naïve nor Foolish nor Misguided  - RULE OF REASON
  • “Everyone knows that the Obama administration’s decision to suspend consideration of applications to drill in the Arctic is driven by political considerations, some attempt to ‘respond’ to the BP mess in the Gulf. But what strikes me as just how willy nilly the state acts toward the goods and services that fuel civilization itself. The decision makes us all poorer on the margin, increases ‘dependency’ of the U.S. on foreign oil, drives up prices, and sets back social advance in every way – all in the name of some random attempt for one guy to appear ‘strong’ and ‘act’ in the face of an accident. It’s rarely been more obvious, day to day, that the machinery of the state, while pretending to be the caretaker of mother earth, only destroys hope for real human beings.
    Mises Economics Blog Playing Fast and Loose with Civilization – JEFFREY TUCKER

_Quote      A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a
glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two
beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses
between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social
systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration
of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is
an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings."
Ludwig Von Mises- Human Action

  • The Roadkill Diaries calls “bullshit” on bleating about Gaza’s much-touted supply problems.
    Gaza Strip: Not Dry Enough! – SMALL DEAD ANIMALS
  • Bet ya didn’t know that for all the bigotry and banging on the Australian “Liberal” Party and their fellow travellers have been doing about those nasty boat people taking over Australia, there’s been just 60 boats arriving this year.  Break through all the casual bigoty that even infests your basic  Australian newspaper report, and that’s the basic fact. It’s not like the place isn’t big enough to fit them in … or that the Australian economy doesn’t need them.
    Boat 60 arrives at AshmoreWEST AUSTRALIAN
    Former PM takes stand against bigotry, shrugs off party – NOT PC
  • You now how you’re always hearing that those nasty illegal immigrants are all criminals?  No, that’s something else that’s not true.
    New Crime Stats Contradict Anti-Immigration Hype- CATO AT LIBERTY
  • How’s the Aussie dollar doing since the K.Rudd announced his Rape-The-Mining-Companies Tax? Um…

    How’s the Aussie doing? - CATALLAXY
  • “ I often hear from extremely intelligent engineers that they have read all sorts of patents in the last decade that should not have been issued.  Despite their brilliance, I am usually pretty sure that they have no idea what they are talking about.”
    Patent Ignorance – STATE OF INNOVATION
  • And while we’re on patents, let’s talk about the bane of “patent pools”: Antitrust.
    Patent and Antitrust Law   - STATE OF INNOVATION
    Does Cyberspace Need Antitrust? – ERIC CRAMPTON & DON BOUDREAUX
  • All the presentations from the Heartland Institute’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change are here, including presentations from Christopher Monckton, Richard Lindzen, Anthony Watts, Willy Soon , Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre; NZers Chris de Freitas, Bob Carter and Bryan Leyland, and ARI writer Keith Lockitch and Ayn Rand enthusiast Andrei Ilaryanov.
    4th International Conference on Climate Change – ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE NEWS
  • Lindsay Perigo summarises the entire Christian mythology in eight paragraphs.
    There’s more laughs than the Bible. And infinitely more erudition.
    The Story of the Lonely Goblin – LINDSAY PERIGO
  • Something to think about: “why forbidding organ sales creates unnecessary dilemmas.”
    A sale would be cleaner  - REASON-PHARM
  • Some history on the death penalty. “By the mid-fifteenth century crimes subject to the death penalty … included the following: rebellion, fraud, bigamy, incest, arson, theft, adultery, carrying off a woman against her will, blasphemy, moving signs of property boundaries, attacking someone, high treason, child murder, using dishonest weights and measures, murder, counterfeiting, rape, attempted suicide, striking someone to death, converting to Judaism, treason, having sex with animals, and sorcery.”  That’s quite a list, says Stephen Hicks.  “There has been a steady decline in the infliction of this punishment in every decade since the 1930’s … which seems a healthy development — except for that part about letting sorcerers off the hook.”
    The death penalty in fifteenth-century Europe – STEPHEN HICKS
  • I bet you never really “got” commas at school either; yet they make life and reading so much easier. (Just ask the victims of the Panda who eats, shoots and leaves.) 
    Lisa Van Damme from the Van Damme Academy gives you the lesson you should have got in your school.

  • Here’s some top-rate educational satire.  [Hat tip Montessori Ed]
    If you’ve been round this blog any time at all you’ll know by now I’m a keen advocate of Montessori schools, and an enthusiastic denouncer of Montessomething schools, i.e., schools with Montessori on their fancy signboards and hefty invoices, but nowhere inside their school.
    So here’s a website hilariously satirising the schools who foist fraud upon parents, and their children, by selling something they’re not delivering. It’s brilliantly done, right down to the school’s newsletter.
    Start with the page on teacher quality, which would be hilarious if it didn’t describe 95% of schools in New Zealand with the Montessori name on their letterhead.
    PS: Don’t worry if you don’t get the jokes.  Just click on the “Help” menu.
    Visit the Montessomething School! 
  • "Magic, Objectivism, and Peikoff -- what more could you ask for?" Well, maybe Penn.  Or Teller…
    Leonard Peikoff Interview With Magician Steve Cohen - NOODLE FOOD
  • A new DVD release of 1942's 'We the Living' introduces audiences to Rand's brilliant but obscure first novel. Fantastic! [Warning: There are spoilers]
    Love, Politics And Ayn Rand – FORBES MAGAZINE
  • It’s time to stop building those stoopid goddamn social media websites.  Haven’t we got enough already!!!
    8 Websites You Need to Stop Building – THE OATMEAL
  • You see it all the time but, well, “Why would someone advocate an idea that he knows to be false?"
    Putting the Cause Before the Truth – SHEA LEVY
  • Just in case you were wondering what a city without billboards looks like…it’s not pretty.
    Publi-City or No Publi-City – ARKINET BLOG
  • Here’s Django Reinhardt’s song ‘Minor Swing’ updated in Chocalat.

  • And for those who are wondering where the “Ramble” title comes from…here’s Robert Johnson from 1936.

I think that’s me for now.
Have a great weekend!


  1. PC. Thanks for the link. I have added a few thoughts on Marty G's so-called "facts" here.

  2. Huh. I thought it was fairly clear that what Matt N was saying at TVHE was that the ETS is there because of the policy decision, not the other way round. Sort out the policy decision first, then worry about the ETS.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.