Friday, 4 June 2010

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: The ‘Money’ edition

Hi there readers, and welcome to another regular ramble round the interweb.

  • If Rodney Hide had any evidence at all the his new super-bureaucracy for Auckland would save ratepayers any money at all, you can be damn sure he’d be shouting that news from the rooftops.  So when instead he’s insisting “it isn’t being set up to save money” you can be damn sure it won’t be.
    So given that the transition costs alone will be upwards of $266 million—over one quarter of a billion dollars of yours and my money—just what the hell is the reason for it all then? Is this really the way ACT members want to spend their little remaining political capital?
    Can someone please tell me in words of one syllable?
    Super City's set-up costs top $200m and counting – NZ HERALD
    Hide spins on super city costs – hold the front page – RED ALERT
    Super-city not created to save money - Hide – RADIO NZ
  • For one brief moment this National Government looked like it might have remembered one or two of its principles.  But in one brief statement yesterday afternoon John Key killed any speculation it might, jut might, float part of Kiwibank. “The Government has 'no intention' of selling Kiwibank, Prime Minister John Key says.”  So much for that hope then that we might hear the ‘P’  word in their second term.
    Kiwibank sale ruled out - for now  - THE PRESS
  • Real bloggers submit their best work for the Air New Zealand Blog Awards.  Check them out for a great way to find new blogs to add to your regular reading.
    Air New Zealand Best Blog Award
  • “Politics is not about entertainment.”  And on that both I and Idiot'/Savant can agree.
    Politics is not about entertainment – NO RIGHT TURN
  • Telecom run a new ad saying "we've sacked the pricks responsible and now it's working.” Leastways, that’s what Cactus Kate reckons it says.
    Million-dollar Man Up To His Waders – CACTUS KATE
  • “Was the Gaza flotilla really humanitarian aid, or a push from enemy combatants? And, is the current crisis in Israel a potential flashpoint for a major clash between the nations?” Steve Green, Bill Whittle & co analyse what is next for Israel.  Money quote comes from Whittle in the conclusion:
            ”"You show weakness to these people and more flotilla ships are coming ... You have
        got to now be brutally firm with these folks and I'll put this to you as plainly as I can.
            "You mention Ahmadinejad. If it turns out that this ability to look reasonable
        and measured gives this man the impression that he can ... See Morelaunch a
        nuclear attack on Israel hundreds of millions of people are going to die because
        Israel didn't do what they needed to do to stop a ship that had 50 people on it.
            "This is the reality of how the world works and people better understand this
        principle or things are going to get very, very ugly."
    Flotilla Dissent: What Should Israel Do Now? – PAJAMAS MEDIA
  • Joe Biden’s broken linkage between brain and tongue finally hits on the truth: “[The Israelis have] said, 'Here you go. You're in the Mediterranean. This ship — if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we'll get the stuff into Gaza.' So what's the big deal here? What's the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it's legitimate for Israel to say, 'I don't know what's on that ship. These guys are dropping …3,000 rockets on my people."
    Say It Isn't So, Joe – ROADKILL DIARIES
  • Even some of America’s liberal media have been doing a serious rethink.
    The Fraudulent Flotilla: Even Some Liberals Get It – VITAL SIGNS
  • Shame Biden’s boss lacks the same ability.
    Obama Abandons Israel to UN Feeding Frenzy – FOX
  • Um, why is Obama’s Administration helping protect kiddy fiddlers?
    Is the Vatican a Sovereign State? – CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS
  • In fact, Obama only fiddles while a communist dictator sinks an allied ship, Islamic fanatics build nuclear bombs while threatening to annihilate Israel, and hostile socialist dictators in South and Central America flourish.  “America's enemies are swarming and attacking with impunity, filling the relativist vacuum generated by Obama's ideology of appeasement and anti-American apologism. However, lest you think Obama incapable of leading a military campaign, consider that Obama stands at the vanguard of at least one inauspicious police force - the thought police. “
    Obama's Thought Police Are Coming  - RATIONAL CAPITALIST
  • Still, there is something Obama is good at. Politically correct verbal vacuousness.
    Obama's Nobel Prize for Rhetoric- ROGER BATE
  • Kate wonders whether  we’re seeing “the Greater American Theocracy? ... or just a trifecta of clowns.”
    Progressia: What Did You Elect? – ROADKILL DIARIES

  • The murders in Cumbria are tragic.  Another twelve people killed because nobody was allowed to shoot back.
    Another gun massacre that nobody could interrupt because they didn't have the guns handy  - SAMIZDATA
  • Noting that “no industry in living memory has collapsed faster than daily print journalism”, P. J. O’Rourke proposes a wild print-rescuing innovation: the pre-obituary, “official notices that certain people aren’t dead yet accompanied by brief summaries of their lives indicating why we wish they were.” [Via Tim Blair]
    Not Dead Yet: Introducing the pre-obituary: a few choice words before you go – PJ O’ROURKE
  • You think business corporations are the most powerful entities in the world? Stephen Hicks contemplates a simple event that demonstrates that one mid-level bureaucrat is more powerful than even the world’s third-richest man, and the profound implications of that.
  • Warren Buffett and the power of corporations – STEPHEN HICKS
  • The so-called climate consensus continues to collapse.  Britain’s scientific Royal Society is force by its scientist members to redact its support for the global warming mantra, and for the so-called consensus.
    Rebel scientists force Royal Society to accept climate change scepticism – TIMES ONLINE
  • Oops.  Just when you thought the reputation of so-called climate scientists couldn’t get any lower … looks like NASA’s been caught deleting inconvenient temperature data again.
    GISS Deletes Arctic And Southern Ocean Sea Surface Temperature Data – WATTS UP WITH THAT
  • You thought Enron was a scam?  Just wait ‘til you see the new economic alchemists using Emissions Trading to turn carbon into gold.  Latest example on that score: South African company Eskom, who’ve sucked down a multi-billion World Bank loan to build the world’s fourth-largest coal-fired power station, for which Eskom will also suck down several million dollars in carbon credits. “This is of course a sort of magical solution that I have written about before,” says Roger Pielke, Jr.  “Of course a new coal plant, even if built with the best available technology is going to dramatically increase emissions, regardless of the accounting tricks of offsets and emissions trading. This alone is farcical, but it gets even better….”
    Environmental Defence Fund to Win World Cup for Chutzpah? – ROGER PIELKE JR.
  • Speaking of scams, how about this doozy that the stimulunatics have been playing with.  “The Fed has inflated the available money supply by 1 trillion dollars while simultaneously paying banks to not loan 1 trillion dollars.” So where’s the (hyper)inflation?  “Killing loans is how they are hiding the evidence and disguising the potential hyperinflationary effect of monetizing.”  So what’s the effect of all this?  The “stimulus” and excess-reserves-interest transactions “are taking vast sums of money out of the private sector and distributing it to political factions.”
    Money supply, the stimulus & where is the inflation? – SAMIZDATA
  • More on the intellectual bankruptcy of stimulunacy: “Prof. Paul Krugman asserts in his New York Times column of May 31st that ‘Both textbook economics and experience say that slashing spending when you’re still suffering from high unemployment is a really bad idea — not only does it deepen the slump, but it does little to improve the budget outlook, because much of what governments save by spending less they lose as a weaker economy depresses tax receipts.’ But while Prof. Krugman and most other fiscalists believe this to be self-evident, it is not.  Indeed, this fiscalist dogma fails to withstand the indignity of empirical verification.”
    In other words, the facts say otherwise, Paul.
    Prof. Krugman Is Wrong, Again  - STEVE HANKE
  • The Welfare State of Greece learns a lesson: Reality can’t be avoided indefinitely.
    Second firm withdraws drugs from Greece over cuts – BBC
  • The economic tragedy unfolding in Greece is the welfare state taken to its logical conclusion.  When groups of people use the state to live at the expense of others, the feedback loop about the costs of those transfers is attenuated — often by design.  The welfare state therefore makes commitments that it cannot honor.  By the time creditors or taxpayers say, “Enough,” the welfare state has created a clash between expectations and means that leads to unrest and hardship
    The Welfare State, Taken to Its Logical Conclusion – CATO@LIBERTY
  • MiserDespite the abundant evidence to the contrary provided by the European government-debt crisis, some economists still insist that governments can create something from nothing.
    Beware Dr. Galbraith's Snake OilPAUL HSIEH
  • Guess what.  Rudyard Kipling saw it all coming decades ago.
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings – ROBERT TRACINSKI
  •   Let’s hear it for misers!
    Defending the Miser – WALTER BLOCK
  • More on BP’s crony capitalism. In last week’s ramble we talked about BP’s strong financial links to government, asking “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?”  This week the Washington Post picks up on BP’s relationship with green groups with whom its’ gone into business partnership, making the question even more pointed.
     Washington Post Exposes BP ties to Eco-Groups, Other Media Ignore Controversy  - BUSINESS & MEDIA INSTITUTE
  • So, pace Russ Roberts, who will be the first alleged economist to commit the Broken Window Fallacy over the oil spill by talking about all the alleged economic benefits that will come from the clean-up?
    Cleaning up after the black swanCAFE HAYEK
  • Many people are confused by the Bible.  They think it’s full of good family values.  These are people who need to read The Dark Bible.
    The Dark Bible (version 2.10)
  • Christopher Hitchen explains the origins of Islam, and The Koran--and how it’s even more confusing than The Bible:
  • It’s been fifty years since the launch of The Pill (so important, it’s still the only pill to be capitalised). And asinine  religious arguments  have been going just as long—and showing no sign of stopping.  The latest example: Think of the fish!
    "The Pill kills" – REASON PHARM
  • Here are the fifty best science blogs, and counting…
    Wanted: The hottest science blogs on the world wide web – THE GUARDIAN
  • Who’s responsible for your credit card debt?  You?  No, say behaviourist excuse-makers, it’s all the fault of the credit card companies. Welcome to the conjunction of bad psychology and financial planning.
    Behaviorism in Financial Planning - TWIN TIER FINANCIAL
  • It is commonly believed that to be a just person, one who treats others fairly, one must be selfless. Ayn Rand demonstrated that nothing could be further from the truth. She held that justice is a selfish virtue.
    In this talk, Dr. Smith, professor of philosophy at the University of Texas and author of Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist, explores Ayn Rand’s unique conception of justice. After explaining why it is in one’s self-interest to be a just person, Dr. Smith explores several related topics, including: the emphatic need to judge other people; how today’s pervasive egalitarianism is completely anti-justice; and when, if ever, forgiveness and mercy are justified.
    A fuller understanding of the virtue of justice, Dr. Smith believes, can enable each of us to live more successful, happy lives.
      Passing Judgment: Ayn Rand’s View of Justice – ARC-TV
  • 9780470603017 Regular readers here might remember our friend Robert White, formerly of Hamilton and Auckland, who’s now employed as a philosophy professor at the American University in Bulgaria.  And he’s getting published, including in a new book on Mad Men & Philosophy, a “pop culture” look at the insufferably bad TV series, in which he has a chapter on "Egoless Egoists: The Second-Hand Lives of Mad Men.”
    Well done, Robert.
  • A new magazine article looks at “the surge of Atlas Shrugged during the financial crisis, what its ideas expose about the crisis, its concept of moral selfishness, and its Americanism. Worth checking out for the cover."
    The Surge of Atlas Shrugged – CYRANO RISES
  • Education vouchers are not the way to liberate education from the state’s hands.  New Jersey provides the latest evidence against them.
    The Voucher Trojan Horse – PRINCIPLED PERSPECTIVE
  • More good parenting tips from Rational Jenn and friends, this time a podcast on “Free Range Kids”, and a post on how kids can get good experience with money--AND with contract negotiations!
    Podcast #5: Free Range Parenting – JENN CASEY & KELLY ELMORE
    Kids and MoneyRATIONAL JENN
  • I know at least one NOT PC reader who’s heading to Atlanta for the Objectivist Mini-Con soon. Anyone else?
    MiniCon Registration is Live!RATIONAL JENN
  • The Liberating Education blog links to this “fantastic TED talk by music expert Benjamin Zander about how to teach understanding and appreciation of classical music. His comments on "shining eyes" should be the sine qua non of all teachers.”
    Benjamin Zander on music and passion – TED

  • There’s one event every four years when soccer finally earns its place in word affairs.  You know what it is? No, not the World Cup, stupid. It’s the World Cup girls in bodypaint!!!!
    World Cup Girls in Bodypaint will make you drool - BROSOME
  • Eric Crampton talks sexual economics and…
    The Benefits of alcohol – OFFSETTING BEHAVIOUR
  • And speaking of sexual economics again (how’s that for a segue, boys), here’s a trailer for the American adaptation of Kiwi TV show ‘Outrageous Fortune.’ [Hat tip Public Address]
  • It’s the opening night of Hone Harawira: The Musical -- the dancers and singers bustle around crates of live ammunition and dozens of guerrilla fighters, and Danyl from Dim Post is on had to interview Hone just moments before his coup to overthrow the government.  Yes folks, it’s fine satire time again.
    An interview with Hone Harawira – DIM POST
  • Remember when Ragnar Danneskjold reckoned he’d chosen a special mission of his own; to destroy the man who legend says stole from the rich to give to the poor? It looks increasingly like Ridley Scott chose a different approach: to turn him into George Washington.
    Robin Hood and the Tea Party Haters – DAVID BOAZ
  • Here’s an old favourite from some of the Buena Vista Social Club boys [hat tip Jazz on the Tube]
  • And finally, a topical song from Bob.  If you’re not sure what he’s singing about, and I’ll wager you won’t be, then check out Bob’s lyrics. And reflect this was recorded just two years after Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor.
        ”Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad
          The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad
          He’s the neighborhood bully…”

That’s all for this week.
Have a great weekend!


  1. Those who understand tax law will understand how an individual's privacy took another king hit in NZ today.

    [I like Tribeless under comments ;) ]

  2. Those World Cup Girls have got lovely breasts.

  3. The Zander talk is fantastic. Masterful.


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