Friday, September 29, 2006

Greatest quote ever

I could write a page about how true this is.. but instead, I'll just quote it in its glory and let the ramifications sink in for my readers:

Summary of the summary: The next time Arabs and/or Muslims complain about the persecution they suffer at the hands of the Americans and Israelis, remember this
Since 1948, the number of Muslims killed by the Americans and Israelis combined is still less than the number killed by the French. And the number of Muslims killed by the French, Israelis, and Americans combined is still less than the number killed by the Soviets/Russians. And the number of Muslims killed by the Soviets, Russians, French, Israelis, and Americans, combined, is still about 1/3 of the number of Muslims who have been killed by Muslim states.

Regulating water and abolishing freedom

Professor John Quiggin is Australia's most prominent left-wing economist, but he spends much of his blogging effort writing about political issues rather than any meaningful praxeological and rational economic analysis.

How could a person write this and still call themselves an economist, let alone a professor of economics ?

The water crisis is a political problem and requires a political solution. A pricing scheme that recognises the special status of water as a basic human need, while ensuring that effective prices are in line with economic and social costs, seems like a natural solution.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and in the free marketplace of ideas and opinions, the best ideas are supposed to win out. But when it comes to the overwhelming evidence of unregulated free markets and capitalism being a superior system to socialism and central planning, it still hasn't sunk in with much of our media and politicians.

Hence Pr. Quiggin gets his opinion published in the left-leaning Australian Financial Review and he delivers his grand central plan to regulate how water is supplied to millions of Australians, at the Australian Conference of Economists in Perth.

And to show how far detached this academic is from reality, look at his proposed solutions:

In place of a free or low cost initial block allocation to households, every person in the community could be given a free allocation of water, sufficient to meet basic needs for drinking, bathing, washing and so on. An allowance of 200 litres a week or around 75 kilolitres a year could be considered.
Now most of our so called experts and advisers who guide policy and help formulate these central plans for our regulator to implement, have to consider different complex schemes so that things will be produced and consumed "efficiently" (i.e in a different outcome to how the free market would allocate resources). So he initially suggest that each household is allocated a fixed amount of free/low cost water usage.. but then he admits it discriminates against bigger households, so then he suggest allowing a fixed amount per person ! Imagine that, each resident has to register with some government bureaucracy to show that they live in a certain location during a billing period, to receive their free allocation of water.

Was life ever that bad under the soviets or under Mao ?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

But wouldn't you want welfare if you were in need ?

I remember being asked this question by a welfarist, in response to my fierce criticism of the monstrosity that is the Australian welfare system.

Well.. yeah. I'd like free money, sounds good. Especially if I were out of a job, yeah a centrelink payment has a nice emotional appeal to me.

Hang on. No, I've changed my mind. Remember back to all those years that I *was* working and earning money. Hmmm, nearly half of the taxes I had taken from me went towards this welfare system we maintain. Geez, I've only been working 5 years, but I would have .. at least 6 months extra salary in my pocket if we didn't pay for Centrelink !

Would I rather have the extra savings, or, the $200 - $300 a fortnight that Centrelink can give me ?

( The answer is pretty obvious, unless I plan to deliberately stay unemployed for years and years )

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Australian budget - bad value for money

The Australian budget is viewable online, and on page 30, the following summary of government revenue and spending appears:

Lets deal with the revenue side:

  • $115 bil is raised through income taxes. This is a tax levied on people who work and generate an income. So the Australian government punishes all of those that engage in profitable activities, those who work hard, those who exchange their labour for an income.
  • $58 bil is raised in company taxes. So once again, there are thousands of businesses who are being punished simply for making a profit and being succesful. These are businesses that are forced to deal with enough troubles, to make complex and dynamic decisions every day, to meet consumers demands, to employ labour and capital, to outperform competition and to operate as efficiently as possible. As if they didn't have enough to worry about, if they are lucky enough to make a profit, the government punishes their success with the 30% corporate tax rate. Its a wonder we still have such a strong robust economy with a diversity of businesses, and its clearly an outcome that has occurred *despite* govenrment intervention and not because of it.
  • $14 billion raised through petrol excise. This affects the millions of motorists every time they fill up their tanks. Just because they choose to run a vehicle, for their own business or personal use, they are being punished with a tax. This would cost each of the millions of individuals, as well as families, hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year.

And now.. given that we have all been taxed coercively, and had the money forcibly removed from our pockets (not paying taxes is a punishable offence), what do we get ? Given that the millions of individuals all would have done certain things with the savings, that they have their own individual and unique priorities, lets see if the government can spend it better than they can. Its hard to believe, especially when you have poor individuals who struggle to pay for food and shelter and clothing. When there are young and old people alike who are burdened with debt and putting hundreds of dollars towards relieving that debt would be valuable.

Where does most of it go ? Down the toilet.. thats where.
  • $91.7 bil towards Centrelink *EACH YEAR*! What an absolute waste. This is more wealth than the entire economy of some smaller nations. The government is subsidising failure and need. If an individual can show that they have failed to earn an income, that they have lots of needs, then they qualify for welfare. Does this eliminate poverty ? Is this money well spent ? Does this improve things ? Does this lead to a better future and growth ?
    Well, if it did, then the need for welfare would diminish over time. If poverty were alleviated, then you wouldn't need as much welfare in the coming years. But why, then, does the funding for Centrelink balloon and grow at a tremendous rate ?
  • $5bil towards community services and culture. What the hell ? What is this ? Why role does government have, by giving money to communities and to cultures ? Whats the point ? Would Australians really want to spend so much on these "feelgood" things if they could choose ? Do community services and culture put food on the table, or pay the bills ?
  • $29 bil towards "General government services". What the ?! Is that the cost of our bureaucracy and administration?
  • $39 bil towards health. So how does our public health system compare to the private system ? Why do we even need a public system, if people can already purchase private health cover ? We don't have public toasters and televisions, so why public health cover ?
  • $16bil to education. Same arguments as above with health. Why should government be involved in the purchasing of education ?
What I find most informative, is that although the Australian economy continues to grow and standards of living improve, the Australian government always finds a rationale for increasing its size, its scope, its power and its revenue. Health and education are 2 of the most troublesome industries, plagued by government bureaucracy, inefficiency and lagging standards. Although their funding has ballooned over the last few decades .. somehow, we are being constantly told by the media that the cure for all problems is.. more money.

Now look at the private sector. Look at televisions and toasters, automobiles and computers, mobile phones and appliances, food and medicine. All of these things have improved over time, AND gotten cheaper and more affordable. If you want the same outcome for health and education, stop trying to manage them from a central government authority and let the businesses and millions of consumers in the market manage it.

Why government and central-planning fail

A great story from the Mises institute:
Through socialist policies and redistribution, New Orleans has raised from its ruin a new socialist man. However, instead of working for the collective, this risen New Orleans man does not work at all. He does not live for the collective but lives at the expense of the collective. This reality is drastically different from what Marxists had in mind when referring to the man created from socialism. To a person with common sense, this seems like an obvious outcome.

If you give money to those who stay unemployed, you are not teaching them to work. Rather, you are teaching them how to survive without working. Let's begin with the supposed housing shortage in New Orleans. The government is giving more and more trailers to the citizens of the city. Even the officials of the city constantly talk about the "housing shortage." Every New Orleanian knows differently.

A simple look at reveals the plentitude of homes available in the area. These are houses available for rent on just one website which hardly represents all rentable properties in New Orleans. If there are houses available, why do people still request trailers? It's really simple. Free is always better. Sure, there are homes available but who wants to pay when they don't have to. The government interprets this demand as a housing shortage. At price zero, demand is as much as people want. The realities of availability are thrown to the side so that these bureaucrats can get even more money to bribe disgruntled voters with free trailers calling the problem a "housing shortage."

Personally, I know people who were renting an apartment, and then received a trailer from the government. Their next step was to move out of the apartment. Their problem was not finding a place or even paying rent. But as I said, free is always better especially when someone else foots the bill. Now the next issue is jobs. We all know that jobs are plentiful in New Orleans and are paying outstanding wages. Recently, I saw Taco Bell in Slidell hiring at $11/hour. Here's another list of jobs available to low-skilled workers in New Orleans from Craig's List.

Why is the murder rate for July in New Orleans higher than last year with half the population around? These jobs are available with great wages! Living wage advocates always talk about how everything would be solved when wages for low skilled labor were around $10-15/hour. Well, here we have it leftists! Take a big look. The wages are at the living wage rate, yet employers are desperate to find employees. Anyone who applies for a job is often hired on the spot before the entire application is even filled out.

In the face of these opportunities, the crime rate grows. Conservatives and libertarians are often accused of having a vicious and maligned view of the poor on welfare as lazy. I don't think that welfare recipients of New Orleans are naturally lazy, but I believe that our socialist policies have made them so. People simply don't want to work anymore. They would rather do nothing and live on barely anything than consider work.

Can a left-liberal please e-mail me with their reasoning on why these people are committing crime instead of working when there are countless jobs at outstanding wages? The living wage is here. Dare to look at the situation! People are still not working. It's not the wage that must be changed. It is the mindset of people that must be altered or these problems will persist. The welfare culture must be abolished for the good of everyone in this country. If this is not done, crime and murder will continue in the face of high wages, as has been happening in the Big Easy.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Joke of the day

So Jesus and Moses walk into a bar. They take a moment to look around. After a moment they look at each other and breathe a sigh of relief. Moses looks at Jesus and says, ‘Thank God that Mohammad isn’t here. This joke could have led to riots.’

Palestinians wants murderers released

The Palestinians are surely the most barbaric culture in our times. Their so-called "moderate" Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, has proposed Israel release 2 convicted terrorists from prison in exchange for the release of young Israeli hostage, Gilad Shalit.

The 2 Palestinians have been convicted of extreme political terrorism and murderous acts of violence. But thats no obstacle to Palestinians, they love a bit of good murder and bloodshed. Hezbollah were just as bad when they demanded the release of Samir Kuntar, a man who was part of a terror gang that murdered an Israeli family and he personally smashed the head of a child in with a rifle butt.

Back to today's story, the Australian run with the whitewashed headline "Palestinians propose prisoner swap". Its a bit sickening, could you imagine modern German society demanding the release of former Nazi party members ? Or Australian society demanding the release of Martin Bryant (behind the Port Arthur massacre) ?

Yet Palestinians cannot get enough of their murdererous genocidal bastards. No act of depravity is too low, inhuman, debased or beyond the pale for the Palestinian cult of death.

Barghuti, the West Bank Fatah leader and the man regarded as the inspiration behind the Palestinian intifada, was sentenced to five life terms for murder by an Israeli court in June 2004.

Israel blames Saadat for the murder of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi. He has been held in the Jericho prison under US and British supervision since August 2002, after his Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed the 2001 killing.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I now pronounce you, man and goat !

This is worth a laugh:

Feb 24, 2006 (MALAKAL) — A certain Mr Tombe was caught having an intimate relation with a goat belonging to a Mr Alifi at Hai Malakal — Upper Nile State, southern Sudan — on February 13. Tombe was ordered to pay the goat’s dowry and take the animal as his wife .

Mr Alifi said: "It was around midnight when Tombe came to do his nonsense on my goat, and I was already in bed inside my house. Suddenly , I heard the goat make a loud noise. Immediately, I rushed outside to find Mr Tombe was naked and engaged in a relation with my goat . When I asked him what are you doing there, he fell off the back of the goat, so I captured and tied him up".


Alifi then brought some elders to decide the fate of the goat defiler.

"They said I should not take him to the police , but rather let him pay a dowry for my goat because he used it as his wife."

Jacques Chirac - saboteur of diplomacy

Most people have a perception of the French in world affairs, as being committed to peaceful, diplomatic and multilateral approaches to its foreign policy. This would probably be mainly due to the media's coverage in the leadup to the Iraq war. Chirac was repeatedly calling for "more negotiations" and saying that "war is always failure".

As America pressed on steadily with diplomatic efforts, sanctions and finally military invasion against Iraq, the French condemned the American approach for being too unilateral and how it shouldn't have gone forward without UN approval.. ironically France would vote against any UN security council resolution, so what they really meant is that no action should be taken against Iraq without France's approval.

Now let's look at France's influence on 2 of biggest issues under consideration by the UN in the past - the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and the Iraq war. The Jerusalem Post has the following report which suggest France promised Saddam that they would oppose any UN actions against Iraq.

According to former Iraqi vice president Tareq Aziz, speaking to American and Iraqi interrogators from his prison cell, Saddam was convinced that the French and, to a lesser extent, the Russians would save his regime at the last minute.
Considering that Saddam was a crazed dictator, given an assurance from a UN security council member that war would not go forward, its clear that this assurance would embolden him to defy UN inspectors and American diplomatic efforts, thus forcing the coalition of the willing to form and use military force to remove him.

Going back to the days of camp david where Clinton hosted Barak and Arafat to work out a peace agreement, Chirac rang Arafat and told him not to accept the humiliating offer and walk away. Arafat returned home to incite terror and violence against Israel, and the intifada broke out and thousands of Palestinians and Israelis being killed and injured between 2001 and 2003.

So we have 2 examples of a malign French influence, where Chirac allies himself against the western nations, all to a detrimental and violent outcome. Chirac has also been known to associate with Robert Mugabe, Saddam Hussein and even attend a function in Beirut with Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader. And what a surprise that in most cases, western efforts at diplomacy with these people have failed miserably.

A lesson can be learned about its influence on, what is today, the biggest concern of the western world - Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.
"There will be no war against Iran," Chirac is reported to have told a special emissary of the Islamic Republic who visited him in Paris last week. Anything other than negotiations would be resolutely opposed by France."
"Iran should not be asked to stop uranium enrichment as a precondition," Chirac said. "And there is no sense to refer the Islamic Republic back to the Security Council."
Now that Chirac has offered his guarantee that no action will be taken against Iran, what incentive does the crazed Islamo-fascist regime have to pursue diplomatic agreements with the West ?

Sir Richard, what a shame

The cult of global warming doom-sayers keeps growing, and it has claimed one more scalp:

Branson to lobby Canberra on climate

September 22, 2006

BRITISH tycoon Sir Richard Branson has said he will pressure the Australian government to sign the Kyoto agreement.

Sir Richard's Virgin Group today made a 10-year, $3.9 billion commitment to renewable energy initiatives.
"The world has a very serious problem, it's ill and it's going to get iller unless we do something radical," Sir Richard said.

When will these people realise that scientific facts and evidence, represented by millions of people in the free market pursuing the optimal outcomes, is far superior than an authoritarian approach which uses fear and hysteria to lobby governments to regulate their economies ?

At least so far, he is only wasting his own money. Good luck to him, I hope he develops more efficient and cost effective energy sources. If not, then the rest of us poor proles can keep on burning up cheap fossil fuels for our 'selfish evil' reasons (like staying warm, well fed, and travelling to work in cars)

There is no scientific consensus that shows we are making the planet "iller".

But wait, theres more from this immensely wealthy individual:

"I think if you happen to be lucky enough in your lifetime to become a successful entrepreneur, extreme wealth goes with it and therefore extreme responsibility goes with it," he said.

"Capitalism has it's faults and one of it's faults is that a lot of wealth ends up in the hands of very few people, and those people have the responsibility to use that wealth constructively and for the benefit of society."

What an idiot. Its actually a strength of capitalism that wealth ends up in the hands of those who succeed. If it weren't the case, then Richard Branson would have never taken huge entrepreneurial risks in his life, there would be no incentive for reward. It astonishes me that someone who should be in a position to appreciate free and unhampered markets holds such an uninformed opinion of them.

Firstly, by looking around, he should be able to see that the vast majority of Brits and Americans hold incredible amounts of wealth by historic standards. The entire society benefits from capitalism and wealth creation.

Secondly, having an unequal distribution of wealth is not necessarily such a bad thing. Even if the top 1% of succesful entrepeneurs have a huge amount of wealth, they also benefit society. The pursuit of wealth and success is a positive force. Richard Branson's Virgin corporation employs thousands of staff, pilots, hostesses, admin, management, PR and marketing employees. Thousands of new jobs are created and the wealth of his company spreads through the community.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Workchoices - no impact on job security

In today's SMH, crazed ALP lefty Tanya Pilbersek takes time off her Israel bashing schedule to give us this absolute pearl of economic wisdom:

…job insecurity is bad for workers’ health. Fran Baum from Flinders University followed the fate of Mitsubishi Motors workers who faced losing their jobs. Their health was clearly affected by the insecurity. These new work laws, which make it easier to sack workers, may contribute to worse health in companies that threaten to make use of the new provisions. Employees in companies with fewer than 100 employees can now be sacked for any reason, or no reason; and companies with more than 100 employees can be sacked for anything as long as it’s called an “operational reason”.
The Government says its package of industrial relations changes will make workplaces more flexible. That means more flexible for employers not their staff. It means an inevitable lessening of control for most people over their working environment.
So basically, she is blaming the government for job insecurity, saying its a bad thing, and that workers shold have more control over their working environment.

Let's get this straight. The latest industrial relations changes are about government stepping *out* of the market. By definition, they remove some of the restrictions and regulations that were in place. Those restrictions cannot be viewed as applying to only one party, but rather, to every employment transaction (thus both parties). Even if a worker was willing to accept a job for only 2 weeks per year of annual leave, such a form of employment was illegal.

So despite her claim to the contrary, less regulation means more flexibility for everyone. Typically, a regulation is imposed on the behaviour of an employer (i.e they must offer costly benefits such as super, leave, public holidays etc). Every employer has to factor the cost of these mandatory benefits into their calculations. If the marginal productivity of the worker is below the cost of the salary + benefits, then a rational employer will not offer the job in the first place.

You typically see very high unemployment associated with highly regulated labour markets throughout the world. Ultimately, the number and the diversity of jobs offered in an economy depends purely on the economic forces of supply and demand. When a person is willing to supply their labour, at a salary that is equal to or lower than the amount of additional revenue the employer will earn by hiring them, then employment takes place.

Ironically for stupid old Tanya, she uses the case of the Mitsubishi workers to justify regulation. The evidence justifies an opposing conclusion however, according to Andrew Norton.
If your employer is losing money your job is at risk regardless of your permanent status, as the Mitsibushi workers were; if your employer is doing well and you are performing OK you will be reasonably secure, even if you are a casual.

It follows from this that WorkChoices in itself probably won’t add much to job insecurity, which is primarily a product of the laws of supply of demand, and not the laws of the nation.

People often demand job security when they call for more regulation. They suggest that all employers are forced to put people on full time contracts. They often don't agree with the idea of flexible "casual" jobs where employees have little certainty about the future, and they can be dismissed or their working hours changed with little or no notice.

But why would an employer do such a thing unless there were dynamic economic forces driving them to ?

Every business operates in a dynamic environment. People are naturally scared of sudden change, but no legislation can protect them from that. If you work in a take away chicken restaurant, and there is a sudden shortage of chicken meat, your employer cannot sell any food and make revenue, so rationally they would close down until they can resume. If there is a regulation saying that they *must* continue to employ you every day, even if they can't earn money, then the business will lose revenue and be forced to close. So what comfort is it to you ? Its not really job security, unless you know that you are working in a job that exists because you are providing something of value to your employer.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The art of parody.

Parody is one of my favorite forms of humour. It involves mocking, placing fictional words in the mouth of other people. Of course, if the parody doesn't align with your political views, it can be quite offensive. Many a sick parody have been made about John Howard being a racist yearning for the good old days of the White Australia Policy, and a neo-conservative warmonger kissing up to George dubya.

I too could come up with some parody that actually echoes the truth for once, and attacks the idiotic political views of a character.

You could do a headline "Greens leader supports environmental regulation" where you write on about how Bob Brown wants us all to have less electricity, medicine and housing so that the population will decline to 'environmentally sustainable' levels. He proposes policies that kill thousands of Australians whilst claiming its all to help save the environment for the future. You can then invent a funny quote:

"We need to stop growing and populating, stop developing urban cities, a return to the good old days in rural Australia. This will ensure that the environment will be there in the future, to be enjoyed by the very few children who will exist".

Or you could invent a parody about the ALP... "Beazley calls for higher taxes to help the poor" and then write a story about how Beazley told a press gallery "At the moment, tax rates of 30% and 40% just aren't cutting it. Government should be taking all the savings, perhaps 80% to 90%, from all workers, so that we can guarantee better health and education for every Australian and help end poverty. We have to end the vicious cycle where families work to save money and spend it on their priorities.". Then you invent another idiotic deluded comment, like "Look at the remarkable success of Cuba and North Korea, they have no reported poverty at all ! And they have the world's best public health care"

Check out what the Chaser have done about Germaine Greer, its hilarious.

Iconoclastic feminist Germaine Greer has struggled to arrive at a contrarian position on the death of Peter Brock, having prematurely exhausted her anti-ocker arguments on Steve Irwin. It took Greer several attempts to create a tenuous link between Brock’s death and social issue of some import.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

An inconvenient truth

No, I am not referring to global warming. Nor am I referring to Al Gore's latest 2 hour powerpoint slideshow, in the form of a movie.

The truth is, sadly, that Al Gore is a green evangelist, with a hysterical religious faith in man made global warming.

Andrew Bolt debunks 10 claims from Al Gore's movie:

1: Gore claims that a survey of 928 scientific articles on global warming showed not one disputed that man's gasses were mostly to blame for rising global temperatures. Only dumb journalists and bad scientists in the pay of Big Oil pretended there was any genuine debate. In fact, as Dr Benny Peiser, from Liverpool John Moores University has demonstrated, Gore relies on a bungled survey reported in Science. Peiser checked again and found just 13 of those 928 papers explicitly endorsed man-made global warming, and 34 rejected or doubted it. The debate is real.

2: Gore says the man who first made him realise we were heating up the earth was his late professor, oceanographer Roger Revelle, who noticed carbon dioxide levels were increasing. In fact, Revelle shortly before his death co-authored a paper warning that "the scientific basis for a greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic action at this time". And some warming might even be good, he added.

3: Gore says ice cores from Antarctica, that go back 650,000 years, show the world got warmer each time there was more carbon dioxide in the air. In fact, as the University of California's Professor Jeff Severinghaus and others note, at least three studies of ice cores show the earth first warmed and only then came more carbon dioxide, many hundreds of years later. So does extra carbon dioxide cause a warming world, or vice versa?

4: Gore shows a series of slides of vanishing lakes (like Lake Chad) and snow fields (like Mt Kilimanjaro's) and blames global warming for it all. In fact, Lake Chad is so shallow it nearly dried out as far back as 1908, and again in 1984. So many more people depend on it now that the water pumped out for irrigation has quadrupled in 25 years. No wonder it's drying. And Mt Kilimanjaro was losing its snows more than a century ago, not because of global warming, but-says a 2004 study in Nature-largely because deforestation has cut the moisture in the air. And that worrying picture Gore shows of vanishing glaciers in the Himalayas? Newcastle University researchers last month said some glaciers there are now getting bigger again.

5: Gore shows scary maps of how New York and Shanghai would drown under 20 feet (600cm) of water if all Greenland's ice melted. In fact, various studies say Greenland's snow cover-and Antarctica's-is increasing or stable. The scientists of even the fiercely pro-warming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict seas will rise (as they have for centuries) not by Gore's 600cm by 2100, but by between 14 and 43cm.

6: Gore claims the seas have already risen so high that New Zealand has had to take in refugees from drowning Pacific islands. In fact, the Australian National Tidal Facility at Tuvalu in 2002 reported: "The historical record from 1978 through 199 indicated a sea level rise of 0.07 mm per year." Or the width of a hair. Says Auckland University climate scientist Chris de Frietas: "I can assure Mr Gore that no one from the South Pacific islands has fled to New Zealand because of rising seas."

7: Gore claims global warming has helped cause coral reefs "all around the world" to bleach. In fact, new research from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the seas rapidly cooled from 2003 to 2005. And most bleaching is caused by El Nino events.

8: Gore claims hurricanes are getting worse because of global warming, and he shows pictures from Hurricane Katrina. In fact, America has this year had fewer hurricanes than usual. And most hurricane experts agree with Dr Chris Landsea of the US National Hurricane Centre, who says "there has been no change in the number and intensity of (the strongest) hurricanes around the world in the last 15 years".

9: Gore claims warming is causing new diseases and allowing malarial mosquitoes to move to higher altitudes. In fact, says Professor Paul Reiter, head of the Pasteur Institute's unit of insects and infectious diseases: "Gore is completely wrong here." Reiter says "the new altitudes of malaria are lower than those recorded 100 years ago" and "none of the 30 so-called new diseases Gore references are attributable to global warming".

10: Gore never even hints at other possible explanations scientists have given for the warming globe. And here's just one: increased solar activity. That's a theory suggested by leading American scientists such as Sallie Baliunas, Willie Soon, Fred Singer and Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences. Some even predict we're about to suffer a new bout of global cooling. Says Professor Bill Gray, world hurricane authority from Colorado State University: "My belief is that three, four years from now, the globe will start to cool again." Or as Khabibullo Abdusamatov, head of the Russian of Sciences astronomical observatory, warned last week: "On the basis of our (solar emission) research, we developed a scenario of a global cooling of the Earth's climate by the middle of this century."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Reaction to the pope's words

Last week, the pope criticised Islam as being somewhat militant, missionary and violent. I could already sense the storm brewing. Just as millions of Muslims became enraged during the Danish cartoon controversy (139 people killed worldwide), I would expect a huge and violent backlash against the accusations that Islam is violent. Here's a roundup of the threats so far:

  • Iraq’s Mujahedeen Army has posted a message on the internet threatening Pope Benedict XVI with a suicide attack.
Gotta love this comment by Waleed Aly:

The response is to bomb five churches in the West Bank, and attack the door of another in Basra. In India, angry mobs burn effigies of Pope Benedict. In Somalia, Sheikh Abu Bakr Hassan Malin urges Muslims to “hunt down” the Pope and kill him, while an armed Iraqi group threatens to carry out attacks against Rome and the Vatican.

There. That’ll show them for calling us violent.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The war on conspiracy theories

Forget the war on terror, the battle for civilization in this century should be called the war against conspiracy theories, indoctrination and propaganda.

Take a look at the evidence for 9-11. The evidence is irrefutable. The video footage shows the damage. The thousands of separate newspaper reports, photographs, accounts, audio clips. The reports of casualities, the stories of the passengers on United 93. The damage to the pentagon, the damage and collapse of the WTC. As sure as the sun shines, it happened.

Then look at who the perpetrators are. 19 hijackers, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, were identified. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility. Just as Al-Qaeda were behind the 1993 WTC carpark bombing. Last week, a video of Bin Laden with the hijackers emerged.

Anyone who cares to dispute these fundamental facts, realities and truths, clearly has problems with their critical and rational thought process. Several radical theories have been proposed, each of them so elaborate and intricate, each of them ignoring the core facts and realities of 9-11. How is it that individual humans, supposedly with the ability to think for themselves, can ignore the truth and pursue a line of reasoning that borders on mental illness ?

9-11 conspiracy theories are as abominable as holocaust denial. And I think that there a few people out there who peddle these theories for political purposes. Hugo Chavez, the socialist tyrant of Venezuela, just needs another reason to hate the western world and America. Rather than acknowledge that America was the victim of a savage inhuman act of war, he has concocted this fantasy:

VENEZUELAN President Hugo Chavez asserted today that the United States could have orchestrated the September 11 attacks five years ago to justify its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr Chavez, who regularly accuses the Bush Administration of planning to invade Venezuela and plotting to overthrow or assassinate him, offered no evidence to support his assertions.

How sick is this mindset ? How can the population of Venezuela tolerate such a lunatic as their president ? How can he govern effectively when he can't acknowledge reality ? For those moral relativists on the left who wish to ignore this form of insanity, and think that Chavez is just another leader like Bush, Blair and Howard, ask yourself this:

Imagine the furore if a western leader in a free country with an open media and free speech said that kind of thing ?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sean Penn is an assclown

If there's one thing that Team America taught us, its that world famous millionairre actors don't necessarily have the best political insights. Sean Penn, the man who declared Iraq to be free of WMDs after a 1 week stay there, is setting the bar high for standards of stupidity:

TORONTO: Actor Sean Penn wasted little time unleashing his volatile political views on the Toronto International Film Festival yesterday, calling US President George W.Bush "a Beelzebub".

Penn was promoting All the King's Men, a story of a well-meaning politician who is eventually corrupted by power and money.

The actor - an outspoken critic of Mr Bush - said the President was a "Beelzebub - and a dumb one".

Penn's comments came as the controversial British film Death of a President, a fictional documentary showing the assassination of Mr Bush, had its first public showing at the Toronto festival, receiving mild applause.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding," - Justice Brandeis, 1928.

Sounds like he's referring to the greenies.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Labour markets - a great discussion

Over at catallaxy, a discussion has broken out about welfare, labour market regulation and the intrusion of the government into our private lives, i.e mutual obligation for receiving the dole.

Some choice comments:

  • The full effects of Workchoices have yet to kick in and we’ve already got our unemployment rate down to 5%

  • “Throw in high marginal tax rates, loss of housing assistance and health care card etc etc and you can see why it is entirely rational for the unemployed-by-choice to remain that way”

  • Mutual obligation must die. Or we must get a posse together and kill it. It is a most hateful hateful hateful concept. And how are these taxeaters “working”(that is to say sitting around draining our blood from us) at the centrelink going to ascertain whether you are holding up your end of the deal… Well they are going to have some sort of formula and some sort of fucking forms for you to fill in….

  • A (female) friend of mine who lived in a flat with two (male) friends was told that she had to prove that she wasn’t sleeping with either of them, in order to keep receiving student benefits. That’s not mutual obligation, that’s just plain creeping paternalism.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Mao's monstrous legacy

What happens when you take central planning, socialism and authoritarian government to its extreme ? This article reflecting on the impact of Mao's rule on China gives a few clues.

His groundbreaking research demonstrated that about 30 million died, mainly of starvation, and that cannibalism became rife in some areas.

Becker writes: "The Communist Party's explicit aim was to destroy the family as an institution." Promised an era of abundance as a result of forced collectivisation, peasants ate grain that should have been held for seed.

Production soon collapsed, but Mao refused to believe it. Brutal tortures followed during anti-hoarding campaigns, to uncover nonexistent caches of secret food. Mao refused all offers of food help and doubled China's grain exports to fellow socialist countries.

"The more people you kill, the more revolutionary you are," Mao said as he later unleashed the tumult of the Cultural Revolution, for which academic studies blame him more than the official party scapegoats, the Gang of Four.

Economics in six minutes !

I urge all readers to read this article and have a deep think about the merits of free trade. Even those that appreciate the economic reasoning behind a particular argument (e.g abolishing minimum wage or public spending) often maintain their previous beliefs because it is based on moral or ethical reasoning.

Unfortunately, the economic reasoning still stands, and when it is fully taken into account, it is actually more ethical and moral to support free and unhampered markets. Goals such as social justice and eliminating poverty still maintain the #1 priority for millions of people, with no regard to other goals such as human freedom, property rights, entrepeneurship and economic development.

The beauty of economics is: When you focus on economics, you improve the lives of millions of people. So it is both moral and ethical to support free trade.

The bottom line to all this is that economic freedom leads to the most prosperity. Don't restrict labor and capital other than to prevent coercive harm to others. Don't tax labor or enterprise. Get public revenues from rent and pollution fees. Let the market handle the money and banking. True free trade and enterprise are good; decentralized and market-based governance works best.


That's economics in six minutes, and the path to prosperity.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Government sanctioned theft

Property rights are usually a core element of a modern functioning society. This has been the accepted universal truth for over a century. Property rights should be upheld by common law.

But in these modern times where the state grows to unprecedented size, and intrudes into our lives more than ever before, signs of tyranny and oppression emerge throughout the western world. Governments have relentlessly expanded their powers to steal an individuals rightful property, whether it be increased taxes, regulation and legislation.

The latest outrage is the so-called "anti-hoon laws" in Victoria which allow police officers, at the slightest whim, to impound or permanently confiscate motor vehicles. The legislation has no safeguards, it simply allows the officer to make a judgement call and steal a person's vehiclewhenever he determines the person is driving "in a reckless manner".

So once again, motor vehicle owners are being demonised and oppressed by the authoritarian Bracks government.

Monday, September 04, 2006

They didn't earn it, they want more, should we give it ?

I refer to this article headlined: Billions needed to help schools

THE public school system needs an extra $2.4 billion a year of government funding for students to meet the educational goals set seven years ago by the nation's education ministers.
Why should they get it ? Supposedly to meet these education goals. Why is it necessarily important for a school to meet these goals? Isn't it really up the parents as to the levels of education their children receive ? Shouldn't they be the ones to decide whether to spend less, more or the same ? How do we know the school system hasn't been totally wasteful and inefficient on its spending, and they we are just rewarding its largesse with further public money ?

Each of these questions show an inherent flaw with the concept of publicly funded education.

With competitive free markets, you've got to compete against other schools and this has a benign outcome of driving down prices and improving services. It also has the benefits of schools trying to offer variety and differentiate themselves from the competition. Just like Coca Cola comes in so many flavours, school that are free from burdensome regulation can follow in the same footsteps. Some can offer the best music facilities, some focus on sport, and then many will focus purely on academic performance in VCE because that is what parents tend to value the most.

Take a step back for a minute. I've got nothing against parents spending an additional $2.4 bil per annum on education if its voluntary. If its voluntary, at least you know that they have decided to spend the amount after prioritising. Prioritising and decision making are *the* definitive component of economics. If these families had trouble paying for basic groceries and heating bills, then it would be very understandable if they didn't choose to pay more for education services.

But taxes do not take individual families needs into account. They confiscate the income, using force and coercion, backed up by the threat of violence. If you don't pay your taxes, you will end up being fined and threatened with prison.

Murderers portrayed as saints

The sensitive progressive folks at the Age have put together a piece of garbage that takes journalism to new depths. Glorification of Hezbollah terrorism, coupled with quotes from the Hezbollah spokesman, show that the Age really want the West to lose the fight against Islamic fascism.

WHEN Battoul Kaawar, 28, was told her husband died fighting for Hezbollah last month, friends and family flocked to her Beirut apartment to congratulate her.

While the young mother was overcome with grief, she had to reconcile herself with the strong belief in the Shiite Muslim community that her husband died a saintly death.

"It was a very precious person that I lost," said Ms Kaawar, sitting next to her wide-eyed son Ali, 6, who was carrying a toy gun. "But I am happy because my husband got what he always yearned for. Martyrdom is something we see as sacred, it opens a door to paradise."

The community believes martyrs go directly to heaven and their wives are venerated because of their sacrifice. "The wife of a martyr is like Jennifer Lopez to us," said Mohammed Husseini, spokesman for Hezbollah's Martyrs' Association illustrating how widows are admired.

The association takes sole care of the families when the martyrs die, providing a salary, free education and health care. "We take the place of the father in supporting the family and raising the family," Mr Husseini said.



"Our belief and way of dealing with the wives is: yes, we are happy and proud of them. But (we do give them) space to express grief," said the head of the large counselling team, a doctor who requested anonymity because of Hezbollah's image as a terrorist organisation.

Gee why might that be ? Thanks for showing us the sensitive side of Hezbollah, The Age want us to believe they are invaluable because they do important social work. Jaspan should be fired now.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The language of the welfare state

Many well-meaning advocates of the welfare state, when confronted with arguments about how wasteful, inefficient and authoritarian welfare policies are, resort to an emotive argument based on a common theme.

* In Australia, we should be able to expect that everyone can have a good education

or perhaps

* We should be able to guarantee basic needs

You know, I agree entirely with these sentiments entirely, but because of the success of free markets in the Western world, I don't support state intervention and control as ways of pursuing these outcomes. Replace these goods/services that seem essential with any other goods or services, such as toasters, or movie tickets.

How come nobody in their right mind suggests that government should guarantee every house has a toaster, or that every person has movie tickets at least once a year ? Is it because these are considered luxuries and not needs ? Partly yes. But partly because they also realise that they can't think of a single person who can't access these goods and services through the free market. The free market has succeeded in making these items dirt cheap. Most people can afford these items with the wages they earn in one hour's labour.

It is definately counter-intuitive to those who haven't spent a lot of time looking at economic development and history, but the thing is, once a society has established 2 key factors, it is the best way of developing and improving the lives and opportunities of its people.

Those 2 key factors are individual's rights and freedom.

Adam Smith famously wrote about the invisible hand of free markets. He said that by allowing people to pursue their own selfish goals, it was as if an invisible hand were guiding them to the common good. In other words, the fruits of capitalism spread out through society.

Every innovation, invention, cure for a disease, breakthrough that raised our standards of living came about through enterprise and free trade between people. The bottom line is that if there is any way of improving our lives, any innovation, cure for a disease or whatever, that has some value to people, then there is a natural and built in incentive for markets to provide that good as efficiently as possible.

After several hundred years of enterprise, innovation and development, we see ourselves surrounded by unprecedented wealth and opportunities that would have only been available to emperors and kings centuries ago.

Our success, comfort and high standards of living are evident for all to see. The average person is really well off. The key to this is wealth. Wealth is more than just a big bank balance or lots of cash. Wealth isn't something that only the rich and high-income earners have. Wealth is something that has spread throughout the economy and found its way into the pockets of everyone. 200 years ago, you would have to slave away to put food on the table. Nowadays, through free trade, people have learnt to specialise in areas that provide the greatest value to the economy, and thus give them the highest wage.

As individuals, and as a collective, by allowing free unhampered exchanges between people, we've all become more productive. The millions of individual agents in an economy, who now use prices as signals to each other, are busy exchanging and interacting and influencing each others behaviour. The industrial world can produce and provide more goods and services than ever before. If you can provide something that another person values, there is an incentive to exchange things and generate profit.

Profit is not a bad word. Profit is when I give up something for something I value more. Both parties benefit. If I swap my spare DVD player for concert tickets, both people profit in that transaction. If I willingly exchange thousands of dollars for an automobile which helps me get to work, and earn money, my subjective valuation tells me that I have profited.

These profitable transactions spread, and millions of people buy cars and mobile phones, and thousands of jobs and new opportunities are created in the provision of these valued goods and services.

Ahh, but what about inequality ?

The supporters of the welfare state always fall back on this key word. Well, why don't they go through the history books and find a single example where a society evolved that had no inequality and had wealth and prosperity ?

It simply doesn't exist. Nature creates every individual as different and unique, has different abilities and has different values and goals. What do you value more - freedom, or equality ?

For me, freedom means happiness, success and opportunity for 99%, whilst using the state to fight inequality results in misery, poverty and oppression for everyone. The only examples where people have been equal have been communist revolution that eradicate all wealth, industrial progress and freedom.

The lesson of history OVERWHELMINGLY tells us that a society can only be equal if we are all equally poor.