Friday, 20 April 2012

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: The “crony” edition

The tarnish is finally and deservedly wearing off Smile and Wave with the realisation that there’s nothing at all behind the smile, and that he doesn’t stand for business in general—only for particular businesses to whom he’s eager to grant favours. It’s called “cronyism,” and it’s as phony as he is.

Paul Hsieh’s latest OpEd discusses why there’s so much “money in politics” everywhere, and why a free market in economics is the only proper solution.
The Best Congress Money Can Buy? – Paul Hsieh, R E A L   C L E A R   M A R K E T S

Strike, strike, strike. If only Dickens had written about a Tiny Tim whose father remained unemployed due to labour-union barriers.
Unions and the Other Tiny Tim – Christopher Westley,  T H E   O T H E R   T I N Y   T I M

From the FFS file: a National Party blogger boasting about National Party spending! “So total government expenditure increased 21% under National, from Labour’s last term. If you compare to the last term of National’s 4th Government it is a whopping 131% higher. It is also 92% higher than Labour’s first term.”
This is a responsible Governments? Yeah right.
Government Expenditure – K I W I B L O G

Nice to see some balls from a local CEO for a change: TelstraClear boss Allan Freeth says Government broadband is "network socialism" dampening investment. And announces a plan to gazump the govt’s lack-lustre efforts.
Crown fibre nothing - TelstraClear launches 100Mbit/s cable service -  N B R

And now, some good news. Poverty in New Zealand is decreasing. “It decreased over the 2000s but has yet to fall to mid-eighties levels. But what is actually growing right now? The number of people clamouring about, and the level of noise being made about poverty and inequality.”
Something is growing but I'm not sure it's poverty or inequality – L I N D S A Y   M I T C H E L L

Left-winger John Moore decries the steady shift of NZ’s left-wingers from supporting internationalism to today’s knee-jerk xenophobia.
 Leftwing Xenophobia in New Zealand – John Moore,  L I B E R A T I O N

Since many people support the Greens because they see them as a liberal minded and pro-individual choice party, and for most people Russel Norman’s Greens are the real opposition, I thought I’d do another simple illustrative check up on how freedom-loving the cuddly munchkins are these days. 
When I last did this exercise back in 2005, the word ban appeared on the Greens’s website only 165 times.
And now? The word “ban” now appears a whopping 2,870 times. Only one of which is an announcement opposing a ban.
Search for “ban” on Greens’s’ website – G R E E N S
Greens - reading the bans – N O T   P C ,  2 0 0 5

Was the Titanic tragedy an early failure of the regulatory state?
The Real Reason for the Tragedy of the Titanic – W A L L S T R E E T J O U R N A L

Former Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla has admitted for the first time his regime stole babies, kidnapped thousands of opponents and murdered them.
Argentina's Videla admits killings - H I S T O R Y  N E W S  N E T W O R K

That was then. Now they just rape investors.  "Argentina can kiss goodbye being treated seriously again by investors for another generation."
Argentina’s grab of oil firm: bad idea, worse timing – M I A M I   H E R A L D

We’ve said it before: the only ones to win from democracy in Egypt will be the Muslim Brotherhood, i.e., the creators of Al Qaeda. And what does the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate for president of Egypt believe? What kind of Egypt would he seek to create? “The mission is clear: restoring Islam in its all-encompassing conception; Subjugating people to God; instituting the religion of God; the Islamization of life…” In other words, an Islamic dictatorship.
What Does the Muslim Brotherhood Intend? – C O U N C I L  F O R   F O R E I G N   R E L A T I O N S

So, what is what is a proper immigration policy?
The Unethical Nature of Current Immigration Laws: Ayn Rand’s Theory of Rights contra Current Immigration Rhetoric – Andrew Ryan,  M O T H E R  O F   E X I L E S

Santiago Valenzuela busts the common immigration myth that regulations prevent the exploitation of migrant workers.
Immigration Myth: Immigration Regulations Prevent the Exploitation of Workers
- Santiago Valenzuela, M O T H E R O F E X I L E S

“It is now official: drilling for shale gas by fracturing rock with water may rattle the odd teacup, but is highly unlikely to cause damaging earthquakes.”
Time to start frackingMatt Ridley,  T H E   R A T I O N A L  O P T I M I S T

In the last decade, something astonishing has happened that has escaped the attention of nearly everyone. America is no longer number one.  “Chris Mayer, author of the absolutely essential and eye-opening book World Right Side Up, believes this slide is going to continue for the rest of our lifetimes and beyond. The implications of his thesis are profound for investors. It actually affects the lives of everyone in the digital age.”
It’s a New World, and America Is Not Leading It – Jeffrey Tucker,  L A I S S E Z – F A I R E    B O O K S

In Arizona, pregnancy can now legally exist two weeks before conception.
Arizona Passes Abortion Law That Says Pregnancy Begins Before A Child Has Been Conceived 
– H U F F I N G T O N   P O S T  ( U K )

Twitter’s posting of their so-called “Innovators Patent Agreement” is a very poor IPA indeed—it’s the sign that instead of patent protection we’re heading for a world of trade secrets—which does not promote innovation but stifle it.
Twitter’s IPA”: The Rise of Trade Secrets and the End of Innovation – S T A T E  O F   I N N O V A T I O N

The dangers of nannying: When the state lumps trivial crimes with barbaric ones, it undermines our moral priorities says Walter Williams.

The European Union is becoming ever more dangerous. While it is still unclear where future developments will lead the European Monetary Union, the costs and risks of remaining within the system are already immense and rising. The EMU provokes conflicts between otherwise peacefully cooperating nations. Redistribution is always a potential cause of social stress.
The Eurozone: A Moral-Hazard Morass – M I S E S   D A I L Y

“Every politician, central bank, and regulator in the developed world spent 2008 and 2009 saying, ‘This must never happen again.’ ‘This’ was the financial meltdown that almost took down the world economy.” Yet after engineering that first one, they’ve spent the intervening period making another one all-but certain.
Financial Crisis II: European Governments fail to learn from history – Johan Norberg, R E A S O N

Funny. I used to enjoy annoying Scotsmen by telling them that an Independent Scotland would be broke in a week—that Scotland is a nett bludger on the rest of Britain. Now, the Economist has this cover with the same message:


“Week after week, [White House economic adviser Christina] Romer would march in with an estimate of the jobs all the investments in clean energy would produce; week after week, Obama would send her back to check the numbers. ‘I don’t get it,’ he’d say. ‘We make these large-scale investments in infrastructure. What do you mean, there are no jobs?’ But the numbers rarely budged.”
The entire Obama presidency in one anecdote – T H E   A M E R I C A N

Oh yes, and there was also last month’s Executive Order signed with little fanfare by Obama giving him the power, in certain circumstances, to assume control over the energy industry—along with the rest of the economy.
Perhaps he learned the trick from Gerry Brownlee?
Obama’s Quiet Executive Order: Reaffirming and Expanding Federal Powers 
– M A S T E R   R E S O U R C E

And for a supposed constitutional law expert, turns out he knows nothing at all about constitutional law.
Unprecedented Presidential Posturing – Peter Schiff, T O W N   H A L L

Meanwhile, in the UK, there are still voices in the mainstream who do understand freedom.
UK is wrong to have turned its back on individual freedom – Allister Heath,  C I T Y   A . M .

The debate about climate change and its impact on polar bears has intensified with the release of a survey that shows the bear population in a key part of northern Canada is far larger than many scientists thought, and might be growing.
Healthy polar bear count confounds doomsayers – G L O B E  &   M A I L

Why are so many people still attracted to Marxism despite the history of totalitarianism and genocide? Bradley Thomson explains the appeal.

The US Federal Reserve is pursuing an unprecedented interventionist policy with our money.  At the same time, it is struggling with the idea of transparency.
A republic, if you can keep it – Russ Roberts, C A F E H A Y E K

So how to get recovery going when that recovery has been bogged down by Keynesian mismanagement? “The Keynesians, sad to say, show no understanding of how the economy works. They think they can lever employment up or down by pushing buttons – as if the economy were hydraulic. They show no grasp of the concepts that would be necessary to restore us to prosperity and flourishing. In an old image that applies well to the posturing of today’s self-styled Keynesians, ‘the Emperor has no clothes’.”
Phelps on Keynes vs. Hayek – Russ Roberts, C A F E    H A Y E K

The tragic mistake of economics explained:

Implicitly, uncritically, and by default, political economy accepted as its axioms the fundamental tenets of collectivism.
Political economists—including the advocates of capitalism—defined their science as the study of the management or direction or organization or manipulation of a “community’s” or a nation’s “resources.” The nature of these “resources” was not defined; their communal ownership was taken for granted—and the goal of political economy was assumed to be the study of how to utilize these “resources” for “the common good.” . . .
Political economy was, in effect, a science starting in midstream: it observed that men were producing and trading, it took for granted that they had always done so and always would—it accepted this fact as the given, requiring no further consideration—and it addressed itself to the problem of how to devise the best way for the “community” to dispose of human effort.
            From “What Is Capitalism?” in Ayn Rand’s Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal:

Edgar the Exploiter? To get the full picture of the virtues of the free market, we must bring the consumer into the picture.
Edgar the Entrepreneur – Daniel James Sanchez, M I S E S   D A I L Y

So, does the government-imposed minimum wage really help the poor? Yaron Brook answers. [If you would like to ask Yaron a question, you can submit it here.]

Here’s a quick pro-tip from Diana Hsieh on how not to argue against environmentalists: “Don’t attempt to dismiss concerns of environmentalists by claiming that the earth has been around for 6000 years, and that’s a long time, so surely this mine won’t cause any problems.” (She kids you not.)
How Not To Argue Against Environmentalists – N O O D L E   F O O D

Someone has blundered! Melbourne Theatre Company puts on a play featuring a female skeptic climate scientist.  Can you believe it?
Abbott again, or was it the IPA? Skeptic stars in Melbourne play – C A T A L L A X Y   F I L E S

“Ayn Rand once observed that ideas are the ultimate driving force of history, and the most consistent side in an ideological war will eventually win. If this is true, then it pays to study the ideas of any movement that arises in a country.
Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution, by Tea Party Patriots co-founders Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin, is both a general framework of the Tea Party’s philosophical ideas and a broad long-term agenda for the Tea Party over the next 40 years. Running 210 pages, this indexed book is described in the inside cover as ‘the first comprehensive, forward-looking document outlining a plan to restore America to its prior greatness’.”
Book Review: Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution – F O R B E S

Look at these neat little units by American outfit Sett Studio, and so easily constructed. Wouldn’t it be great if this sort of technology was allowed around Christchurch to help fix the exploding housing problem? 

Investing for retirement isn’t all about money. Here are “six essential retirement investments that have nothing to do with money and everything to do with well-being.”
6 Top Retirement Investments Not About Money – Y A H O O   F I N A N C E

Screaming silently. 
Middleton sisters 'avatars of aspiration' in annual list – G U A R D I A N

When might it be moral—and practical!—to break the law. Watch the video!
Video: The Morality of Breaking the Law – Diana Hsieh.  N O O D L E   F O O D

“Living is what you’re doing when you’re too enthralled to notice. Dying is what you’re doing when all you can  do is notice.”
Psalm – Greg Swann,  S E L F   A D O R A T I O N

Just thank goodness you weren’t sitting next to her in the plane!  “I planned to take advantage of a long-haul flight from San Francisco to Auckland, guessing that there were likely to be long periods of time when no one was using the lavatory on the 14-hour flight. I made several forays to the bathroom from my aisle seat, and by the time we landed I had a large group of new photographs entitled Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style.”
Amazing airplane lavatory self-portraits in the Flemish Style by artist Nina Katchadourian 
– 2  M O D E R N   B L O G

The Auckland Philharmonia really nailed this at the Town Hall last night. If you weren’t there, you missed out.

I love the “small bands” swing-band leaders like Benny Goodman set up to play more improvisational fare.  And I’ve been fascinated to discover that Artie Shaw had such a band, the Gramercy Five—and it included a harpsichord!
Hip to the Harpsichord: Artie Shaw's 1940 'Summit Ridge Drive' is seductive swing 
W A L L   S T R E E T   J O U R N A L

And since Rigoletto will be playing in Auckland very soon, here’s the famous quartet from the final scene inside and outside the murder house (and I don’t mean they’re going to the dentist’s!). And you don’t get much more famous in the opera world than Joan and Big Lucy.

Thanks for reading.
Have a great weekend!

[Thanks and hat tips to Laissez Faire, Amanda Morrall, Dawn Walter, Neil Gaiman, Paul Hsieh, Ann McElhinney, Cathy, Matt Ridley, Allister Heath, Chris Keall, Martin Kramer, Liberty Scott, We Stand FIRM)

1 comment:

  1. Richard McGrath22 Apr 2012, 21:39:00

    The Arizona law 'protecting' a fetus from two weeks before conception is a perfect example of Nanny State gone psychotic.

    No more masturbating, everybody!


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