Friday, 25 June 2010


So that’s it.  If you’d told me two weeks ago that New Zealand would finish the World Cup unbeaten and finish ahead of Italy—and that I’d watch all their games—I wouldn’t have believed you.

Still, while our eyes were focussed on events in South Africa, other things were happening around the world too...

  • The commander of the Afghanistan campaign, in which New Zealand troops are involved, has been fired over the Rolling Stone scandal. But surely the real scandal exposed in Rolling Stone is not his criticisms of his bosses, but his widely acclaimed but sadly failing “counterinsurgency” strategy, and how it needlessly imperils soldiers’ lives--shifting the risks from Afghan civilians to Western combatants. Not to mention the politicisation and expansion of a war that started with one simple aim, and now has too many, and all too diffuse.
    McChrystal’s other — deadly — scandal – Eland Journo, VOICES OF REASON
    General McChrystal and the War in Afghanistan – OBJECTIVIST INDIVIDUALIST
  • "It is typical of the spin era that the first serious ‘crisis’ in relations between General McChrystal and President Obama occurs over a few disobliging words the General and his team spoke about the President and his team. The endless rounds of deaths and dangerous patrols, the delays in finding political settlements on the ground and the ubiquitous ability of the ‘insurgents’ to reappear are not apparently worthy reasons to recall the General for talks, but a magazine article is."
    The President and the General – British MP John Redwood [hat tip Samizdata]
  • The only possible element of hope is the appointment of David Petraeus to the Commander’s post. In a message following "
  • Speaking of sackings, Julia-Gillard_0Australia just elected had appointed a Fabian socialist Prime Minister to replace the softcock drongo they finally saw through. Wonder how long it will be before they want to see the back of Red Julia too?
    Julia Gillard - New Aussie P.M.'s Red Roots – TREVOR LOUDON
  • Her biggest and most immediate decision: to can or not to can the iniquitous mining tax grab imposed by her predecessor and his Treasurer to pay for Australia’s ballooning welfare bill by strangling its golden goose.  The Aussie dollar has already leaped up on the back of expectation that it will be canned, but all that’s agreed do far is that the mining tax grab ads will be pulled. Which leaves a lot of uncertainty about a tax her over-spending government needs, but the country just can’t afford.
    Uncertainty over mining tax remains as Julia Gillard takes over – THE AUSTRALIAN
  • By the way, have you noticed talk that the “flood of boat people” into Australia was one of the issues that brought down Kevin Rudd?  How big is this flood of human beings seeking more freedom and a better life?  Thousands? Hundreds of thousands?  Well, no. According to one of the primary instigators of the “flood” meme, the otherwise excellent Andrew Bolt, the critical number is just 1500.  1500 souls in a country of 20 million. If this “flood” of humanity is really is an issue, it’s both deplorable and demonstrably wrong. Just one reason I’ll be adding this new pro-immigration blog to my blogroll very shortly, The Mother of Exiles blog:
    Mother of Exiles
  • And for more links and stories see my own coverage of yesterday’s ejection of Kevin’07 for the woman who looks more and more like Helen Clark with sex appeal.
    A lesson from Canberra – NOT PC
  • “So if he cried, forgive. His end was cruel.”
    No wonder Kevin cried  - ANDREW BOLT
  • And already there’s an episode of Downfall for Poor Kev.
    Kevin Rudd's Downfall – YOUTUBE
  • As country after country realises that organising debt into currency is the way to penury instead of prosperity, Britain finds itself the latest canary in this Keynesian coal mine—and its Con-Dem government releases an Emergency Budget that … still fails to really take advantage of a good crisis.
    Osborne’s emergency budget accepts Labour’s larger state - LIBERTY SCOTT
  • “The government can’t borrow much more, it can’t spend much more and it can’t tax much more; nor can it grow the economy out of its current mess (as if it ever could!). The only other way to pay off its debts is by massive inflation, which would produce a catastrophe reminiscent of the Weimar Republic after World War One. The implications are national insolvency down the road and it is against this background – and the failure of Keynesian spend-your-way-out-of-it policies that the historic Emergency Budget must be judged.”
    Keynesian policies have brought Britain to the brink of ruin – Kevin Dowd, IEA BLOG
    Emergency Budget: real spending will be frozen, not cut – Philip Booth, IEA BLOG
  • And the fact remains that, just like in the Great Depression, it’s proving to be those countries which are limiting public spending that are keeping more jobs.
    Lower public spending leads to more jobs – Richard Teather, IEA BLOG
    Stimulus Spending and Unemployment  - Steve Kates, CATALLAXY FILES
  • Things look bleak indeed, even with these few cuts. Still, Craig Ceely and others want to know who elected Ludwig Von Mises to the High Wycombe electorate!
    Austrian economics come to CentreRight – COBDEN CENTRE
     Labour's legacy is a choice between unpleasant cuts in public spending, a sovereign debt crisis or currency debasement  - Steve Baker, MP, CENTRERIGHT
    Watch for the monetary lesson in his maiden speech from about 3 minutes on…
  • We’re near the breakdown of the present fiat monetary system that Baker so easily describes, a breakdown which was just as inevitable this time as the breakup of every system of fiat money has been.  A good time to look back at Henry Hazlitt’s prescient criticisms of the Bretton Woods system, that mid-century Keynesian abortion premised on organising the expansion of the world’s economies on the back of oodles of paper money backed only by phoney credit. A shame that so much of that plan is still with us.
    Hazlitt's Battle with Bretton Woods – MISES DAILY
  • Here’s a frightening graph (pinched from Kate’s Small Dead Animals blog). It shows the world’s paper “hockey stick” since gold was abandoned in favour of paper money (see when it started taking off around the time of that Bretton Woods agreement in 1944?). 
    And you know what’s most frightening about it? It’s when you reflect that all that paper money was organised out of all the debt that can’t now be repaid. Because that’s (still) the Keynesian way you know…
  • The problem is everywhere, even as politicians try to spin their way out of it (spin is the only ammunition now in their depleted locker). Yaron Brook looks at the fiction of America’s “Recovery Summer” now being touted from the White House. Just how much good has 800 Gazillion Dollars done to teh economy? Ah . . .
    Recovery Summer: Team Obama to the Rescue! – PJTV
  • Herewith some much needed intellectual ammunition for Tea Party activists, from the same source.
  • So just by the way, what was Obama doing taking BP off the hook for its oil spill?
    "This is no longer BP's problem. Now, it's the president's. The administration's hand-picked fund czar must decide how many fish went uncaught, how many hotel rooms would have been booked if not for the threat of oil-stained beaches, and so forth."
    DISASTER IN THE GULF: That 'shakedown' could be a gift to BP – HOUSTON CHRONICLE
  • But what happened to the rule of law? “Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere. And yet that is precisely what is happening with a $20 billion fund to be provided by BP to compensate people harmed by their oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.”
     Is U.S. Now On Slippery Slope To Tyranny? – THOMAS SOWELL
  • And what’s this nonsense about America having an oil “addiction.” Is that the most over-used world in the postmodern handbook? “… oil’s detractors call it an addiction, downplaying its enormous benefits as fleeting pleasures that will necessarily bring long-term pain and destruction. An oil-based economy will inevitably collapse, they say, because oil is finite and will run out, because foreign oil causes terrorism, because oil, as a fossil fuel, will bring about climate catastrophe. Let’s examine these myths about oil.”
    Three myths about oil – Alex Epstein, FORBES MAGAZINE
  • Poor POTUS. Things are not going well for him—and Washington scuttlebutt says they’re going even worse than what you’re seeing, as the well-connected John Batchelor summarises:

            “Disturbing and mesmerizing whispering that the Oval Office is the scene of stormy
          and romantic melodrama between POTUS and his most senior and trusted advisers.  
          Whispering that POTUS is sleeping poorly and is much aggrieved at slights, shortfalls,
          interruptions. Whispering that POTUS is vulnerable to jet lag. That POTUS has returned
          to chain-smoking. That POTUS hesitates to heed his advisers, because POTUS frets that
          he is being sand-bagged by experts, allies, confidantes.Whispering that POTUS frailties
           most in display in West Wing settings. That POTUS evidences a Nixonian persecution
          mania. Can any of this be confirmed? Not easily. Less detailed, POTUS is said to express
          his opinion to pals in Chicago that he dislikes his job. Wilder whisperings that some pros
           are now weighing that POTUS try an LBJ exit after one term - rather than face a Carter
        Is Washington Whispering Obama's Name? – DAN RIEHL

  • You know what’s funniest about this Daily Show piece on Obama’s big BP speech and America’s “Energy Independent Future”? It’s because it was also posted at the Greens’s Frog Blog, but when the Greens see decades of lost opportunity in creating their dream (“Oh, if only John Boy & Mary Ellen could have been here to see our latest energy independent future!”), I see the abject and inevitable failure of central planning to plan any damn thing, let alone the future. 
    As they say, fine words butter no parsnips—nor create any new windmills, solar panels or tidal energy stations.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
An Energy-Independent Future
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

  • The west now has a confused relationship to risk, elevating “risk avoidance” to an illusory ethical standard, resulting in the production of what Frank Furedi calls "fantasy documents" on policy -- including responses to emergencies -- that provide no real-world guidance. (Are you listening, BP?) Says Furedi, “risk is no longer regarded as an opportunity but as a hazard to be avoided. As a result, risk-taking is now culturally stigmatised. People who take risks are frequently denounced for being, by definition, irresponsible.” But as living beings, we must take risks: the very act of pursuing the values necessary to keep alive entails risk.
    Frank Furedi and Gus Van Horn consider this important question.
    Value Avoidance – GUS VAN HORN
    Why BP is not very slick in an emergency – Frank Furedi, SPIKED
  • Some erudite chap or chappess contributed my post on ‘The schadenfreude of the postmodern president’ to the Bookworm Room blog. Thank you, whoever you are.  And thanks to the Bookworm Room blog for the interest.
    The Bookworm Room blog
  • Here’s another myth that desperately needs exploding:
    The Myth of Retirement Planning – TWIN TIER FINANCIAL
  • Burgess Laughlin takes a good hard look at Bradley Thompson’s important new book, a historically and philosophically deep look at neoconservatism. The  post suggests a more descriptive title for the book might have been: Neoconservatism: Its Philosophical Nature, Historical Roots, and Poisonous Fruit. The neocon movement is very much alive and still a threat.”:
    A Chronology for “Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea” – BURGESS LAUGHLIN
  • How often have you heard the claim that those who were “unlucky” when it came to handing out the talents and opportunities need someone to make their particular playing fields more level? But what if you learned that compensating people for supposedly “unequal” luck in life simply means penalizing the virtuous for the sake of the vicious.
    Compensating for Unequal Luck – Diana Hsieh, NOODLE FOOD
  • Here’s another common myth about rational selfishness, another myth that needs exploding:
    Living for yourself is not living only for yourself – Beth Haynes, WEALTH IS NOT THE PROBLEM

 That’s it for now. More later…


  1. The author (economist Kevin Dowd) of the article you quoted from IEA blog:

    Keynesian policies have brought Britain to the brink of ruin

    has written an excellent book, which I recommend to any analyst out there who works in the financial markets industry, because I find it very useful.

    Measuring Market Risk , 2nd Edition

    I've had this book for about 3 years and its very helpful.

  2. And he's just written another, '
    Alchemists of Loss: How Modern Finance and Government Intervention Crashed the Finance System'

    It looks like a must-have:

    "This book is a page turner. It is a must for anybody who has an interest in what has gone wrong with our financial system and thus the economy, and what can be done to fix the problems created.

    "It is an unparalleled tour de force of the last 300 years of modern finance with special focus on the last 30 years and microscopic focus on the last 30 months. In years to come this will be a book that our children and our grandchildren refer to when studying “The Great Crash” of the last years of the last decade."

  3. Richard McGrath25 Jun 2010, 18:51:00

    On the radio this morning I heard someone describe Julia Gillard as a female version of Helen Clark.


  4. Richard McGrath26 Jun 2010, 12:03:00

    Great line from Jon Stewart: "Let's just use oil... I will not allow those dinosaurs to have died in vain!"

  5. Not related to any of the ramblings, Peter, but you might enjoy this (architectural) link:

  6. Let's get density, wealth, cars, oil and GHGs in perspective.
    See my friend Wendell Cox's wonderful array of facts on this video.


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.