Friday, 14 March 2014

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: It’s Alright Ma, It’s Only an Election

David Cunliffe is going to "lead" NZ on a top-down "economic upgrade... a journey from volume to value." How? Compulsory KiwiSaver, Capital Gains Tax and thinking "outside the square." Oh, and subsidies.
This is not satire.
David Cunliffe’s speech to the New Zealand Institute – SUB-STANDARD

She’s losing her house over a political protest about rates, even as Incapable Brown tries to extract even more from long-suffering ratepayers.
Activist faces forced house sale – STUFF
Brown's bold tax plan – STUFF

“The ACT party – or at least its biggest funder – was in the news last weekend for expressing some of his views for the party at their annual conference. Of note was this line ‘I’d privatise all the schools, all the hospitals and all the roads…’”
Privatising Roads – TRANSPORT BLOG

This is probably a fairly important point, don’t you think?
Edward Snowden: NSA Too Busy Spying To Catch Terrorists – HIT & RUN

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.
Head of Dutch Libertarian Party Arrested Just Weeks Before Election – I.S.I.L.

Obama's appearance on Between Two Ferns confirms his status as the king of the celebrity politician. This is not an endorsement.
Obama: the king of celebrity politicians – Rob Lyons, SPIKED

“Correctly noting that, "the political left's avowed concern for minorities [is being] definitively exposed as a fraud", Thomas Sowell details its war on charter schools… Sowell also observes that, "public schools are often run as if their main function is to provide jobs to teachers".”
Government Favours Aren't – GUS VAN HORN

“Unlike ‘public’ schools, which receive their customers and revenues by force of truancy laws and taxation, private schools must earn theirs. A business can thrive only to the extent that it produces quality products or services at prices people are willing and able to pay. Lacking the coercive power of government-run schools, private schools must continuously strive for excellence...”
Teacher Accountability Follows from Genuine Market Activity – OBJECTIVE STANDARD

“What kind of people want to ban the word bossy? Bossy people.” 
Bosch Fawstin

“The first batch of Chinese February data was out over the weekend and showed some staggering shifts. Exports collapsed 18.1% year on year…”
China default special I: Hard landing fears 
“The default of a tiny corporate bond in China appears to have triggered larger ripples for commodity markets…”
China default special II: Commodity ripples 
“In paper markets, 12 month swaps smashed any support level and are in free-fall… In physical markets, iron ore is eyeing mid-last year’s low of $110.4o and will probably go through it like molten steel through butter.”
China default special III: Iron oreful 
“The most dynamic 37% of global output is having its Keynesian training wheels removed.”
Schumpeter comes to town


“During her own lifetime, Ayn Rand became a famous and controversial figure. A best-selling author, she also carried her message to university classrooms, to Hollywood, to Congress, to the editorial page, to talk shows and radio programs. Explore who she was at the new

“Why does man need morality? The typical answer is that we must learn to deny our own interests and happiness in order to serve God or other people—and morality will teach us to do that. Rand’s answer is radically different…”
Self-Interest – AYN RAND.ORG

“We’re told that the gap between the poor and the rich has widened. Many decry the “injustice” of income and wealth inequality. But is it actually a problem and are the proposed remedies truly just? What is a fair “distribution” of income and wealth? Is “equality” a valid concept?”
"Is inequality fair?" – Carl Svansberg, VOICES FOR REASON

“So far, every prediction in the modern era that mankind’s lot will worsen, from Thomas Malthus to Karl Marx, has turned out to be spectacularly wrong… Capitalist economies have been spectacularly efficient at enabling growing consumption of private goods, at least over the long run. When it comes to public goods – such as education, the environment, health care, and equal opportunity – the record is not quite as impressive.” And the correct conclusion is?
Malthus, Marx, and Modern Growth – Kenneth Rogoff, PROJECT SYNDICATE

“…when 'work is punished' the demise of 'opportunity' will continue...”
The Demise Of The American Dream (In 2 Charts) – ZERO HEDGE

“Raising the minimum wage is a formula for causing unemployment among the least-skilled members of society. The higher wages are, the higher costs of production are. The higher costs of production are, the higher prices are. The higher prices are, the smaller are the quantities of goods and services demanded and thus the number of workers employed in producing them. These are all propositions of elementary economics that you and the President should well know.”
Letter to Secretary of Labor Perez Against Raising the Minimum Wage – George Reisman, GEORGE REISMAN’S BLOG

“Why does the minimum wage fail to alleviate net poverty? Sabia points to two reasons: adverse employment hours and effects, and because few minimum wage beneficiaries actually live in poor households.”
Stating the blindingly obvious – LINDSAY MITCHELL

“My world would get very small if I lost my car, shrinking to the area covered by bus routes. In another sense it would get very big: my… internship on the outskirts of town may as well have been in outer space.  I wouldn’t be going there.”
The Great Emancipator vs. the Green Menace – Deborah Sloan, AMERICAN THINKER

“"Some years ago, the FDA held a news conference and proudly announced, 'This new heart drug we’re approving will save fourteen thousand American lives a year!' No one stood up at the press conference to ask, 'Excuse me, doesn’t this mean you killed fourteen thousand people last year—by delaying its approval?' No one asked that because reporters don’t think that way, but that’s what the FDA’s announcement meant. If the drug saves 14,000 lives a year, then 14,000 people died each year while the drug awaited approval." —John Stossel
How the FDA Violates Rights and Hinders HealthOBJECTIVE STANDARD

“If you haven't seen The Dallas Buyers Club, which took home three Oscars last Sunday, you should. It's the most flat-out libertarian movie since Ghostbusters and one of the best message movies I can think of..”
Kill the FDA (Before It Kills Again!): Dallas Buyers Club – Nick Gillespie, HIT & RUN
Dallas Buyers Club and Economics – RYAN’S RANTINGS

“The debate around Crimea is no longer centred on international law: Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly recognized that he does not feel bound by it and does not care if the rest of the world deems Russia’s actions illegal. What is not clear is whether Russia’s economy can bear the burden of Putin’s objectives in Ukraine.
Putin’s Imperial Road to Economic Ruin – Sergei Guriev, PROJECT SYNDICATE

So, apparently, Crimeans get to vote about Russian takeover… [cartoon by John Cox]


Let me rewrite this tagline: “You may have seen these successful libertarians in movies, concerts, and even in the wrestling ring. That said, you may have had no idea they were libertarian. Or cared. [Disclaimer: I only knew four of them, and cared less about the rest.]
9 Successful People You Never Realized Were Libertarian – CAPITALISM IS FREEDOM

File:Última Cena - Da Vinci 5.jpg

“…forgetting to eat and drink, painting all the time … wrapped in contemplation … ”
How artists work: Leonardo anecdote – STEPHEN HICKS

The hottest new thing in art has never gone away: the fight for figurative art “that touches us on a human level” is reaching a new plateau. “Throughout decades of wondering, wishing, and hoping that the direction of art would change, that we would begin to see work that touched us on a human level, that a sense of integrity would emerge, we did not imagine that we would ever experience the sort of coming together, the kind camaraderie that was experienced at The Representational Art Conference last week in Ventura.”
Signs of the Reconstruction: Representational Art Conference 2014 – Brandon Kralik, HUFFINGTON POST

“The model is part of an exhibition at the museum through June 1 — “Frank Lloyd Wright and the City: Density vs. Dispersal” — a kind of coming-out party for a vast archive of Wright’s preparatory work, drawings, correspondence and writings that was acquired in 2012 from the Wright Foundation by MoMA and Columbia University’s Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library. Researchers say the archive is already providing a deeper understanding of Wright’s work since the materials made the trek from Arizona and Wisconsin, where they had been little seen.”
Models Preserve Wright’s Dreams – NEW YORK TIMES


One of the great headlines…
‘Access Hollywood’ Reporter Vows To Get To Very Surface Of Story – THE ONION

“Film critics review movies as if they were stories that merely happen to be told with a camera. What happened to analysing films as films?”
What’s the point of movie criticism? – PROSPECT MAGAZINE

“It's as if thinking in principles has been outlawed. Or the ability to do so has been destroyed.”
The Anti-Philosophical Nature of Today's Intellectuals – MIKE’S EYES

“Feeling blue? Being truthful and ambitious can get you down. Provided the requisite introspection and action follows, it could be good for you.”
Can Depression Be Good for You? – PSYCHOLOGY TODAY

“Why do we listen to our favourite music over and over again? Because repeated sounds work magic in our brains.”
One more time – AEON MAGAZINE

Random pic of engineering history: Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge outside Bristol, which opened in 1864 [pic by Tural Bapho]:

Random lampoon of utilitarianism [pics by Existential Comics:

Don't worry, I did the math. The amount of pleasure I got from writing this terrible joke outweighs the suffering it caused from people having to read it.

Here’s some more of the Bs in my head this week.



Brel (and translation):

[Hat tips: Phil O'Brien, Lukas Schroeter, David Slack, Stephen Hicks, Alex Epstein, Nelson Brackin, Guy McCallum, Arts & Letters DailyScientific American Blogs]

Thanks for reading,
Have a great weekend!


  1. I’d privatise all the schools, all the hospitals and all the roads…’”

    Completely sensible policy. And with ACT on say only 10 seats, one of those should be achievable in the next parliamentary term

    Great to have a leader of ACT who realises his job isn't to "ensure a National government" but to stand and fight for those 10% of taxpayers who pay for everything for everyone else.

  2. Thank you for the ACT infomercial haha!

  3. Peter,

    Where's the tip jar?


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