Friday, October 30, 2009

Food, booze, spiders, breasts, idiots, Chirac, trick or treat and trolley buses

From today's Daily Telegraph:

A chef produces what he claims is the world's healthiest meal, a chicken and blueberry curry with goji berry pilau rice, which given the chef is British-Indian, makes some sense. Now the combination sounds interesting. Each serving contains the nutritional equivalent of 49 helpings of spinach, 23 bunches of grapes or nine portions of broccoli. The recipe is in the article, and given

"Each plateful contains 25,000 'ORAC' units - the scientific measurement of antioxidants in foods.

Foods higher on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale have been proven to counter the onset of cancer, Alzheimer's, coronary heart disease and diabetes.

Most “healthy” meals like salads have less than 5,000 ORAC units, while traditional curries have fewer still."

it has to be worth a taste.

The French are drinking like the British. Is it true? Well this is Celia Walden simply describing her own observations in France, for what that is worth.

There are 750 million spiders in the UK. Breeding conditions have apparently been favourable, and let's bear in mind that they are fairly harmless.

India Lenon, a student at Oxford writes about the Cambridge female students who chose to pose semi-naked for a student publication called The Tab. She says:

"And if these girls are clever enough to know what they are doing, we might even have to accept that the ones in the national press do to. And then we might have to let go of one of the finest bugbears of modern feminism. But we wouldn’t want that, now would we? So it is far better to assume that the female students of Cambridge University, just like Stacey, 22, in The Sun, are too thick to make their own decisions. That way we can carry on sticking up for them."

Quite, although men aren't apparently allowed to comment on such things.

Newest winners of the title "world's stupidest robbers" are these pair who used marker pens to "disguise their faces". Children can do a far better job.

Jacques Chirac is facing charges of embezzlement from when he was Mayor of Paris, the accusation being he awarded contracts for non-existent work to friends or associates. Gee who'd have thought?

The Vatican joyfully condemns Halloween calling it "a pagan celebration of "terror, fear and death". Given everyone I've known who has done anything with it just regards it as a bit of fun, isn't it being a tad too serious? I don't think Halloween is competition for other religions. Indeed, could not the commemoration of a crucifixion be seen to be about terror, fear and death too?

Poneke
will be pleased that trolley buses are likely to return to the UK (with CGI video), in one city at least. Leeds is pursuing a state of the art system, and apparently has most of the funding needed to do it, as it is a fraction of the cost of putting in a tram system. It will have dedicated lanes and is certainly the first city in the English speaking world to build a new system from scratch in many many years. If successful, it could mean the era of expanding tram systems in the UK could come to an end - £20m per mile for a trolleybus line including buses compared to around £45m per mile for light rail (in Edinburgh) means you better have a need for more than double the capacity.

City AM on the US "recovery"

With all the excitement of the "obvious" economic recovery in the US, and the farcical sleight of hand by the Obama Administration claiming it has "created job" by taking from Peter to pay Paul, City AM's Allister Heath has a more measured view...

America’s growth rebound is good news as far as it goes. But the bulk of the third quarter’s growth rate was attributable to car purchases, construction and state spending. I still believe in a global square-root shaped recovery: a growth spurt starting in the third quarter, followed by a lengthy period of stagnation as budget deficits are cut and consumers deleverage. We shall see.

Bearing in mind car purchases were driven in part by subsidies, construction likewise, about the only US state spending that may have a productive spin off is spending on infrastructure that the private sector is crowded out from that is starved (such as roads), but that alone wont offset the net deadweight sunk cost of all of the other state spending.

The Obama and the Bush Administration both gambled that to NOT print money and spend it would make things worse - the question is whether it has simply made it gentler but last much longer, and for the cost to be born not by those who participated in the riskiest activities, but by future generations of taxpayers who gain nothing from current non-capital based government spending.

So despite the hype, a substantial number will not believe the recession is over yet, for right now there may simply be a government (future taxpayer) funded bubble of speculation and demand, that will be spent in the not too distant future.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Socialism rules on water

or so you'd think from the Herald comments section on water privatisation.

Profits are evil, you shouldn't expect a return on money spent on assets, no of course not. I'm sure all those posting would work for a stipend to cover the costs of going to and from work wouldn't they?

Foreign companies are evil, not like New Zealand local government, it would never rip you off would it? Those people who can take your money by force, borrow money and make you pay it back by force. Yep nothing like government to look after you.

Foreign companies will price gouge and milk horrendous profits with privatisation. Even though this would seriously cut demand, and people would find alternatives (not easily mind you, but people can collect rainwater, bathe at pools, beaches or lakes, get watertanks, wash sparingly). Even though many rural water schemes today are falling apart because of gross underinvestment by councils. Blank all that out. Blank out the general public actually buying shares in water companies or even privatisation involving giving shares away. Real public ownership comes from politicians running things doesn't it?

Water is a "human right", which you need to infringe on the rights of others to provide. Funny how food is different. So if there is no water supply is someone having their human rights abused? Another bogus "right", bogus because it demands you force someone else to pay to make it happen - no genuine rights require anyone else to do anything, just let people be free.

Water is free, ignoring that it costs money to treat it, to pump it, to build and maintain pipes to reticulate it, and then to carry away the wastewater and treat it before ejecting it. Blank all that out.

"Electricity was privatised", just blank out the fact that 70% of the electricity market is held by three STATE owned enterprises (but leftwing hysteria is just catching).

The railways were "destroyed" even though a third of all railway lines were closed under state ownership, and when renationalised the railways were carrying record levels of freight on a per tonne km basis. Blank all that out, the myth is that something really valuable was destroyed and bought back for nothing - when in fact it was a business with a lot of sunk assets that needed to be fully depreciated, so it could focus on what it was good at. Another part of leftwing legend.

Finally, not one of the Marxist gits who post even consider that food, petrol, clothing and most housing are privately provided, most regarded as essential to most people, along with umpteen consumables like light bulbs, furniture, appliances etc. All by private companies, many foreign owned.

If you believed this showed what most New Zealanders thought you'd have good reason to understand why the GDP per capita of NZ is so absymal, being full of whinging non-entrepreneurial worshippers of the state, with a malignant view of economic incentives and overwhelming trust in government.

Who inculcates this hysterical hatred of private enterprise, belief business is just out to rip everyone off, overwhelming trust that state ownership makes things better and attitude of near class warfare about the provision of services that quite happily get done privately elsewhere?

Laws is wrong, but

he is expressing the frustration of those who see an underclass of violent, negligent and destructive people breeding, producing children who face a bleak and difficult future.

His solution as described in the Dominion Post is wrong. Damned if taxpayers should reward people for being indolent, otherwise it becomes a career option for the stupid - be sufficiently vile and threaten to breed and get someone else's money for nothing. It has been deliberately misconstrued as "totalitarian", as if people have a right to be appallingly bad parents, when the likes of Cindy Kiro (backed by Sue Bradford) did advocate a totalitarian solution, yet no mainstream media ever picked up on it.

However he has a point. A point that the Child Poverty (in)Action Group misses, because it worships at the altar of "higher benefits" rather than genuinely combating the lack of ambition and the feral behaviour of so many in poverty. Barnadoes Chief Executive Murray Edridge rightfully says any child could become a doctor but he is wrong in saying "as long as there was community support for them", as he implies that good parents are expendable. The truth is that they are not. Sue Bradford even trots out the usual "more resources" nonsense to combat violence.

No, you don't need money to stop killing your kids.

The fundamental problem is twofold.

Firstly, people are paid to breed. Many who are don't abuse their kids, but they inculcate a culture of entitlement. A belief that everyone owes them a living and should pay to raise their kids. However, you can be a murderer, rapist, violent criminal, burglar or fraudster and still be paid by the state to raise kids, and get more money with every child you have.

The first simple thing to do is to prohibit all people convicted of a serious violent or sexual offence from ever being able to claim welfare. That includes anything for raising children.

Oh, but what about the kids? Indeed, the parents should have thought of that. They are responsible for the children, they bear the burden of paying for that. If people want to help, they are free to do so voluntarily. However, taxpayers shouldn't be forced to pay for criminals to breed - simple as that. After that, you might ask whether taxpayers should be forced to pay for anyone to breed.

Secondly, the state needs to be willing to remove children from their parents when they abuse them or become an accessory to abuse of them. The threshold should be high, but effort should be put into intervening when there is clear evidence of criminal behaviour towards the children, or fundamental neglect. Indeed, it should be considered in sentencing whether criminals should be permanently denied custody of their children, if the offending is serious or the children were used as accessories.

Finally, parents who clearly can't look after their kids should surrender them as a last resort, those who say they care about child poverty might actually think about doing something about kids in those situations, rather than complain the government hasn't done it.

There has always been an underclass that neglects and abuses children, what we know now is that it is more publicised, and cases appear to be more frequent. However, the answer to this underclass is to stop feeding the attitudes of dependency, victimhood and blame passing that welfarism promotes, and indeed more than a few on the left promote (the nonsense that capitalism stresses people out so much, they turn on their children).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

If only Labour were right

Phil Twyford, (Labour's list MP with a non-existent profile) says of the government's Auckland mega council plans:

"Council-controlled-organisations are to be established for water, transport, community services (including libraries and community houses), land development, the waterfront, and economic development. Each of them will report to a council-owned holding company."

The HORROR. Like electricity, the railways, NZ Post, Air NZ all under Labour. Too many function though surely?

It's not enough though, Phil is concerned that if his train is late, he wont get a swift response from the Mayor - because the Mayor gets involved in day to day activities right?

"If the trains aren't running on time, or the footpaths aren't being maintained, the mayor will have to talk to the CEO of the holding company who will have to talk to the CEO of the council-controlled-organisation. who will have to talk to the contractor who is delivering the service."

Um, well given the government owns Kiwirail, and the ARC already contracts a private company (Veolia) to run the trains, how would that change Phil, given that's the arrangement that was in place when Labour set it all up?

However he presents the best claim next, he's scared his little friends will be lost:

"This is corporatisation gone mad. There will be nothing for the elected politicians to do. I don't know why people would bother standing for office under this model. It will be impossible to hold the politicians accountable because they won't have the power to deliver.

Phil Twyford said a rump CEO of the Auckand Council would be left to administer corporate functions like information technology, human resources and finance, and public relations."

I'll believe it when I see it, and I'm convinced it isn't true, but if it is..

speed the day. I'll take back most of what I said about the mega city proposal.

If it can stop local politicians in Auckland from meddling in operations, from pushing their own little agendas at the expense of ratepayers, from even turning up to council meetings, it will be a great step forward.

Shame it's almost certainly vacuous hyperbole.

UPDATE: Let's remember how trains in Auckland are run at the moment...

The ARC has a council controlled organisation, called ARTA (set up under the last government) to CONTRACT OUT management of the passenger rail service, which it has done so to a company called Veolia. A private company. Veolia runs the trains, ARTA owns the trains (Kiwirail owns some too which are leased to ARTA), Kiwirail owns the tracks. Kiwirail is an SOE, effectively another arms length commercial organisation. So anyone complaining about the trains in Auckland going to a local politician would see that person following quite a trail of organisations down the line.

The Labour Party is complaining about the trains being just LIKE that, yet set the trains up to RUN like that.

So is Phil Twyford so stupid that even he doesn't bother to research the governance arrangements in Auckland for rail transport set up by the last Labour government before complaining about the current government doing what he says, is the same thing?

More language misrepresentation

Except this time it is the NZ Herald, simply getting things wrong.

The government is removing a restriction on councils that will allow them to freely choose to privatise water or to contract out the construction, operation, financing and management of water supplies to the private sector.

So why have a headline "Should water and wastewater services be opened up to private competition?"

You see there are no statutory restrictions on providing competing water or wastewater services, although councils would no doubt use the RMA to make it difficult. So this isn't about competition, it is about allowing councils to choose privatisation.

So like the ACC issue, privatisation and competition are being mixed up.

To be fair, it is unlikely that there would be competition in reticulated water supplies or waste water. That's not to mean there aren't potential alternatives.

People can, of course, buy bottled water, establish rain water collection systems, or could establish businesses to buy water in tanks. Waste water need not be carried away in pipe, but could be collected in sumps that can be emptied. Indeed, many people in rural areas and small towns do just that.

However, again, this is besides the point. All that is happening is councils will be able to use their "power of general competence" to privatise to a greater or lesser extent.

The very same people who wanted councils to be empowered, don't trust them to decide what to do with water and waste water services - funny that.

Sue Bradford's valedictory

It is hardly a surprise I have little time for Sue Bradford. A (former?) Maoist who doesn't get her communist past seriously questioned by the mainstream media, who is a joyous worshipper of big government is hardly going to be a great defender of individual freedom. However I will give her one credit, on select committees she was courteous to Libertarianz submitters.

So her valedictory speech has little special to note. Take this:

"It continues to sadden me that so many people, particularly in the world of blogs and talkback, so casually dismiss New Zealand MPs as corrupt, or lazy or incompetent, or all those things simultaneously." Yes is it surprising? She isn't exactly the model of a competent citizen, and the way MPs so readily support granting vested interests financial or regulatory privileges is telling.

She's rightfully controversial for Section 59, and in saying this: "there is a job for all of us to do in working for a society in which all children and young people are treated as worthy of innate respect, rather than as the property of their parents." she seems to imply that those who don't beat up children have a responsibility to the children of those that are beaten up. Sadly her profound failure to attack those who neglect, rape, beat and murder children, rather than paint most parents with the same brush, must be the greatest disappointment. She supported Cindy Kiros' proposed nationalisation of children which would have been the most profound attack on the family in the country's history. She may have had the best of intentions, but the worst of means and where a sniper's rifle was needed to attack truly vile parents, she preferred the scattergun.

She doesn't particularly believe people are to blame for their circumstances, describing women in prison as "mothers and babies who are caught up in this particularly tragic set of circumstances". Presumably because the mother is a criminal Sue? The babies DO deserve contact with their mothers, but being caught and convicted for committing a crime isn't "being caught up in tragic circumstances".

Sadly she also has learnt nothing from economics, and doesn't see the inherent contradiction in this statement "Capitalism is not providing the answers we need to find a way forward, and some of us at least must be brave enough to seek out viable, democratic and peaceful alternatives." Well Sue, every other alternative is NOT peaceful, it requires you do violence to peaceful people interacting voluntarily, perhaps the problem is that you're not willing to just use non-governmental organisations to achieve what you want through persuasion, not force.

She concludes as a collectivist that "Unless we are willing to challenge the status quo, to examine power relationships and inequality, and do something about addressing core issues, nothing will change for the better for those who have least, or for the natural world our species is so bent on destroying."

It's a shame that someone so passionately interested in people, is so indisputably tied up in believing people do not have individual responsibility and freedom to change their lives, that so many are perpetual victims, and that the route to improving people's lives is not their own efforts to create, produce and convince others.

Rodney Hide's going to harm you!

That's effectively what Sue Kedgley is saying about Rodney Hide's announcement of very modest (tinkering) changes to the Local Government Act to put water on a similar footing to other local government activities (whereas before private sector involvement was severely constrained).

She said:

"This has the potential to be hugely harmful to the public,"

How Sue? Will private managers pour poison into the supply? Will they use it to drug the population en masse? Will they turn off the supply and sell the water to (spit) foreigners? Will there be no water left??

Then she said: "This theft of the public's assets is alarming and dangerous."

Hold on, so letting COUNCILS decide what to do with the assets they control, under the principle of the power of general competence that YOU support, is alarming and dangerous? Presumably because you actually want to force councils to hold onto assets because of your own hysterical belief in government ownership.

Kedgley twists and manipulates the truth saying "That would give private interests free reign over the whole water management process and effectively wrest control from local councils". No, councils could grant control TO private companies. It doesn't wrest control at ALL, but gives councils freedom to offer it.

Who is it a danger to? Who is thieving what exactly?

Yet Sue has a rival, with the inane pronouncement from the hysterical Penny Bright that "water services should never be run to make a profit. Affordable water was a basic human right."

What's food then you silly bint? Should councils supply that too? Should we all just stop paying for water and say "it's a human right, bring me it"?

The Water Pressure Group's website hasn't been updated in 7 years, which tells you a little about what an incompetent little group of Marxist mediocrities it is. Penny Bright opposes commercialisation and privatisation of water supplies, despite England managing rather well with it, but this issue, like ACC, is being treated by the left as a beat up.

In the UK, of course, water was privatised in England and the World Bank wrote a report on it here. The result being that while prices went up, there was an 83% increase in capital spending to fix decaying infrastructure which meant all water companies became compliant with drinking water standards. It has also meant more prudent use of water, as many pay for what they use - better use of resources being something the Greens care about, until it clashes with their Marxist bias.

Rodney should, of course, force all councils to separate out their water activities into companies and divest them, either by sale or giving shares to ratepayers. Then water can be treated like other utilities, those who use the most will pay appropriately, the capital cost of infrastructure can be spread over the life of the assets, and it probably will be good for the environment too.

However, since when have the Greens put the environment ahead of ideology?

Turmeric kills cancer cells

Want an excuse to have curry? Here it is.

The BBC reports the Cork Cancer Research Centre has found that the spice turmeric kills gullet cancer cells within 24 hours of contact. The chemical curcumin is responsible.

Letter to Ahmadinejad

On his birthday, Mein Javedanfar in the Guardian has written an open letter to Iranian coup leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He says, among other things:

"Mr President, you would do well to stop thinking that you are proficient in all matters. Although you have better academic credentials than many of your predecessors, your narcissistic behaviour is driving the country into the ground. Meanwhile with your reckless outlandish speeches, you are tarnishing the millennia-old reputation of Iranians as tolerant people."

Quite. He would be an international joke if it weren't for the sleight of hand on nuclear matters.

"Iran's economy, despite vast natural resources, is the pity of the Middle East. The Iranian passport is the fourth worst passport in international leagues. Even Lebanon, whom you supply with millions of dollars every year, requires a visa for Iranian visitors.

However, Iran has one thing that should be the envy of this world, if it already isn't. And that is its young people. Many of its students trounce western students in maths and science competitions. Unfortunately, you have imprisoned many of them and killed others because they want a genuine recount of the presidential votes."

Mein makes the point that Ahmadinejad is looking a lot like the former Shah of Iran, distant, out of touch and increasingly dictatorial. He suggests that Iran should be a proper liberal democracy with:

"Elections where the people decide, and not the leadership. Where Iranians are not tortured or killed for their opinion, in their own country. That day, Mr President, could already be on its way. The people of Iran are the country's most powerful asset. Ignoring and abusing them has been perilous before, and could be again."

It would be appropriate, of course, for Iranians oppressed by this feeble minded megalomaniac to give themselves a present - as it would be quite moral to put a bullet through his head for all that he has done and the abject brutality of the regime he leads.

He does, after all, lead a regime that executes children.

10 myths you learn from school

The Times has them today including:

Napoleon was short - he was 5ft 7, which was average, then.

Vikings had helmets with horns, no they were buried with helmets and drinking horns.

Edison invented the light bulb. No, Joseph Swan did.

Mice like cheese. No they prefer sugary food.

Humans evolved from apes. No, humans and apes have common ancestors.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lord Stern loses the plot - some more

Lord Stern is known for his report on climate change for the British Government. He claimed the benefits of intervening to prevent climate change exceeded the costs, a cost of 1% of GDP to save "up to 20% of GDP". The report was warmly embraced by the usual suspects and widely condemned by others. Bjorn Lomborg said the numbers were dodgy, there have been other critiques of the analysis. However, let's set this all aside for a moment.

Now he has come about with claims that would frighten some, make many environmentalists smile, but overall look rather ridiculous.

He claims "southern Europe is likely to be a desert; hundreds of millions of people will have to move. There will be severe global conflict". Scaremongering is it not?

Furthermore, he wants people to stop eating meat: "Meat uses up a lot of resources and a vegetarian diet consumes a lot less land and water. One of the best things you can do about climate change is reduce the amount of meat in your diet"

Mind you he isn't a vegetarian himself.

Nile Gardiner in the Daily Telegraph welcomes it though:

"Still, Lord Stern has done us all a favour. His monumentally silly remarks about turning the planet vegetarian will only drive another nail into the credibility of the climate hysteria movement. I look forward to his next interview on why we should all stop driving cars and return to using horse and cart. With the exception of course of gilded grandees who need a limo to the next UN conference on global warming."

For me, until those who are concerned about climate change advocate, first, getting rid of the vast panoply of state interventions that INCREASE CO2 emissions, I'm going to be sceptical about whether they really do want to balance human beings with the environment. What sort of things do I mean?

- Price controls on energy including limits to the profits energy companies can make, and subsidies to consumers;
- Subsidies for any modes of motorised transport, including governments not demanding a real profit from their own transport assets;
- Subsidies for agriculture and trade restrictions on agricultural products that keep efficient producers (like New Zealand for dairy products and Thailand for rice) from supplying countries with inefficient producers (like the EU and Japan);
- Subsidies and protectionism for the motor vehicle industry, aircraft manufacturing sector, steel industry, indeed any industry at all that uses high amounts of electricity or fossil fuels;
- Welfare that rewards breeding;
- Subsidised waste disposal and landfills.

Karadzic planned eradication of Bosnian Muslims

The Times reports evidence at the The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of phone taps when he said in 1991:

They have to know that there are 20,000 armed Serbs around Sarajevo.... it will be a black cauldron where 300,000 Muslims will die. They will disappear. That people will disappear from the face of the earth.

Charming.

The vile murderous vision of nationalist slaughter by this thug, his right hand brute Ratko Mladic and the late Slobodan Milosevic was put into practice, while the world watched.

Of course, it wasn't helped by the arms embargo which meant Bosnian Muslims could not readily acquire the means to defend themselves, whilst Bosnian Serbs had already taken control of most of the arms of the former Yugoslav National Army, which had been controlled from Belgrade. It wasn't helped by the UN declaring Srebrenica as a "safe haven" which Bosnian Muslim refugees fled to, only to be slaughtered (the men and the boys slaughtered, the women and girls raped, as part of a deliberate plan to fill Bosnia with "baby Serbs"). The mistakes were many in the international response to this conflict, but nothing beats the pure brutal evil of the likes of Karadzic, proving some Europeans still have the willingness to undertake atrocities akin to those committed by the Nazis.

Of course, no side was innocent of bloodshed inflicted on the innocent, but without a doubt the Bosnian Serb side was the blatant standard-bearer of "ethnic cleansing". The trial of Karadzic reminds us all of how xenophobic chauvinism remains a cancerous tumour that some politicians are only too willing to encourage, and all too many are willing to kill in the name of.

Roger Douglas damns Nats on ACC

ACC is a pyramid scheme. Who says? Sir Roger Douglas

He says of the government's ACC bill:

Nothing in this Bill deals with the fact that, from its inception, ACC was a flawed pyramid scheme. In the beginning, it operated on a pay-as-you-go basis. That meant that for many years, it seemed cheap, as the full cost was not apparent – all of those with long term injuries were not yet making claims. Unfortunately, those years of low cost also saw the entitlements expand – so that by the time the system had absorbed all those with long term injuries, and covered the expanded entitlements, it suddenly seemed to cost an awful lot.

These problems are set to get worse. We have an aging society. An aging society implies not only more payouts, but also a lower proportion of people paying levies to cover the Non-Work Account. Because it is a Ponzi scheme, it will require ever-expanding numbers of people working to pay the levies.

So you can see how it has gone wrong, as it progresses, more and more claim it, stay on it for extended periods, making it progressively more expensive. Concepts completely alien to the economically illiterate left.

He says Labour knew this, and sought ACC to become fully funded by 2014, but it also expanded "entitlements" effectively setting it up for bankruptcy. The nonsense spread by the left that ACC is in fine shape because it receives more than it pays out, ignores the unfunded liabilities it has:

If any private insurance company had the books that ACC has, they would be declared bankrupt. The only reason that ACC is still solvent is that it has the capacity to increase levies. In essence, it is solvent because it can force people to cover its costs.

In other words, it is solvent because it has a state monopoly - it is solvent because you are forced to pay for it.

He suggests competition "The only viable way to ensure that ACC delivers results for reasonable prices is if it is open to competition. If people can get cheaper rates elsewhere, they should be allowed to leave. If that means risky workplaces start paying higher premiums, so be it – it will encourage them to improve workplace safety"

He makes the same classic arguments about competition, including one I have repeated:

"Currently, ACC sets a flat rate levy based on the risk in an industry. Those employers which have safe environments subsidise those who have unsafe environments. There is little commercial incentive to create safer workplaces.

By keeping ACC as a monopoly, and not properly allowing risk pricing to emerge, we are in fact increasing the number of workplace accidents. In the private market we have insurance excesses, we have no claims bonuses, we have risk-based premiums. The private market is all about mitigating risk. ACC, on the other hand, is about forcing the good employers to subsidise the bad ones."

The ACC monopoly is classic socialism - all employers pay for the collective risk, the good employers subsidise the bad ones, but who cares, it's all warm fuzzy shared and we all feel good about it, don't we?

After all you hear the left saying privately provided accident insurance will include a profit component, increasing costs, which of course implies that profit should be eliminated, and everything provided by the state, because profit increases costs. Classic Marxism.

All the lies of the left about "privatisation" completely ignore the real debate - why the state monopolises a compulsory accident insurance scheme that means the careful and prudent subsidise the reckless and imprudent? So now, of course, National cuts back ACC coverage to try to fit the budget - meaning all complain about the monopoly delivering less than what people want.

The advocates of state monopoly don't have very good arguments against competition, except use of a Labour commissioned PWC report that had terms of reference to effectively justify the status quo (a classic case of commissioning a study to tell you what you want to hear).

No other country runs this sort of pyramid monopoly scheme for accident cover, it is time to dismantle it and move on. Opening the whole damned lot up to competition is the FIRST step.

Then it's time to look at the next Ponzi scheme - National Superannuation.

Rudman's narrow thinking on drugs

Brian Rudman bemoans opiates as a "deadly scourge" effectively calling for the eradication of opium plants in Afghanistan. He doesn't have a suggestion as to what Afghan farmers should do instead, doesn't consider how this will shift production elsewhere, and doesn't even think that the criminalisation of opium creates many of the problems inherent in the trade. After all, opiates are used for medication, such as morphine.

He says "no one" is fighting it, which is patent nonsense, I guess he missed this. Although the futility of it is clear, since the Afghan government and so many in Afghanistan are reliant on the trade.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which has a vested interest in retaining the status quo, is his main source of information, and of course it is going to play up the threat. Nowhere are the questions asked:
- Is the main reason it is so profitable because it is illegal?
- Are some of the reasons it is so deadly because it is illegal?
- Is the criminal involvement in the trade because it is illegal?
- Will the elimination of opium in Afghanistan end the trade and supply of heroin?

Where does Rudman get this "fact " from, for example "It is triggering the spread of HIV at an unprecedented rate"? Really? So are the reports that in Africa the location with the highest prevalence of HIV, it is about sexual transmission NOT opiate use just nonsense?

Or is it that he has a terribly old fashioned view on the war on drugs, in that the decades of continued failure have passed him by?

London's capitalist paper

I've quoted a few times from City AM. It is London's less well known morning free paper. It focuses on business and finance, so for many will have little appeal. For me it is the one paper in the UK that consistently, without fail, supports free markets and opposes government intervention to prop up failure.

So I recommend looking at the editorials by Allister Heath at least, even if you are uninterested in shares, banking and markets generally. For the philosophy expressed is a positive one. Indeed, Heath wrote last week just this:

"unlike others, we have refused to go down the road of demagogic class warfare and the politics of envy. City A.M is the only newspaper that stands up for City workers and believes in their values. We support a real free-market economy and oppose bailouts as well as crippling tax hikes; first and foremost, we are the paper for London’s capitalist classes. "

Now that's something work looking at for me. So read City AM, and to start how about this little piece on the financial crisis.

It's not libertarian, but it does seek to embrace the creation of wealth and decry those who destroy it. That in itself is a good thing.

George Osborne does not know banking

George Osborne is the Tory Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has never had a real job. He has a second class degree from Oxford and has spent almost his whole working life either as an MP or working for the Conservative Party. His own ample inherited wealth has protected him from risking his own money in business.

So for him to call for banks to limit bonuses to £2000 or hand them out in shares is stupid, stupid indeed, and shows him up for how incredibly shallow he is, and indeed how shallow the Conservatives are.

The Conservatives are going for the envy vote, knowing that those in the banking sector are small in number and will probably vote Conservative.

The Times quotes Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Lord Oakeshott:

“If state-owned banks such as RBS and Lloyds pay bonuses using shares, they would have to issue new equity, which would dilute the taxpayer’s holdings,” he said. “George Osborne clearly does not understand how shares work . . . His ignorance is toe-curling and he hasn’t a clue how markets and public companies operate.”

Osborne talks of retail banks, but it is investment banks that pay large bonuses. So he doesn't even have a cursory knowledge of the banking sector.

Allister Heath in the excellent City AM got it bang on
:

"The Tories are persisting in their belief that there is a moral equivalence between RBS, which went bust and had to be nationalised, and HSBC, which didn’t take any money from any government. Talk of moral hazard: regardless of how well you do, you will still be hammered by the government."

This, you see, is the moral vacuum that those almost across the political spectrum fail to note. Politicians want to punish all banks, yet they rewarded the bad performers, so only the good performers truly lose out. Heath eviscerates Osborne in his editorial and concludes that the outlook is bleak if the Tories really do believe this nonsense:

"expect HSBC and Barclays to start working on their exit plans: no other country, including the US, is planning this sort of separation."

Snooping State drumming up business

(Warning - profanity in last paragraph)

I blogged recently about the Independent Safeguarding Authority - an Orwellian UK bureaucracy which exists to vet adults as to whether they are pedophiles, or more specifically, whether they might be on something like a balance of probabilities. That, of course, gives it the veneer of being judicial, when it is quasi-judicial. In essence, if you EVER arrange to look after children for longer than a few hours, who you are not related to, it is illegal to do so in the UK, unless the ISA vets you. Vetting you is not just a criminal check, it is to check to see if you've been charged, investigated or if someone lays evidence of "doubt", you might be blacklisted - you have the right to challenge it, but the ISA will rule as final (short of you taking it to court for defamation I suspect).

This vile organisation has been under pressure lately, with even the government that spawned it wanting to curb its powers. Childrens' Secretary Ed Balls announced a review. Nothing like government creating something then effectively admitting it got it wrong.

So you might ask why the hell is the ISA effectively seeking to drum up business by claiming that even people who rarely deal with children might want to get vetted.

The Daily Telegraph reports:

"Sir Roger Singleton, the chairman of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, said the scope of the database could increase significantly because companies would fear losing business if they did not have their employees vetted."

He then describes how an electrician business might think it is a good idea, if bidding for work at schools, and that more generally it would be a competitive advantage.

In other words, he wants more and more people to be vetted, for his organisation to hold quasi-judicial judgments about whether people are perverts, and for it to become the norm so that NOT being vetted would make someone suspicious. Not ISA certified? Oh you must be a pervert then.

Sir Roger Singleton has good intentions, but he has paved the road to hell - a hell where every adult is assumed to have dubious intent towards children unless they are found innocent. Where society operates under a burden of proof not of all being innocent, but all being guilty.

It is a climate of mass distrust, a climate that I can only say is paralleled in countries with totalitarian governments - where nobody can trust who is or is not an informant.

The ISA should be disbanded. People should be able to request that others undertake criminal vetting for convictions, for anything less risks barring people who have done no wrong, or those who are victims of false accusations because they are "different".

Most of all, Sir Roger Singleton deserves to be blasted for promoting his little mini-Stasi.

He deserves to be told to get fucked by all those who look after kids without the slightest nefarious intent, how fucking DARE you run a system that implies that without your imprimatur, people are child molesters.

Why don't you and your joyless goons go to the more feral parts of our big cities and start seeing who really ARE the child abusers in this country, the ones who have unwanted children, who ignore and neglect them, leave them to be preyed upon by strangers, gangs, alcoholics and drug dealers? Or is dealing with this sort of thing a bit too frightfully difficult for the upper and middle classes?

Damien Hirst excoriated

Damien Hirst is perhaps one of the most well known post-modernist artists, who would have remained obscure had Charles Saatchi not bought his work. He's known for creations such as "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living", basically a shark in formaldehyde. He devised diamond encrusted skulls ("For the Love of God"), preserved and dissected a cow and calf and even commented on the 9/11 attack as such "You've got to hand it to them on some level because they've achieved something which nobody would have ever have thought possible, especially to a country as big as America. So on one level they kind of need congratulating" before apologising to the families and friends of the victims.

I find it all quite vile. Hirst appears to worship death, so perhaps the irony of his latest works is that they have lent themselves to the death of his career. Perhaps art critics were waiting for the day to excoriate Hirst, for having little more than imagination and the patronage of those with the aesthetic values of rats. Hirst handed them the day, and they went for it like sharks.

Jonathan Jones in the Guardian says it beautifully as follows:

"Hirst's exhibition is a stupefying admission of defeat, a self-obliterating homage, that reveals the most successful artist of our time to be a tiny talent, with less to offer than even the most obscure Victorian painter in the Wallace Collection"

You see Hirst has painted, it has been exhibited, and it shows he cannot paint. Many have said so in damning terms:

Peter Conrad in the Observer: "Bumptiously confronting Titian, Poussin and other venerable elders at the Wallace Collection, Hirst is enjoying his temporary ownership of the trampled, desecrated earth. But he's not a legitimate heir and the Wallace Collection is playing host to a jumped-up pretender."

Mark Hudson in the Daily Telegraph: "Hirst's presumption in comparison with the technical inadequacy of the work was simply unforgiveable. For once, chutzpah wasn't enough."

Tom Lubbock in The Independent: "Hirst, as a painter, is at about the level of a not-very-promising, first-year art student" and how about why there is attention at all given to Hirst? "A few quick questions. 1. Are these new paintings, painted by Damien Hirst himself, any good? No, not at all, they are not worth looking at. 2. So why are you writing about them at such length? Because he is very famous. 3. And why has the Wallace Collection decided to exhibit them? Because he is very famous. 4. And why did Damien Hirst even paint them in the first place? Because he is very famous."

The Times "The paintings are dreadful. Think Francis Bacon meets Adrian Mole."


Jones concludes that Hirst himself has now shown this age of art to be a fraud:

Hirst has said: I want to be compared directly with the old masters, on their own turf, in their own visual language. In his eyes, it would seem that all the readymades, all the vitrines – all the ideas that have made him rich – are not real art at all. They are substitutes for the art he wishes he could make. The one truly great art, in his eyes, is the high western tradition of oil painting.

He can't do that at all; can't paint his way out of a paper bag. But don't kid yourselves. It is not just Hirst who is implicated in this exposure. It is an entire idea of art that triumphed in the 1990s and still dominates our culture – an entire age of the readymade stands accused by its own creator of being a charade.


Ouch. So well deserved, may the charade be well and truly over. Do I see Tracey Emin hiding looking confused as to what to do next?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Green brainwashing knows no ends

Australia's Daily Telegraph writes "Tots as young as three have sent letters to Kevin Rudd about their passion for green living and asked companies to reduce their packaging"

At one time the secular left would damn Christians for frightening children with the awful scary stories from the Bible, teaching them that if they sinned they'd go to hell. Now small children are being taught the world is coming to an end, and one of their key responsibilities is to "do something" about it, not unlike the Leninist form of brainwashing of children at schools to support the socialist state and fight the "imperialists".

Young children should NOT be worrying about the world, their chief concerns should be their own life, about school, family, friends and their possessions. To get small children to write to a Prime Minister about the environment is grotesque propagandising.

Imagine if a school got young children to write to the Prime Minister demanding taxes be cut, or that the government expand the armed forces or cut spending so they don't face a huge debt when they start working. The green left would be outraged, but its own scaremongering and politics are treated as "fact".

The Green Party in NZ embraces this as its education policy explicitly states:

"Incorporate environmental education (including energy efficiency and conservation) into the core curriculum at all levels and ensure that teacher education and training programmes allocate significant time for environmental education." and

"# Establish permanent environmental education regional advisory positions and encourage the further development of national resources to develop ecological thinking across the curriculum.
# Expand ERO reporting to include environmental education
."

Of course if you want your children to be taught about this, then good luck to you. I'd let schools teach as they see fit, but it should NOT be part of the curriculum of every school. I'd argue strongly it would be far preferable to teach children personal autonomy, so they respect each others' rights to control their property and bodies - something children should learn in relation to each other. Frightening little children to think the world is going to end serves only one purpose, and it isn't the interests of the children.

(Hat Tip: Tim Blair)

Helen Clark is still an MP!

So says the Labour Party website today

(I have a screenshot for when this is fixed)

Remember you trusted the leadership of this organisation to spend around half your money.

Of course given she is more popular than Phil Goff as leader, it might not be surprising.

(Hat Tip WhaleOil)

National adopts Alliance local government policy

With the NZ Herald reporting Local Government Minister Rodney Hide unable to get National Party support to constrain the powers of local authorities, and unwilling to push it further, it seems like New Zealand is now stuck with a policy on local government driven by Sandra Lee when she was Minister of Local Government in 2001.

In the Local Government Act 2002, pushed by Lee and supported by Labour, local authorities were given the "power of general competence" to pursue the "economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being" of their communities. In other words, they not only could do whatever they wished, within the bounds of other laws, but they had a "duty" to consider those four "dimensions" of community development. It implied that councils not only could, but should be involved in economic development, promoting arts and culture and having a social welfare role of sorts.

National and ACT voted against this when it was in Parliament, but just to show "Plus ├ža change", it means nothing. The concerns expressed at the time have evaporated.

National has effectively adopted the local government policy promulgated by Labour and the Alliance. None of ACT's local government policy looks like coming to pass.

What does this mean for the supercity? Well my warnings that the supercity does not look constrained are right.

Auckland will have a mega city, with mega powers, and no constraints on its power. Even Rodney Hide now believes the majority can pillage the minority by saying:

"If a community want something and are prepared to pay for it, that's fine".

Rodney, if the community are so willing to pay for it, why the hell is the council making them pay? What does local government have to do with choice?

Mildly tinkering with transparency doesn't ratchet things back.

No. On local government the left has won, the ACT enthusiasts who think an Auckland mega city will vote to the "right" and constrain council spending (presumably with downtown railway tunnel enthusiast John Banks as Mayor), are deluding themselves. They have at least surrendered the rest of the country for their rose coloured view of the mega city. Frankly, it's a view that I could understand from National, which is as embedded in local government as the Labour Party, but that's it.

Rodney Hide and John Key are essentially adopting a legal framework and policy of the Alliance and Labour parties on local government.

Is this what you voted for?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

British government funds Islamist schools

So whilst the Police chase up grandmothers who don't like gay pride marches, £113,411 was paid by taxpayers to an education foundation run by Islamist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir according to the Sunday Telegraph.

Hizb ut-Tahrir believes democracy is corrupt, that Muslims should be separate from non-believers and promotes a global Islamist state. It presents several faces to the public. It condemned the July 2005 bombings, but has published anti-semitic literature, and been banned in Germany as a result.

The schools teach Arabic from age three, and promote a strictly Islamist view of history and education.

Whilst it is all very well promoting diversity in education, the Islamic Shaksiyah Foundation runs three schools and it is not exactly teaching respect for the constitutional arrangements or fundamental freedoms of British society:

"At least three of the four trustees are Hizb members or activists, including Farah Ahmed, the head teacher of the Slough school, who has written in a Hizb journal condemning the "corrupt Western concepts of materialism and freedom".

On their website, the schools say their "ultimate goal" and "foremost work" is the creation of an "Islamic personality" in children The creation of an "Islamic personality" is a key tenet of Hizb's ideology."

The Centre for Social Cohesion is concerned, indeed whilst much attention is paid to the destructive nature of the BNP, Hizb ut-Tahrir should be at least as disconcerting. It is releasing a report next week outlining its concerns.

"Hizb is a fringe group but it is being given a public platform, legitimacy and funding by the very institutions it wishes to destroy," said Houriya Ahmed, one of the authors of the report.

Whilst most British Muslims do not align themselves with Hizb ut-Tahrir's views, this sort of direct state support for an organisation that is completely contrary to the British political system, effectively producing recruits to hate liberal democratic capitalist free society SHOULD frighten.

For it is exactly this sort of activity, and mainstream political absence of criticism, that leaves the BNP room for a constituency. Indeed, both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats do not deserve their respective names if they wont raise questions about this.

Complain to council? Police come visit

Now I don't like Pauline Howe's opinions. I think they are quite vile. She thinks homosexuals are "sodomites" with "perverted sexual practices" who "spread sexually transmitted diseases" and can be blamed for the "downfall of every empire". She identifies herself as Christian, and obviously finds homosexual offensive. True to Voltaire of course I'll disagree with her, but agree with her right to express herself.

She objected, in writing, to Norwich City Council about a gay pride march. The response she got was twofold. Bridget Buttinger (let's call her "Norwich Chief Petty Fascist") replied warning her that she could face criminal charges for expressing such views. Buttinger says as a local authority it had an obligation to "eliminate discrimination of all kinds". Her letter was described as a "hate incident" because it was "motivated by prejudice or hatred".

No doubt it was such motivated. Mrs Howe was expressing an illegal opinion.

The letter concluded stating the matter had been passed to the police. Mrs Howe received a visit from two police officers to question her. Mrs Howe is a 67 year old grandmother, and understandably was quite shaken by the experience.

This is, of course, a total outrage. Mrs Howe should have the freedom of speech to be able to write to the council to complain about a gay pride march. It is her right as a citizen to hold her point of view and express it. She was not threatening ANYONE. She may herself hold views that means she supports the state initiating force, but then so does the entire Labour Party and indeed I bet most of the Conservative Party.

The Christian Institute, a campaign group, is investigating whether the council and police have breached her rights to free speech and religious freedom under the Human Rights Act.

Even Stonewall, a group campaigning for gay rights, believes the actions were disproportionate and are glad the police did not take things further.

It's outrageous. Mrs Howe should have every right to complain as she sees fit, even though I'd regard her views with utter disdain, she does not deserve to be threatened or told that her views are to be "eliminated". She can be told she is wrong, she can be ignored, but not threatened and the waste of police time and effort chasing this up is contemptible.

Yet no major UK political party will confront this.

There is nothing liberal about this - and I do wonder, how often the police confront Islamic preachers about how often they express their anti-homosexual views?

(Full story, Sunday Telegraph)

Maldives stunt just lies on climate change

President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives created a widely reported publicity seeking moment on Saturday with images of him and his Cabinet holding an underwater meeting. The whole story was to highlight the alleged threat climate change would bring to the country he leads.

The report on CNN said:

Maldives is grappling with the very likely possibility that it will go under water if the current pace of climate change keeps raising sea levels. The Maldives is an archipelago of almost 1,200 coral islands south-southwest of India. Most of it lies just 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) above sea level.

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change has forecast a rise in sea levels of at least 7.1 inches (18 cm) by the end of the century.

So take away 7.1 inches from 4.9 feet and you have, more than 4 feet left. The stunt was a grotesque hyperbole.

Christopher Brooker in the Sunday Telegraph notes that the President of the Maldives was sent an open letter from Dr Nils-Axel Morner, the former head of the international Inqua Commission on Sea Level Change. It says "that his commission had visited the Maldives six times in the years since 2000, and that he himself had led three month-long investigations in every part of the coral archipelago. Their exhaustive studies had shown that from 1790 to 1970 sea-levels round the islands had averaged 20 centimetres higher than today; that the level, having fallen, has since remained stable; and that there is not the slightest sign of any rise. The most cautious forecast based on proper science (rather than computer model guesswork) shows that any rise in the next 100 years will be "small to negligible"."

So it is a monumental fraud to scare the world into thinking the Maldives will be swamped.

Furthermore, Dr Morner has sought to reassure the people of the Maldives, but its government isn't interested:

Professor Morner offered to explain his team's findings on the local TV station, to reassure viewers that their homes were not about to disappear underwater as they had been told. The government refused to allow his film to be shown. Egged on by climate alarmists, successive Maldivan leaders since the 1980s have pleaded for vast sums of international aid to save them from rising sea levels.

Brooker concludes rightly:

"If President Nasheed really believed his own propaganda, he would of course immediately ban all flights into his country and turn off the lights in all its hotels. But since this would put an end to the international tourism which is almost his country's only source of income, he would rather carry on staging his publicity stunts, while holding out the begging bowl which he hopes gullible world leaders such as Gordon Brown will soon fill with large quantities of Western taxpayers' cash."

Nasheed is a fraudster, perpetuating his fraud to whoever will listen, enjoying the tourism from environmentalists that it generates ("last chance to visit Maldives") and with the begging bowl out ("it's not our fault, but come fly to see us").

Of course the Guardian swallowed it like the true believers they are claiming the Maldives would be the first nation submerged.

UKIP may go bankrupt

The UK Independence Party has one key policy - withdrawal from the European Union. A policy that was popular enough for it to come SECOND in the European Parliament elections earlier this year, behind the Conservatives.

It now faces bankruptcy. Why? Because one of its major donors was not on the electoral roll for the year the donation was given. He had been on the roll for years. The Court of Appeal demanded UKIP should be fined, and all up faces a bill of £750,000 including legal fees.

The Liberal Democrats received a major donation from a gentleman found guilty on a £10 million fraud charge, and has been excused.

The whole story is on BBC reporter Michael Crick's blog, with Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph also expressing concern that if UKIP is forced under, it will only benefit the Tories and the BNP (the latter becoming the next possible location for some anti-EU votes to go).

I don't have much time for UKIP, as it is no pro-freedom party, but it does provide an outlet for an important point of view - that the UK's EU membership is largely a one-way street of benefits. It would be rather scandalous if UKIP is shut down months out from a general election.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Delahunty scared of education freedom

To say Catherine Delahunty has said something crazy is to state the bleedingly obvious.

So here we go again. On Frogblog she said:

"It wasn’t much fun waking up this morning to the news that the Ministry of Education will no longer be providing advice to primary schools on arts, science, technology, or physical education – nothing in fact, except the “three Rs”: reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. This latest assault on the public education system by the National Government is just plain stupid.

It also heralds the undoing of a robust curriculum. There is no educational justification for such a narrow focus, when all the evidence points to the importance of a holistic educational experience at primary school level"

Horror of horrors no more ADVICE to schools on certain subjects. What will they do? How will they cope? How can anyone teach anything without advice from the Ministry of Education?

What this means is that central government will no longer be directing how arts, science, technology and PE will be taught. It is a devolution of power to schools to make their OWN decisions. They wont get central government assistance on those subjects, they will need to figure it out for themselves or get together with other schools (or whoever they wish).

It is clear that the subjects will NOT stop being taught. Principals claim it might make those subjects a lower priority, which of course should be up to each school.

This move is a GOOD thing.

It is only a BAD thing if you believe education should be centrally dictated, that all schools should teach the same and use the same techniques. Schools MIGHT take it as a chance to be innovative, to think for themselves and deliver education in those subjects for what parents want.

Delahunty is spinning it as being the end of education in those subjects, which is nonsense.

In fact, the more central government abandons directing schools the better. Schools should be driven by parents, NOT bureaucrats, as to how and what they teach.

However, I can see why the Greens really are upset:

"Through this same cut, we have now lost all the Sustainability Advisors"

In other words, propagandists for the Green perspective on science, philosophy and history. No more taxpayer funded brainwashing of children to suit one certain agenda.

Another step forward would be for all schools to simply be funded on a per pupil basis and let the school innovate, decide what to teach and how, and then parents choose what school to send their children too. No centrally dictated curriculum (but schools could collaborate and share information and develop their own ones).

Now that really would frighten those who fear education being driven by what suppliers think consumers (parents) would like. Including, of course, the National Party.

BNP on Question Time?

Probably a mild win for the BNP - unprecedented platform for publicity. Nick Griffin came across as defensive, but relatively moderate, claimed he had transformed the BNP from being racist and fascist to being a party for indigenous British people to defend their rights.

He would have solidified his own supporters, except the profoundly racist who might think he's a sellout. However, who knows what other side the BNP shows in private.

For the rest of Britons? He probably gained support for his views on Islam and immigration generally, but every single non-white person who confronted him, he said he was happy letting them stay in Britain.

So in conclusion? Well done BBC - you probably gave the BNP more than it lost.

TV licence fee payers will be thrilled you gave them this oxygen of publicity, paid for by them.

Don't sing in the shower says Chavez

He's calling on Venezuelans to wash quickly and not sing because it wastes water and electricity, according to the Daily Telegraph.

He called jacuzzi's "anti-communist" (so he is a communist then), and his solution to electricity shortages? Create a Ministry. He also demanded all government departments cut energy consumption by 20%.

Why is there a problem? Chronic underinvestment in new electricity generation.

Of course it should hardly be a surprise that with socialism, shortages appear, and the solution to the shortages is not to allow entrepreneurship, market prices and let private individuals find solutions, but to tell people to use less.

Who does that remind you of?

Britain's race problem

The imminent appearance of BNP Leader Nick Griffin on BBC Question Time tonight indicates a growth in interest in the racist nationalist socialist party. Why? Well besides obvious disillusionment from many who would associate themselves with a more leftwing Labour Party, there is a race problem in Britain. It's a problem that incidents like this one provide fertile ground for the BNP to attract membership.

The Daily Mail reports how a 15yo schoolboy was involved in scuffles with a group of young south Asian boys, how he was attacked with a hammer that fractured his skull, and a knife, yet he feared being suspended - because of racism. Now the injured one wasn't completely innocent, but a culture appearing of young Asian youths feeling "untouchable" and able to use claims of racism as part of their armoury against white youths is utterly outrageous. It demonstrates how out of touch multiculturalist teachers are, and how easy it is for the BNP to call this racism against white Britons.

The Labour Party wont confront it because it is part of the problem. It encourages the "racism only runs one way" victim based context to consider race in the UK. It has demonstrably shown it will promote based on race to attract votes and sympathy with certain communities, the likes of Baroness Uddin demonstrating how low Labour's standards can go.

The Conservative Party wont confront it because it is scared of being branded "racist" given its recent makeover to look more inclusive. The Conservatives have long had a history of perhaps being more sceptical of ethnic minority candidates, and are now trying to outdo Labour on this front to attract voters who would otherwise never have thought of the Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrats are invisible.

So who is left? The party that actively tells young white Britons to be proud and says it "understands".

Until others start to recognise racism can go in all directions, and treat it all as inexcusable, then the BNP will have a policy that is difficult for many white Britons to disagree with. You can't start to accuse the BNP of racism without being called a hypocrite if you also close your eyes to racism instigated by those of non-British descent.

Racism is irrational and wrong - always. Whoever claims racial or national superiority based on birth place or ethnicity is being mindlessly stupid. Yet if the two mainstream parties pander to playing race cards, is it any surprise a minor one will get traction?

BNP on BBC

There is so much hype and talk about the BNP Leader Nick Griffin being invited onto the BBC TV show Question Time tonight, you'd think it was a commercial channel.

Which does beg the question.

The BBC is state owned, compulsorily funded by those who own TV sets. It feels obliged to give "everyone a fair say" and since the BNP gained around 900,000 votes at the last MEP and local government elections, it is seen as a political party of sufficient standing to deserve a say.

Tonight's Question Time will have a record audience of course, but the BBC is commercial free, so wont financially benefit. Yet if there were commercials, would it risk it?

Would a privately owned commercial TV channel, dependent on advertisers, like ITV or Channel 5, risk putting Griffin on when advertisers may regard buying time during the programme as taking advantage of the BNP's presence?

I simply don't know. If I was buying TV advertising, I might think there could be a big audience, but buying advertising endorses the broadcasting of the programme, and some may say Griffin's presence. I may be risking a significant amount of criticism, and maybe even boycotts by people.

Gordon Brown claims it will expose the BNP for what it is. I'm not so sure. Nick Griffin is a vile little man, but he does know how to manipulate coverage. He will deny all that is thrown at him, will throw dirt at the main parties for their own feeding at the trough of taxpayers, he will point out the hypocrisy of banning Gert Wilders, but not Islamists promoting tyranny, and will be seen as mainstream - unless someone can land a serious punch his way.

James Dray at the Guardian suggests ways to break Griffin down.

The Guardian also notes a similar TV appearance made a big positive difference for Jean -Marie Le Pen of France's fascist Front National.

So is the BBC going to destroy Griffin, or give him the best free publicity he could dream of?

The middle ground is hard to imagine, for if he just appears as a politician - like everyone else - it will be a huge win for the BNP.

What's galling is TV licence fee payers are forced to pay for this gamble.

UPDATE: Violent trespassing protests have started at the BBC television centre against the BNP. What fools like this fail to realise is that being violent plays into the BNP's hands. Oh I don't see the same protestors confronting Islamists who say "death to freedom" or call for violence against non-Muslims. Again, playing into the BNP's hands.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Freedom of speech may have caused the Holocaust

Who said that?

A member of the House of Lords. A member of the British Labour Party.

Baroness Uddin said this on BBC Radio 4, when interviewed on the 5pm news on 16 October 2009. You can hear her say this at 38 minutes into the one hour programme, (perhaps only if you are located in the UK), until Friday 23 October (when week old programmes get removed).

What did she say?

"I think when we say that freedom of speech is important and I will support to the death the freedom to speak but we have to remember that maybe what gave rise to the mass genocide of the Jews in Germany was freedom to speak

Baroness Uddin was lauded for being the first Muslim woman member of the House of Lords. She has already faced scandals of claiming for a second home in Kent, that she doesn't live in, while she lives in London, in a "housing association" home - in other words, public housing which exists for the poor, with rents a fraction of the private sector market rates. Prima facie there is evidence of her pilfering the public purse for her own benefit.

She is a new Labour pinup, her list of achievements are:
- Diploma of Social Work;
- Labour councillor in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets;
- failed to gain candidate selection to stand for Parliament for the 1997 election.

So New Labour put her in Parliament anyway, in the House of Lords.

A woman who thinks freedom of speech is equated with Nazism.

Why is she not being pilloried by the British media, unless this wasn't picked up? (Notice the BBC didn't challenge her on this outrageous claim).

I'm gobsmacked.

(Hat Tip: Old Holborn who is righteously furious about this and far from speechless)

Manipulation of language

This post is NOT about the merits of deregulating and privatising ACC - you can take it for granted, I'd fully support full competition for all ACC coverage and privatising ACC itself. It is a debate about language used in politics, to manipulate public opinion. It is not a manipulation confined to those I am accusing in this post either.

In the debate about ACC, those on the left consistently refer to the policy of opening ACC up to competition as "privatisation".

Yet these are two very different things. A government owned entity can remain state owned and face private sector competition without it being privatised.

How? Let's take some of the major deregulations in recent years.

- Until 1982, trucks were banned from hauling freight further than 150km (with some exceptions), with rail having a monopoly. Was opening up long haul freight to competition the privatisation of New Zealand Railways?

- Until 1983, Air New Zealand had a statutory monopoly on domestic airline routes, in that competitors were only allowed by and large if Air New Zealand granted permission. Was the removal of this monopoly the privatisation of Air New Zealand?

- Until 1989, TVNZ had a monopoly on television broadcasting, and in 1991 the television market was fully opened to anyone who wished to purchase frequencies, satellite capacity or lay cable. Was this the privatisation of TVNZ?

- Until 1998, it was illegal for anyone other than NZ Post to deliver mail for less than 80c. Was opening up the postal market the privatisation of New Zealand Post?

So why talk about opening up the ACC market to competition as privatisation?

It's simple - it is the manipulation of language for political effect.

You see most people would not disagree with allowing competition. Prohibiting competition seems to be a bad thing, as it means a monopoly can take advantage of you, can underperform, and you have no choice. It doesn't even have to expect the threat of potential competition.

The left cannot attack ACC reform based on the word "competition", because most people will go "So what? I like competition, I don't like monopolies."

Privatisation is a bogey word. It brings up images of an "asset" being sold for less than it "might be worth", of control transferring to those horned devils called "foreigners" (spit) and it not "being our's anymore", even though people complained about it when it was.

So that is why they lie, explicitly, about the proposal. To have people think it is about selling ACC - which, sadly, would not happen in this term of the government, rather than opening it up to competition, which might.

So it should be challenged, repeatedly. NZ Post has NOT been privatised, neither has TVNZ, just because both are fully exposed to competition. Why should ACC be described as privatised if it is also subject to competition?

UPDATE: Both Frog Blog and the Standard repeat the lie, blatantly.

UPDATE 2: The Standard doesn't like being challenged. Take this nasty little remark about "learning my lesson".

Tennessee ouch

(WARNING - CONTENT BELOW AND THE LINK MAY SERIOUSLY OFFEND)

This article is already popular.

However it does beg some curious questions...

In Tennessee, bestiality was apparently legal until recently, the crime committed being trespass (quite right to prosecute for that), but this just makes me go "ow":

Tait was also identified in court papers four years ago as being part of a horse sex 'party' in Washington state that led to the death of a man from internal injuries

I don't think the horse was quite the victim, given this statement "there wasn't enough evidence to suggest animals had been injured
".

BNP kiwis so what about communists?

The NZ Herald has used the leaked list of BNP members to call on New Zealanders belonging to the party to "explain themselves".

The BNP is odious, but quite why people should be contacted and harangued by a journalist is questionable. Any cursory look at white supremacist forums will find New Zealanders posting on them, and the same with communist forums, or indeed most political persuasions.

However, would the New Zealand Herald do the same if it found New Zealand members of the far-left RESPECT Coalition, led by the odious George Galloway (who misses the Soviet Union and has publicly approved of both Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad)?

Would it seek to find out if there are New Zealand members of the pro North Korean Revolutionary Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist?)

How about New Zealand's own Communist Workers' Party?

If not, why not? Isn't it the same issue Not PC pointed out here?

Do the Greens care what the public want?

No. The Greens want to use force.

Russel Norman is complaining that Foodstuffs will restore free plastic bags in the South Island because of "customer feedback".

Russel. Are you saying if people want a plastic bag, and a private company is prepared to pay to supply them, they shouldn't get it?

The only part of the issue regarding plastic bags is rubbish disposal. Privatise that, ensure people pay for rubbish collection and then that cost is internalised. Let's face it, New Zealand does not lack landfill space, but if recycling can be profitable then so be it.

However, the Greens want less plastic bags, and they'll make you pay the government (not the provider) for them, and the money will be used to....

Because, you see, you shouldn't want plastic bags - you're a bad person for wanting them - so you should be punished for doing so.

By contrast, in the UK, some supermarkets charges for them, some don't. Many people bring their own bags because they support less use of plastic bags.

How was this achieved?

Persuasion.

It would be nice if Russel Norman and the Green Party believed a little more in convincing people of the merits of their arguments, and accepting, that when some people disagree, it doesn't give a good reason to use force.

Any investigative journalists in New Zealand?

David Farrar raises an issue which only state radio has yet confronted, but which has not been picked up by newspapers or television.

The Leninist way Helen Clark is controlling media access to UNDP.

It sounds scandalous. No press conferences involving Clark as head of UNDP since she arrived. Absolutely no progress at all or reports or responses to a number of scandals, which were bubbling when she arrived. It doesn't help that the UNDP does not have transparent audited accounts.

I wrote on how the NZ media treated Helen Clark at the UNDP like a Womens' Weekly story, with no scrutiny at all of the serious issues surrounding the organisation. It is like Helen is "one of us" "doing good overseas" and "we should all be proud", and have no interest at all in the issues she confronts and, more importantly whether or how she confronts them.

There are major issues regarding nepotism and the UNDP's North Korean operations, which are being renewed, that aren't being answered.

This isn't an issue about the Labour Party, or the New Zealand government, but the reputation of New Zealand in putting forward Clark for this high profile role. If she hides from the media, if she wont openly declare her position on issues, if she wont confront them, it will be a damning indictment on New Zealand, and its chances to gain ANY traction at transparency and accountability at international organisations.

If Helen Clark is no better than any other UN bureaucrat, spending large amounts of money with accountability that is better suited to Malabo than New York, then she is an embarrassment.

An embarrassment the Key Government can only bear its fair share of blame for, in supporting her candidacy.

However, perhaps equally so, is the almost universal braindead silence of the sycophantic New Zealand media. With the notable exception of Radio New Zealand, none of the rest have shown any interest in serious issues surrounding Helen Clark's appointment as head of the UNDP.

Is it not time that some actually went to New York to find out why the former Prime Minister wont answer questions about the organisation she leads on a salary, paid by global taxpayers, of US$500,000 per annum, tax free?

UPDATE: David Cohen at the NBR essentially repeats what David Farrar and Radio NZ said, adding his small comment about his experience with Clark. Gee, newspapers in New Zealand are really at the cutting edge of journalism aren't they? Well done Mr. Cohen, given your "cutting criticism" of the blogosphere, you're really showing us up.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Obama Administration does something small but good

CNN reports that the US Justice Department has told federal prosecutors to pursue drug traffickers but NOT patients and caregivers in the 14 states that have legalised medical marijuana.

"It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

Furthermore

The Justice Department guidance said it would not be a wise use of federal resources to go after "individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law."

Of course, indeed it is the only humane approach.

Besides recognising the competency of states in deciding this sort of thing, it is a slight lessening of the rabid war on drugs that every previous administration, for decades has fought unsuccessfully.

The states where medical marijuana use is legal are Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Let's be clear this is not legalisation, or decriminalisation, and drug users in those states wont be immune from Federal criminal action, but it does mean attention is withdrawn from a segment that simply comprises sick people using marijuana for relief. By what measure does the Federal Government have any right to interfere with this?


So dare I say it, a step for freedom from the Obama Administration.