Thursday, 21 May 2015

Thursday morning ramble: The no-surplus edition

What do you mean, a Thursday morning ramble!? Simple answer: I’m off to Melbourne tomorrow to do a bit of business and watch the world’s most libertarian sport (not actually in that order), so you won’t hear from me until the final siren has gone. And certainly not tomorrow.

So here’s a few things now that caught my eye recently …

UPDATE: Some Budget reaction that’s worth a damn:

Finding good news from bad.
Housing affordability breakthrough! The capital gains tax has been given its chance to fail – Jim Rose, UTOPIA-YOU ARE STANDING IN IT

Margaret Thatcher allowed council house tenants to buy ‘their’ houses at a discount and become property owners – she elevated them, and changed a whole culture. Paula Bennett wants to sell state houses at a discount to “community providers” who don’t want them, to house tenants who are maintained in their welfare bondage.
But Paula Bennett is not Margaret Thatcher.
Will right to buy win over the working classes? – TELEGRAPH
Transfer of state houses gives choices – Bennett – 3 NEWS

“Last weekend, The Press published a timeline of progress on Christchurch's rebuild. Of the 19 projects listed, 14 will not be completed on time and some, let's face it, may not be completed at all… Systemic failure is not a cause for optimism; it's cause to rethink strategy.
Mr Brownlee ... Tear up your plan – Johnny Moore, THE PRESS

“Augustine, for all his many sins, finally found austerity.
”I doubt Mr English ever will.”
Bill English: Oh lord, give me surplus. But not yet. – NOT PC
Message to Bill English… – NOT PC
John Key lies – NOT PC, 2011
Who’s the Wastemaster General now, Bill? – NOT PC, 2011
It’s the economy, stupid. – NOT PC, 2011
Balance the damn budget, Bill – NOT PC, 2009
Message to National: Stop the spending – NOT PC, 2008


You think donations to John Banks are news?
Vox: Hillary Clinton personally took money from companies that sought to influence her – AGAINST CRONY CAPITALISM
Clinton Foundation defends foreign fundraising – CBS NEWS
‘Hillary Clinton Sold Her Soul When They Accepted That Money’ – BLAZING CAT FUR
ABC News Anchor Donated $75,000 to Clinton Foundation, Failed to Disclose – TOWN HALL
Half of Hillary Clinton’s Speaking Fees Came From Groups Also Lobbying Congress - TIME
Clinton Foundation: "We made mistakes" on donor disclosures – CBS
Bill Clinton says foundation has 'never done anything knowingly inappropriate' – GUARDIAN
Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company – NEW YORK TIMES
Bill Clinton Cashed In When Hillary Became Secretary of State – ABC NEWS

And that’s not her only problem.
Judicial Watch: Defense, State Department Documents Reveal Obama Administration Knew that al Qaeda Terrorists Had Planned Benghazi Attack 10 Days in Advance – PRESS ROOM

It’s Potemkin Villages all the way down: “On May 14, protesters, upset with not being paid their promised checks for protesting, protested outside MORE, Missourians Organizing For Reform and Empowerment, an ACORN organization which had received funding through George Soros to fund the protests.”
#Ferguson Protesters Protest Not Getting Their Checks For Protesting… – WEASEL ZIPPERS

“The emperor without any clothes…”
President Obama Jabs At Ayn Rand, Knocks Himself Out – Wendy Milling, FORBES

“David Cameron’s razor-thin win in the UK elections means he’s had to promise a new referendum on EU membership. If the UK were to leave the EU, it may trigger Scottish secession and a major shift in the EU balance of power...”
British Election Strikes Another Blow Against EU – Ryan McMaken, MISES DAILY

“What can an entrepreneur’s attempt to profitably ship ice from America to the Bahamas teach us about economics?” A neat story about property rights, profits and innovation.
Ice and Economics – David Herbert, THE FREEMAN

Yes, Virginia, scarcity can increase the price of property, but is not its cause...

“Far from changing his policy conclusions in light of his model’s botched predictions, Krugman kept running victory laps, claiming his model had been ‘right about everything.’”
Paul Krugman: Three Wrongs Don’t Make a Right – Robert Murphy, THE FREEMAN

“Everyone knows about the Great Depression which brought massive government intervention and lasted a decade. But few know of the Depression of 1920–21 which was ignored by government and lasted eighteen months... The Lesson: In the event of an economic downturn get government out of the way. Let markets clear. Then like a forest after a forest fire the economy will come back with real growth. 
How Government Inaction Ended the Depression of 1921 – Lew Rockwell, MISES DAILY

By contrast, in 2015 …
 15 Years Of Stimulus—–Nothing To Show – David Stockman, CONTRA CORNER

“Bottom line: What the 97% of climate scientists allegedly agree on is very mild and in no way justifies restricting the energy that billions need. But it gets even worse. Because it turns out that 97% didn’t even say that.”
'97% Of Climate Scientists Agree' Is 100% Wrong – Alex Epstein, FORBES

In 1977, National Geographic blamed nearly identical weather as 2015 - on global cooling.


Most people misunderstand the nature of capital. They think that capital is money, or materials; that it’s cash or bricks and mortar.  Not true. Capital is in your head. “Just as Einstein showed that a single atom can be split to release tremendous energy, so capital lets us discover and unleash the energy locked in bricks… People, rich and poor alike, have accumulated lots of capital in the form of buildings. But not everyone can extract the capital from their bricks (buildings).”
Capital: It’s All in Your Head – Hernando de Soto, THE POWER OF THE POOR

“Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century has attracted worldwide attention, not because he crusades against inequality – many of us do that – but because of its central thesis … Piketty worries about wars in the future, and suggests that they will come about in the form of a rebellion against the inequities of capital. Perhaps he hasn’t noticed that the wars over capital have already begun right under Europe’s nose in the Middle East and North Africa.  Had he not missed these events, he would have seen that these are not uprisings against capital, as his thesis claims, but for capital….”
The poor against Piketty – Hernando de Soto, EGYPT DAILY NEWS

“The U.S. population is growing less Christian while rising numbers of people don’t identify with any organised religion -- a trend in evidence in every region of the country and in many demographic groups.” But ….
America’s Changing Religious Landscape – RICHARD DAWKINS.NET

“The document that built a ‘brazen wall’ to guard the individual from the state.”
Eight hundred years on, why Magna Carta still matters – Brendan O’Neill, SPIKED

“The fundamental political conflict in America today is, as it has been for a century, individualism vs. collectivism. Does the individual’s life belong to him—or does it belong to the group, the community, society, or the state?”
Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice – Craig Biddle, OBJECTIVE STANDARD

“I think now that if I had the book fresh in my mind when it was time to apply to university, I would have never chosen to attend, and I would not have wasted two years trying to rediscover what I already knew: that uni wasn’t for me.”
6 Quotes in The Fountainhead for Aspiring Uni Dropouts – Derek Magill, PRAXIS

“Some parts of the world really are environmental Hells. They are dirty and depleted, making them unhealthy and economically unsustainable.”  But these are not the  parts of the world environmentalists say they wish to “fix.”
Read more: Blamestorming and Environmental Problems – STEPHEN HICKS

The killer air pollution that the Greens never mention

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You know that moment when you finish that speech or presentation and call for questions? These are the twenty questions you’re always bound to hear next …
Every Question In Every Q&A Session Ever – THE TOAST

“Beyond the five senses we learn about in school (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch) there are actually two more…  you might be surprised to hear that these two make possible just about everything we do (even sleeping). And they do so without our notice…
The Seven Senses – MOVING SMART

"We must get back to authenticity in the classroom. Students must be challenged to find their own voices, encouraged by an educational system that truly "follows the child." They should be challenged to know as much about the world outside of the classroom windows as they do about the world within."
Following the Child – Amber Nichols-Buckley, HUFFINGTON POST


“Now we have learned that the world-changing sincerity felt fake from the inside, too: even as she was receiving the Nobel prize, she asked her confessor to pray for her because she could feel nothing when she prayed herself and no longer had any experience of God.”
Was Mother Teresa an atheist? – Andrew Brown, GUARDIAN

“Many smart people are hoping that the Reformation will come to Islam. Some are calling for an Islamic Martin Luther. Sorry, but no. Islam needs reforming but definitely not a Reformation.”
No Reformation for Islam, Please – Stephen Hicks, EVERY JOE

“Lovely interview with surrealist painter Dorothea Tanning from 2002 - insightful, charming, and honest. ‘Keep your eye on your inner world and keep away from ads, idiots and movie stars.’”
Oldest living surrealist tells all – SALON

From the things-not-a-lot-of-people-know-about file …
Please Don’t Forget That American Classic The Godfather Had An Important Subplot About A Big Vagina – THE TOAST

Where people live in cities … over-population? or under-building?


If you’re in London, check out one of London’s greatest small spaces, now with added space!
Sir John Soane’s private apartments: obsessive, eccentric brilliance – GUARDIAN
In London, Creative Types Celebrate an Old Architect’s Restored Apartment – NEW YORK TIMES
John Soane's private apartment & Model Room will be seen by the public today for 1st time in 160yrs - JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM
‘Opening up the Soane’ - JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM

Sadly …

[Hat tips Geek Press, Jim Rose, Lawrence Reed, The Centre for Independent Studies, Michael Newberry, Anoop Verma, Jim Matzger, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (Official), The Objective Standard, Montessori Australia', Richard Ruggiero, Max Roser, Daniel Hannan, John Rivers, Rog Tallbloke, Jim May , J. Neil Schulman, Steve Goddard]


  1. Melbourne eh? And when GABS is on... be sure to get some good beer in ya!

  2. GABS? Pure coincidence, I assure you. :-)

  3. Although I will be able to avoid the inevitable over-the-top outpouring of lamentations over Campbell getting the chop.


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