Friday, 30 August 2013

Friday Morning Ramble: The ‘Guns of August’ Edition

toy-soldiersWhen you make a threat—“do that again and you’ll be punished!”—you have to carry it out if they do do it again, or you’ll begin to be taken for granted. Every parent knows this. That’s the “line in the sand” that now confronts Mr Obama as he contemplates sending Tomahawk missiles into a Syrian civil war.  But send them in to do what?  To support whom? And into a hornet’s nest that, with every one of the world’s major powers taking an interest, could end who knows how?
Can this possibly end well?

So it’s war; or is it?
Two Minds on Syria – George Packer, NEW YORKER
What’s Wrong with Going into Syria – Robert Spencer, FRONT PAGE
Cameron backs down on urgent Syria strikes – TELEGRAPH
Syria crisis: France is no longer shoulder-to-shoulder with US – INDEPENDENT
The Syrian Military Theater Of Operations In Two Charts – ZERO HEDGE

What moral authority?
Syria vs. the Waning Superpower – DR MICHAEL HURD

At times, it’s hard to tell truth from satire…
Obama Promises Syria Strike Will Have No Objective – Andy Borowitz, NEW YORKER

How’s the intelligence this time?
Intelligence on Weapons No "Slam Dunk" – ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former top officers are baffled by Washington's telegraphing of its strike on Assad.
Did Obama Administration Leaks Already Spoil the Syria Attack? – FOREIGN POLICY

Are Islamic forces are going to take over Syria? If so, should the United States avoid helping to remove Assad?
Podcast with Yaron Brook – PEIKOFF.COM

Does this explain why dictators like Assad just can't quit while they're ahead?
The Supervillain Syndrome – FOREIGN POLICY

Bring me the head of Bashar al Assad.
Stephens: Target Assad – Bret Stephens, WALL STREET JOURNAL

Obama isn’t the only one who needs a wag-the-dog day. “Kevin Rudd is increasingly desperate to conscript Bashar al-Assad as an ally in his attempt to win the 7 September election. How else can one explain his increasingly strident remarks about Syria when Australia is both impotent and irrelevant when it comes to changing the Syrian regime?”
The Syrian diversion – CATALLAXY FILES

“This U.S. attack on Syria could turn out to be an Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo moment.”
Like a monkey with a grenade: Russia warns of "catastrophic consequences" if U.S. and U.K. hit Syria for al-Qaeda – JIHAD WATCH

“If you do a one-and-done and say you're going to repeat it if unacceptable things
happen, you might find these people keep doing unacceptable things. It will suck you in."
- Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, former commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East

Maybe it’s time to watch this again…

David Cunliffe speaks…
I am deeply concerned about me – David Cunliffe, THE CIVILIAN

“So now we know the truth; Labour hung David Shearer out to dry last Tuesday.”
Nice show of support Labour; not – KEEPING STOCK

The government department responsible for the regulatory regime changed its name to escape responsibility.  The government’s building research laboratory that approved the materials was made exempt from responsibility. So builders, designers and ratepayers were made to assume the responsibility for houses that failed. But now the Ministry of Ed wants the suppliers of the materials that failed to assume responsibility. Which might prove a precedent.
Firms sued in test case on school leaks – NZ HERALD
Cladding firms in the gun at last – Policy Parrot, WHALE OIL
Leaky Homes, Part 2: What's going on inside your walls – NOT PC, 2009

Well, wasn’t that nice for Ngati Toa.
Government rewards genocide and cannibalism with taxpayer dollars – 1 LAW 4 ALL

So The Economist ranks Auckland as the world’s 10th most liveable city. But scores us better on culture than Melbourne, Sydney and Vienna! (Go figure.)  So what should we do now? “More infrastructure!” says the Transport Blog.
Auckland ranked 10th most liveable city once again – AUCKLAND TRANSPORT BLOG

Minister Judith Collins becomes blogger Judith Collins. But will she answer questions?
News Flash: Judith Collins to join No Minister – NO MINISTER

“The majority of NZers believe that John Key is a liar but they still think he's the best man to lead the country. What does that say about standards and ethics?”
Honesty is now irrelevant in New Zealand? – AARDVARK

“Blogger-on-a-mission Sarah Miles explains very well what this week’s Quake-Outcasts case was about.”
Quake Out-Casts go to the High Court – a Summary by Sarah – SARAH MILES

What else do 7 out of 10 The Economist’s top scoring cities have in common?  They’re also severely unaffordable…(So is a city truly “liveable” if it’s not affordable?)


Embedded image permalinkEdward Snowden: hero or villain? Philosopher Leonard Peikoff in top form in two podcasts:

  • “Q: Is it moral for a person to expose secret government programs which violate citizens’ individual rights, even if this may harm strategies which the government states are essential to national security? In other words, what is your estimate of the NSA now?” Download & Listen
  • A follow-up to Dr. Peikoff’s previous podcast: An interview with Amy Peikoff on the NSA programs. Download & Listen

“So, “GCSB assistance” is basically “NSA assistance”, so when the Police asks for GCSB help, it’s actually getting NSA help.”
BTW, the NZ Police can use PRISM against you now – Keith Ng, ON POINT

“$500 billion, 16 spy agencies & 107,035 employees unable to provide critical information.”
U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives detailed in ‘black budget’ summary – WASHINGTON POST

‘“The damage, on a scale of 1 to 10, is a 12,” said a former intelligence official."

Five years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, economists are still starkly divided as to its causes.
That Savings Glut vs. Those Low Interest Rates – David Howden, MISES DAILY

When the mainstream goes Austrian….
Financial Times: "World Is Doomed To An Endless Cycle Of Bubble, Financial Crisis And Currency Collapse" – ZERO HEDGE

It’s one of this century’s most important economic ideas, so how come you’ve never heard of it.
Creative Destruction—The Best Game in Town – Robert Higgs, CIRCLE BASTIAT

“Bubble markets are particularly attractive to apartment developers and speculators.”
Highrise Harry: Rising property prices good for all [developers] – MACROBUSINESS

“Perhaps even more amazing is that the increase in proved reserves dramatically outpace that of oil extracted from the ground.”
Frackers Generate Greatest Annual Increase in U.S. Oil Reserves Ever – OBJECTIVE STANDARD

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is
in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

― G.K. Chesterton

Ahead of the Australian election on the result of which bookmakers have already paid out, Catallaxy Files asks readers to rank recent Australian governments from most competent to least competent. Some surprising results!
Special Catallaxy survey – ranking of Governments (until 7 September) – CATALLAXY FILES

Zurich Sex Boxes Switzerland
Drive-in Swiss brothels: can you translate?
The Signs Are Hilarious At Switzerland's New 'Drive-In Brothel' – BUSINESS INSIDER

Just a reminder in case you’ve forgotten.
How Obama Got His Tomahawks – David Stockman, ZERO HEDGE

So how good was Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy really?
A DIM History of American Foreign Policy, Part 8: Ronald Reagan 

"..racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes
man from all other living species: his rational faculty"

-Ayn Rand

Some of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ideas resonate beautifully and widely and appropriately in America--and some other of King’s ideas do not. And that might be good.
Martin Luther King's real message – Jonah Goldberg, L.A. TIMES
King’s Dream and Today’s Racial Nightmare – Ed Hudgins, SOLO

Jobs and justice? Don Boudreaux too has a dream. See:
I, Too, Have a Dream – CAFE HAYEK

“If people start being judged by the content of their character, I’m screwed.”
50th Anniversary Of ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech – THE ONION

Ten really cool skybridges. Like this one:

Could be useful? Eleven Signs You Might Be Dating a Sociopath.
Who does this remind me of? – Steve Kates, CATALLAXY FILES

Sound advice on food blogging – or other kinds of blogging, for that matter – from Prick With a Fork via Tim Blair:
    Write honestly (and well).
Photograph discreetly.
And don’t be a jerk.

The Cuddle Mattress is divided by a series of slats. Sleepers can wedge their arm in between these slats for better snuggling.What a cool idea (right)!
A Mattress That Makes It Easier To Cuddle – NPR

Tyler Cowen calls it “a new and not very trustworthy proposal for the funding of science.”
Put your money where your citations are: a proposal for a new funding system for science – SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

“During the late nineteenth century, the modern apparatus for schooling everyone was put in place.”
Progressivism and ‘getting it wrong’ in the history of Education – LITERACY NZ

Science catches up with pedagogues.
Learning a New Language Alters Brain Development – SCIENCE DAILY

“Be ready for a wild ride.”
Imagine that the Universe is not expanding – REFERENCE FRAME

“Of course ‘twerk’ comes from the German ‘Gesamtkunstwerk,’ the fusion
of all the arts into a single medium of dramatic expression.”
Jeff Greenstein

Welcome to the world’s tallest slum.
The world's tallest slum: Rare look at an illegal ghetto in the sky – ARCHINECT

“India's caste system is relatively recent—and before that, all different racial and ethnic groups in India intermixed.”
What DNA Testing Reveals About India’s Caste System - TIME

Who knew!
Tom Waits: ‘A Day in Vienna,’ “terrific, little-known late 70s TV documentary – DANGEROUS MINDS

Four books by four friends: they’re just out, and they’re red hot!  (Click the pics to go to their Amazon pages.)

    image   image   image

[Hat tips Stephen FranksCafe HayekMarginal Revolution, Geek Press, Small Dead Animals, Walter Olson, Oliver Ding, Kiwiwit, Simon Kringas, Joe Noonan, Virginia Murr, Kelly Rek, Ayn Rand Institute ‏, The Onion, Melius Mutari, Russell Brown, Jacob Kwena Motadi, Matt Nippert, Ayn Rand Revolution, John Shepard, Robert Tracinski]

Thanks for reading.
Have a great weekend!


  1. Anyone want to live in Indianapolis, or Detriot --- rather than Sydney or Vancouver.

    Looks like pretty simple supply & demand to me: want to live somewhere nice? Get a real job (not a median wage job) and pay for it!

  2. "So it’s war; or is it?"

    War or terrorism?

    Per Joint Pub 3-07.2, Antiterrorism, (24 November 2010) the Department of Defense defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies. Terrorism is often motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs and committed in the pursuit of goals that are usually political.”

    Use of violence against Syria would be unlawful because of the lack of due process in determining responsibility for the recent chemical attacks.

  3. Anon

    Indianapolis is brilliant. Highly recommeded city to live in.



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