Friday, June 27, 2008

Corrupt European politicians caught red handed

This video is exceptional and it should serve as a reminder to fans of big government and multinational political groups like the U.N and the E.U. With big government comes lots of public servants, lots of unelected bureaucrats, lots of generous taxpayer funded salaries being dished out to people who couldn't earn those figures in private industry.

Caught on camera are many European Union parliamentarians, who turn up to work on a Friday at 7am prompty to sign in to the register and claim their daily allowance. However each one of them turns up with a suitcase and is seen trying to immediately leave work 15 minutes later to take a long weekend.

What really shows their guilt is the way they nervously avoid the camera and run as if being caught red-handed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Head of the ABC calls for regulation of internet

Freedom is under assault by our social elites. The head of the ABC believes online media and video should be subject to the same regulation as our traditional broadcasters.

Somebody please take this communist out against a brick wall and shoot him in the head. First they come after our speech, then its our property, then its our lives. Don't ever give up your freedom of speech.

ABC television chief Kim Dalton has called on the federal Government to extend Australia's TV content standards to web-based video, a move that would greatly increase government regulation of the internet.

But Mr Dalton will argue in a speech at the CCI International Conference in Brisbane today that with more TV being delivered through broadband internet services there is a risk of our culture being lost under a tide of cheap-to-access overseas programming. He warns that unless urgent moves are taken, Australian content could be wiped from the new broadcasting landscape in as little as five or 10 years.

"Consumers are demanding more extensive online, video-based entertainment," he says in the speech. "The business model here favours cheap, foreign video content and ... online content is putting pressure on established business models.



"Yet, as we engage with these unlimited options and choices, our analog policy framework is letting us down and in fact is arguably putting at risk a fundamental social and cultural choice: availability of Aus-tralian content."

You hear that.. Consumers demand foreign content. Not ABC crap. Instead of the ABC trying to compete and get some decent ratings, they do what all sniveling socialists do - ask for government protection and muscle to take out the new competition.

Implicit in his plea for mafia protection, is the acknowledgement of the truth behind the matter. That it is clear that Australian content needs government protection to have a chance, otherwise we stupid plebs would be watching 'foreign-content' (gasp !)

Get stuffed you dinosaur, hands off our internet !

Heres a reason not to use public transport

Riding Melbourne's trains can be scary. Theres always the threat of violence. Gangs may pounce upon you and assault you in numbers.

I'm not only talking about teenagers and hooligans. Sure they exist, but at least you are allowed to use force and resist them. If a crowd of friends or bystanders see them attack you, they can come to your rescue.

But there is a worse category of thugs. I'm talking about gangs of thugs, empowered by the state, to confiscate your property and initiate violence against you. You have no right to retaliate or resist either. For a long time, you have no right to carry weapons or firearms. Now we can see why - the state wants a monopoly on violence and they intend to use it excessively and abusively, to assault a businessman who had an invalid ticket because a machine was broken.

THERE are a thousand tales in this city when Metcard validators don't work. This is one of them.

Commuter Mark Latham tried to validate his weekly Metcard ticket at Tecoma station, on the Belgrave line, on May 29.

The vandalised machine didn't work, so Mr Latham boarded his train to the city, where he works as a buyer at a department store.

Mr Latham expected - as had happened before - that inspectors at Melbourne Central would validate his ticket for him. Instead, they asked him to talk to Connex's "authorised officers".

That's when things went bad, said Mr Latham, who has now taken to the Public Transport Ombudsman his complaint over the ordeal that followed.

"They asked for identification, so I handed them my licence," he said. An argument ensued, and Mr Latham admitted he lost his temper and swore at the officers, before reaching to take back his licence.

The officer holding the licence initiated what is known in their training as "maximising the tactical advantage": he overpowered the passenger.

Mr Latham says he attempted to "shrug off" the officer. Connex disagreed, arguing that he attacked officers and may be charged.

Connex customer service manager Geoff Young said Mr Latham appeared in CCTV footage, which cannot be released to the public unless a court case ensues, "to charge the officers, striking one. (He) was the instigator of the ensuing conflict."

Four officers pinned him to a wall, before "placing" him on the ground and restraining him for five minutes until police arrived.

City worker Thi Trinh, who was among six witnesses who offered their help to Mr Latham, said a crowd of 40 people gathered to watch the incident. "He was down, he wasn't struggling, and people were yelling at the officers to let him go."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A book about socialised health

In Australia, whether we realize it or not, the public discourse suggests we follow in the footsteps of Britain's National Health Service. There are repeated calls to fix the health system, increase budgets, more resources, more regulations, stricter licensing and also calls to regulate and shrink the private health sector.

There is a new book based on research and opinions from 100 health professionals in Britain that show what a dismal and unpopular failure the NHS is. It clearly would be in our best interests to see where socialised medicine would lead us.

Significantly, the study lays bare for the first time the private views of a large number of the country’s most senior health politicians, policy advisers, academics, journalists and professionals.

Containing a series of devastating blows to the NHS as it prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary, the research shows that when speaking off the record a substantial majority of Britain’s health elite no longer believe in nationalised healthcare.

Instead, an overwhelming majority accept a much greater role for private provision - including private hospitals, clinics, GP services and dentists.

2 wrongs don't make a right.

Wrong #1: Government increases the ridiculous and unncecessary childcare rebate from 30% to 50%.

Wrong #2:After Australia's biggest childcare provider, ABC learning announces a 11% increase in fees, the federal gov't is making noises for them to "justify" their price increase and threatening to possibly use their powers against them.

THE Federal Government will use "significant clout" to make the nation's biggest childcare provider justify an 11 per cent hike in fees.

ABC Learning says its new fees, nearly three times the rate of inflation, will apply from July 1, the same day the childcare tax rebate rises from 30 per cent to 50 per cent.

Daily fees paid by parents with children at the centres will rise to about $62 a day from $56, or by about 11 per cent.

Notice I am not referring to ABC learning's decision to raise their prices as a wrong. After all, this is a free country, and they are free to do so. In fact, prices should adjust to help allocate supply and demand in any market in the world.

Clearly, with a bigger gov't rebate, the demand for childcare has increased. Given the same supply, either prices need to adjust upwards OR we experience more shortages of childcare.

Its the market, stupid !

By the way, most Aussies and media pundits don't think there is anything wrong with a gov't rebate (forcibly taking income earners property and handing it over to childcare centres) or with a government's powers to probe and regulate prices (not allowing providers the freedom to set their own prices ).

The only thing wrong with this whole scenario, according to most people, is ABC learning setting their own prices. They've always been free to walk away, nobody forces them into paying for child care. But I guess reality, reason and logic elude the discussion.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Public health and medicine - good for thee, but not for me !

All progressive politicians across the world continue to hammer home how important it is to have a strong and universal health and education system. When it comes to the health system, socialist politicians talk about "building a system" that the country can be proud of, one that covers everybody and every procedure, one that means that nobody will go without medical attention, equal access for rich and poor.

"Look at the Scandinavians !", they say.
"Look at Cuba!", they say.

They don't even bother looking much themselves, because the reality can be pretty ugly. Not a single public system anywhere in the world is without its problems. Huge ever-increasing budgets. Massive bureaucracy and budget wasting. Increasing waiting lists and poor emergency response times.

And even those who advocate socialised medicine sometimes know better, but keep their mouths shut. They know that private health is superior, and they lie to the public about the nature of their plans. Just like the pigs in Animal Farm, some animals are more equal than other !

The late Ted Kennedy, one of the most progressive senators in America, advocated universal public health over his lengthy career. What happened when he became terminally ill ??

It was reported that Senator Kennedy chose his surgeon for this difficult operation after very careful research and consultation with his physicians in Boston. Using his free and independent judgment, Kennedy chose Dr. Allan Friedman, a surgeon renowned for his experience and expertise in the field of neuro-oncological surgery.

No government regulations restricted the Senator in this extremely important personal choice. Facing a life threatening illness, no bureaucrat forced the Senator to chose his surgeon nor hospital from a government “approved” list–a list not generated by Kennedy’s independent and free judgment, but by “public servants” who’s expertise is not Kennedy’s life, but the arbitrary and byzantine politics of “pull”, of favors owed and collected, of political pressure groups and the bitter reality of healthcare rationing. No, Kennedy was not forced to sacrifice his life, liberty nor property in the name of the so-called “greater public good.”

The surgeon he chose, Dr. Allan Friedman, has freely devoted his life to treating patients with neurological tumors. Dr. Friedman wasn’t coerced into medicine; his patient load is not presently rationed nor stipulated by bureaucrats. Dr. Friedman was still free to accept Senator Kennedy as his patient and was free to choose the best surgical approach for treating the Senator’s tumor. No bureaucrat stipulated how many patients per day, week, month or year Dr. Friedman may accept and treat during the long decades he spent perfecting his life-saving skill. Dr. Friedman is still relatively free to use his expert judgment in the face of the awesome responsibility he assumes with each patient he treats.

If you ignore all the hype and propaganda, and look at people's actions, you see that socialised health aint all that its cracked up to be. You never see Americans run overseas for medical treatments, yet you see thousands of people subject to crumbling public health systems flee to wealthier countries with stronger private health sectors. Canadians travel to America, the Brits too.

(side note: despite not yet having universal coverage, America has *NOTHING LIKE* a free market in health. It is only less socialised than its counterparts)

Many socialist leaders, even Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat, had to go abroad when they became ill.

Orwell must have had these kind of thugs in mind when he wrote Animal Farm.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Australia's banking cartel: "Its under control"

Would you buy a used car from these guys ? They are the mafia bosses behind our banking cartel and they absolutely love the status quo.

Sure - they can't really control inflation ( all they ever seem to do is produce the damn thing by running the printing presses and fractional reserve banking).

But hey, its nothing for the proletariat to worry about, just go back to staring at those official government CPI figures and don't worry about anything else the RBA does. So what if their buddies in the banking and finance sector profit from credit expansion and unbacked reserves ?

Thats the way of our "modern" world and they do it in such enlightened places like Zimbabwe. How's their currency going these days ? About 4 million Zimbabwe dollars to $1 AUD.

Anyway, here's the official spin and meaningless pseudo-scientific doublespeak:

Economy under control: RBA

The Reserve Bank has backed Labor's first budget in 13 years, revealing it believed the accrued surplus would have a contractionary effect on the economy in the year ahead.

In the minutes from the June meeting, the RBA said the surplus, as a ratio of GDP, was higher than expected and should not add to the demand forces in the Australian economy.

The Australian dollar dropped from 94.34 US cents just before the mintutes were released, to 94.10 US cents.

For homeowners, the interest rate cycle could be nearing an end as the RBA emphasised the current interest rate of 7.25% could be cooling the economy by the degree needed to harness inflation.

Monday, June 16, 2008

How journalists miss the point and spin the facts

A great example is in today's Age, where Michelle Grattan shows signs of stupidity with her article "Rudd urged to act on fuel". The opening paragraph boldly, but falsely claims that:

MOST voters are dissatisfied with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's handling of petrol prices and people are overwhelmingly calling for Government intervention, an Age/Nielsen poll has revealed.

In fact, reading the actual results of the polling shows the exact opposite.
Voters don't want a government intervention to address high petrol prices. They actually want less government intervention, and a reduction in taxes !
Fifty-six per cent were critical of Mr Rudd's performance on petrol, with 78% declaring the Government should act. Of those wanting something done, 67% said the Government should cut the fuel tax and only 22% preferred Labor's controversial proposed price-monitoring FuelWatch scheme.

There you have it. And even the tax-eaters in our government acknowledge that less government action, notably by foreign governments who subsidise their petrol, can help solve problems:
Mr Tanner said it was important for Australia to put pressure on other countries in the region to remove subsidies that distorted the choices people made, reducing the extent to which they moved into other technology.

So why won't The Age ever publish an article headline saying "Government ought to get out of the way on fuel" or "Rudd urged to cut taxes on fuel" ?

Because they wouldn't want us plebs to get the wrong idea and lose faith in communism. It is often said that the cure for high prices is high prices. Markets will adjust and reallocate, people will cutback their consumption of fuel one way or another.

The Age don't want people catching on to the reality that markets can solve problems and governments can only make them worse.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I have to endorse two mainstream libertarian blogs that have a large readership and are devoted to monitoring news from a liberty-oriented perspective.

From the UK comes Samizdata, who have plenty to criticise in their home country. Britain seems to already be one of the most regulated surveillance states on the planet, where massive databases, millions of cameras, enhanced police powers and of course, oppressive road and traffic laws, have restricted people's freedom of movement and freedom of association to a big extent. Not to mention the abysmal state and bloated budgets of public health and education.

And from the US is the always interesting, Liberty Papers. They do an excellent job of monitoring and attacking two issues in particular - excessive police powers and police brutality, as well as the war on drugs and the imprisonment of thousands of nonviolent offenders. They celebrate America's heritage and constitution, and clearly and articulately argue in defence of people's freedom of speech and freedom to defend themselves.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The imaginary crimes of price gouging & profiteering

I agree entirely with The Angry Economist once again. Its clear to me that the legislation against "profiteering" and "price gouging" is extremely vague, ambiguous and completely idiotic, being driven by emotion, anger and feel-good sentiments. But it looks like I'm on my own.

The idea, or should I say, the driving emotion, behind the legislation is anger/outrage/envy directed against businesses who seem to raise their prices during times of crisis or natural disasters. i.e "How dare they raise the price of groceries and water and fuel ?"

Leftists will drag out their favorite word when they think they identify this occurring - "exploitation !"

With that word, the alarm bells ring. Journalists and current affairs programs create alarming reports and stories. It only follows naturally for progressives and socialists that government oughtta do something about it.

And don't you worry, the government certainly will. Our bureaucrats and regulators are always happy to define new laws, pass new legislation and invent new penalties for new crimes. So the government goes ahead and criminalises a form of voluntary free trade between 2 consenting parties.

Boy this is stupid.First year economics students would see the problem with this. When there is a surge in demand for something, and the supply is held constant, you either a) allow the price to adjust upwards; or b) see massive shortages.

By making a) illegal, we will certainly see b). Instead of petrol stations selling petrol at double the price to the highest bidders ( those who need it and value it the most ), we see rationing of petrol and huge queues appear - first come first served.

By making a) illegal, we don't allow other providers to scramble madly to enter the market. The signal of abnormal profits is like a red flag to a bull, it tells others to immediately rush to supply the goods in demand and take a share of the profits. Increasing the supply not only brings goods to those who need it during a crisis, but it has the effect of lowering the price.

The Angry Economist echoes my thoughts:

In a crisis, certain resources are scarce. They shouldn't be wasted, and they should go to the people who put the most value on them. The best way to discover who these people are, in a free-market society like America, is to let the price of the resource float. The people who have the highest use will be willing to pay the highest price.

This has several pleasant effects: first, it rewards people who have the good sense to keep these resources in stock, available for other people to use when the crisis hits. Second, it encourages other people to work really really hard to increase the supply of this scarce resource, because they know they'll be rewarded by high profits. Third, the higher the profit, the more the resource will flow into the area where it's badly needed, and the sooner the price will drop down to normal levels.

The Victorian Government - picking losers with your taxes

I refer to today's news of the Victorian State Government announcing they will subsidise Toyota to produce a hybrid car in Melbourne.

This whole concept is idiotic, harmful and totally unnecessary.

Once again, socialist muppet Nick Mccallum was on 3AW talk back radio this morning giving a glowing endorsement and giving air time to supporters of the subsidy. One caller suggested its good for the "Australian industry" and we shouldn't think that we can't compete with China. He even let himself suggest that the reason China was so succesful in manufacturing was because they have "government support, infrastructure and planning".

Well I wonder why China's economy was a total joke till the last decade, they always had plenty of government support !!??

The simple reality is that many car manufacturers thrive WITHOUT government support, subsidies, regulations and protective tariffs.

Also, why do auto workers have to remain in the same industry till retirement. Nobody even considered the fact that these guys have valuable skills that allow them to move on and find employment in more vibrant booming industries, such as mining.

Another caller started rambling about catastrophic man made global warming and how we shouldn't think with our wallets but we should think about the world.

In all of this discussion about feeling good about yourself and saving the world, not one rational cost-benefit analysis was done. People didn't discuss how government has a habit of picking losers when it comes to R&D. People didn't discuss how a subsidy shouldn't be necessary if a hybrid can be produced economically to begin with. People didn't discuss the fact that the auto industry is already heavily protected by a 10% tariff on imports, which their lobby groups are eager to increase !

It looks like the mainstream is fairly stupid when it comes to entreprise and free trade.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pay for your health, not for a "system" !

The Angry Economist, as usual, seems very sensible with his use of a clever analogy to argue in favor of the free market as the best way to allocate health services to the public.

Food is more important to your health than anything a doctor can do for you. Why don't we have a food insurance program?

Answer: because it would obviously be stupid. Now ... defend the health insurance system.

I didn't think you could. The reason we have employer-paid health insurance can be traced back to WWII wage and price controls. Desirable workers could not be paid more, but you could give them free health care. Employers did, and didn't stop when the wage controls went away.

Now we're stuck in the ridiculous situation of treating people like cars, doctors like car mechanics, and insurance companies like car owners. The car has no say in how much maintenance it gets, nor how much that maintenance costs. Consequently, it demands the best maintenance, price be damned. Any wonder that lots of people can't afford health care unless it's paid for by someone else?

Health care should be cheap and readily available, like food.

I once made this exact point on the radiowaves to socialist muppet and 3AW host Nick Mccallum. I said that free markets work beautifully in providing the masses with an abundance of cheap goods, like in groceries or electronics. Of course he was flabbergasted by such an opinion. First he played the sympathy card, suggesting that I don't care if people are sick. He said "So what if someone sick or critical turns up to a private hospital on a Sunday and its closed, do they just come back Monday ?"

Of course he hadn't thought through his own scenario under the status quo ! Turning up at a public hospital doesn't mean instant treatment, nor does it mean you get the appropriate treatment. Under socialised medicine, health services are rationed out. Which typically means you enter a waiting room or a waiting list no matter how much you are willing to pay or how urgently you want a treatment. No single patient will ever see the bill or pay for their services. No single provider will display a price list and compete from a price point of view.

When I told Nick Mccallum that free markets don't leave people to die on the streets as he suggested, because they provide an array of services, of different prices and standards, just as in electronics and groceries, he responded by saying "You're comparing apples and oranges my friend", before he ended the call.

No I'm not, my friend. Electronics and groceries are both complex markets. The end goods go through many stages of production, transportation and provide us with a massive variety of goods for our consumption. The raw materials, transport, energy, storage, marketing and sales involved is a significant challenge in logistics, just as it is with medicine (and education and roads for that matter).

Under a private market, so long as customers are willing to pay for something, there is absolutely no reason private clinics and hospitals wouldn't operate on a Sunday to accept them. In fact, the usual reason for things being unavailable on Sunday is government itself - regulations about shopping zones, trading hours and mandatory higher pay scales on weekends and outside of business hours.

More generally, why do health services have to be paid for via insurance schemes ? What about user-pays ? most people these days pay for insurance policies that cover small expenses well below $1000, like dental check ups, massage, optical, GP visits, x-rays etc etc. Shouldn't health insurance cover the once-in-a-lifetime emergency procedures and ambulance rides that cost several thousand ?

Insurance leads to over-consumption and little competition, thus no mechanism to encourage suppliers to compete for a quality and price point of view. It stifles innovation and efficiency. Doctors are some of the few remaining professionals who still do not rely on email and internet for communication.

Have you ever seen people shop around for a knee operation the way people frantically shop around for the best deal on a computer or plasma TV, or on a good butcher or cheap supermarket ? (have a look at how busy Aldi are these days to see how much people value a good bargain). There are though, medical procedures that are not covered by insurance and are indeed user-pays. These are mostly cosmetic and eye surgery and you do see clinics advertising prices and trying to import the latest technology to innovate and outdo each other. Despite the scare campaigns on Today Tonight and A Current Affair, this is a good thing. New technology and small new competitors take the market in new directions. Success is rewarded, failure is punished ultimately.

The conventional wisdom is that we need a health "system" and the government is the owner and manager supreme. Would we put forward such an argument for a food "system" ? ??

Before you even try to think it through, I've got good news for you - Its already been tried in the last century. Look up what happened under Mao and Stalin, and today under Mugabe and Kim Jong-Il.