Tuesday, 1 June 2010

‘Atlas’ starts shooting in two weeks! [update]

atlas-shrugged-book-cover-175x300 IN THE FIFTY-THREE years since is publication, there have been many twists and turns in attempts to get Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged to the screen, and many studios and many names associated with those attempts, ranging from The Godfather producer Albert Ruddy, to Russell Crowe, Mr & Mrs Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron. 

Now that the book is enjoying unprecedented popularity once again, it looks like another attempt will be made.  Indeed, rights-holder and Cybex exercise equipment owner John Aglialoro has just announced plans to begin shooting June 11 on the first of a projected four three movies based on the book, this time without the backing of a major studio, and more than likely with a cast made up of actors rather than established stars.

Story here.

UPDATE: Make that “a three-movie sequence, following the structure of the novel” – which makes much more sense, each of those three parts being almost a dramatic whole.

Tragedy off Gaza [updated]

It’s obviously too early to know just exactly what went on when Israeli commandoes boarded the ill-named freedom flotilla last night, but their tragic overreaction has turned a rag-tag bunch of useful idiots, human shields and publicity-seekers into at least nine dead martyrs Israel could do without.

Yes, Israel was entitled to inspect the boats to ensure they weren’t bringing more rockets to Gaza to be fired into Israel—which was the very real reason for Israel’s blockade on Gaza.  But they should have been prepared for some sort of aggressive response from the thugs they should have known would be on board.

Yes, Israel was goaded into the killing (“Right now we face one of two happy endings,” said one woman idiot on board, “either martyrdom or reaching Gaza.”), but their intelligence must have told them that was what the jihadists on board were waiting for.

Yes, it’s true the commandoes were goaded by the so-called peaceful activists chanting “Remember Haibar, Oh, Jews,” a reference to Mohammed’s historic genocide of Jews at Haibar—were attacked by thugs wielding knives, catapults, iron bars, baseball bats, stun grenades and firebombs, and guns ripped from the commando’s hands——were well aware the jihadists on board were using the peaceniks as a cover for something more sinister. But these would have been well-trained troops immune to being taunted by a simple tune, however inflammatory, and well able to assert some sort of firm crowd control on even a reasonably well-prepared and well-armed bunch of jihadists—and given that they knew the whole world would be watching, if they couldn’t, they shouldn’t have been there.

Yes, it’s true that the “aid” the boats were bringing in was not the humanitarian lifeline the flotilla organisers claimed it to be; that Gaza is adequately supplied in most of the things it can afford, thank you very much, including arms; that the flotilla was not manned just by innocent, civilian humanitarians; that it was fully intended to be a provocation to intafada; but the commando’s ill-advised overreaction shows they took the bait, turning this ill-starred publicity stunt into something much more tragic all round.

Israel, it seems, was provoked into exactly the reaction that Hamas and its fellow-travellers would have been hoping for with this flotilla, even as the jihadists cried crocodile tears over the dead and wounded they themselves helped put in harm’s way, and the .  But this deadly overreaction will win Israel few friends, and has left at least nine people dead.

Tragic.  Just tragic.

UPDATE: What exactly happened on board is still largely unknown, but the aftermath to it is oh so predictable.

“Now that the thugs on board the Mavi Marvara have gotten the violence they wanted and instigated, the second stage of Hamas's operation has begun:  protests against Israel around the world .”

These are people who think the BBC is pro-Israeli, for goodness’ sake.

“Enraged by the BBC's bias against them, supporters of the Jihad Flotilla storm the BBC offices in Manchester…”

And don’t think the propaganda war isn’t important.

Turkey has led international calls to isolate Israel…

Israel was under pressure to lift its blockade of Gaza last night…”

Will those applying the pressure on Israel last night apply it the other way when the lifting of the blockade sees an avalanche of rockets heading towards Israel out of Gaza?

KRIS SAYCE: Why Scrooge Isn’t The Bad Guy

Guest Post by Kris Sayce of Money Morning Australia 

* * * *

_Kris_Sayce_headshot_thumb[2] So, was Ebenezer Scrooge really such a bad guy?

He’s certainly got a lot of bad press. Especially for a fictional character.

Now, I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since we read A Christmas Carol, but you could argue that all Mr. Scrooge was trying to do was run a business.

Sure, he could have let Kermit the Frog, er, I mean, Bob Cratchett put another coal on the fire, and he could have given him a pay rise. But then again, maybe Bob Cratchett was just grateful he had a job.

We’ll have to assume employment prospects couldn’t have been that great at the time if Bob considered working for Mr. Scrooge as the best alternative. The worse alternative would be a stint in a workhouse we’ll guess.

The reason we bring this up is the headline on page 13 of today’s Australian Financial Review (AFR), “Czechs choose Scrooge.”

And then it has a photo of Czech president Vaclav Klaus. Who isn’t the Scrooge in question, but a glance at the headline and the photo could easily leave you with that impression.

In fact president Klaus wasn’t even up for election, it was a parliamentary rather than a presidential election being held by the Czechs.

Headlines are a tricky thing. We know that. Sometimes we get it right, and sometimes we get it wrong. Ideally the headline should offer something that encourages you to read the accompanying story.

And equally ideally, the headline should accurately reflect the story as well.

Anyway, we read through the article that the AFR had syndicated from Bloomberg. And then we searched online for the original Bloomberg article which the AFR article was adapted from, which you can read here. Although Bloomberg’s headline was, “Czech Deficit Cutters Plan Coalition Cabinet, Boosting Koruna.”

Funnily enough, the Czech article in the AFR is below another headlined, “Spain loses AAA credit rating.”

But if the Czechs chose Scrooge, surely the headline for the Spanish credit downgrade could have been a little more colourful. What about, “Spain punished for p***ing tax dollars up against the wall.” Or what about, “Spain loses rating after blowing dough.”

It seems as though the headline writers and indeed the majority of mainstream financial journalists just don’t understand the massive debt problem the Europeans have gotten themselves into.

While the AFR writes, “All three campaigned for reduced spending, indicating they may be able to form a cabinet committed to cutting a deficit that swelled to 5.9 per cent of gross domestic product last year, almost twice the EU limit.”

It forgot to point out that Spain has a deficit of 11.2% of GDP. To read that you’d need to read the article on Spain that I mentioned before. And if you want to see just how the Czechs stack up compared to the Eurozone countries, just take a look at this:

Deficit disasters:

Source: BBC

Seems to us that the Scrooge-like Czechs have decided to vote for a bunch of people who don’t want to send the taxpayer and country broke.

Although to be fair, there’s barely a politician we’ve got a positive thing to say anything about, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the new mob in the Czech Republic fell into the same old tax and spend trap.

Perhaps the Czech people have good memories. They probably remember what it was like to live under a regime that believed it had all the answers. A regime that left nothing up to the individual citizen and instead made all the spending and investing decisions for them.

Dare we say that the Czechs remember what it was like to have bureaucrats pulling levers and thinking they know how to micro-manage an economy.

Not that the old Czech government is innocent of being spendthrift. The online version of the Bloomberg article points out, “The Czech Republic’s debt will rise to about 40 per cent of gross domestic product this year, from 18 per cent in 2008.”

That seems bad enough to us, but almost nothing when compared to many of the Eurozone countries:


Source: BBC

Perhaps they’re keen to avoid debt reaching the 53.2% level of Spain, or the 73.2% of Germany, or even the 115.1% level of Greece.

It seems they are. According to Bloomberg,

    “In rejecting parties that promised to increase welfare spending, voters sent ‘a very clear message’ to politicians that they want ‘a stable fiscal path,’ Simon Quijano-Evans, head of emerging-market research at Credit Agricole Chevreux in Vienna, said in a note to clients.”

It’s a contrast to the mainstream thinking in the West. Perhaps that’s because the West still has the misplaced view that government knows best. That welfare spending is essential to ensure the overall wealth of an economy and society.

That’s why you’ll have seen the ridiculous arguments supporting [Kevin Rudd’s] new mining super tax. The case is made that it’s essential that profitable [Australian] mining companies pay for welfare and other [Australian] government spending. Because it’s right that everyone pays their fair share.

We look at it differently. We believe that initiative and endeavour should be rewarded, not punished. And we certainly don’t believe that initiative and endeavour should result in you being fined (taxation) for having taken the risks.

The way we look at it is like this – but the end result is the same.

In some economies you have governments going heavily into debt now to pay for bureaucratic spending, requiring its citizens to repay the debt in the future through higher taxes.

While in other economies you have governments imposing higher taxes now to pay for bureaucratic spending and will require its citizens to become indebted at a later date as productivity and entrepreneurial activity are extinguished through excessive taxation.

The former would include the Europeans and the US, the latter would include Australia.

As I say, the end result is the same. Both involve hapless bureaucrats spending money which isn’t theirs on projects which no-one really needs. And furthermore coercively controlling the lives of its citizens at its own whim.

And none of it provides any benefit to anyone. Take the following as an example of coercive government incompetence, cruelty and wasteful spending. This headline from ABC News last week really says it all, “Government to get tough with jobless.”

The article says,

    “More than 350,000 job seekers will be targeted as the Federal Government toughens the rules for obtaining unemployment benefits. From July, those that do not turn up for regular interviews with Centrelink will risk losing the dole.”

As you know, we’re no fan of welfare. But it comes to something when a government punishes the very people that its own rules cause to be unemployed.

Yep, that’s right, it’s one of our favourite subjects, the minimum wage. The government implements an arbitrary minimum wage level that means tens or hundreds of thousands of people are prevented from getting a job.

Because it’s against the law for an employer to pay even 1 cent below the minimum wage, many people become unemployable. Their level of skill makes it uneconomic for a business to employ them and therefore the business will seek alternative solutions, such as exporting the jobs overseas.

Not content with having forced these people out of work and onto welfare, the government is then determined to punish them a second time. This time for not having a job.

But get this, it’s comments quoted from Human Services minister Chris Bowen:

    “This is about making sure that they are … doing their bit to get a job and that we are doing everything we can do to assist them get a job. It’s about mutual obligation. It’s about them doing their bit and us doing our bit. The interviews in the past for many years have been largely, frankly, a ‘tick and flick’ exercise. In the past they’ve been one-minute interviews with about 30 seconds focused on compliance, which is not capable of allowing Centrelink to come to a considered view of the individual’s efforts. These will be interviews that are five times as long and with a very substantial proportion devoted to compliance measures and making sure that the person is looking for work and actively seeking work and checking to ensure that what they’ve told us is correct.”

Talk about victimisation. Whether you like it or not, the fact is simple, without a meddling, coercive and victimising government and bureaucracy, odds are that each one of those 350,000 people would be gainfully employed.

It may not be their perfect or ideal job, and it may pay less than they’d like, but they would have a job.

Scrooge may not be the most popular fictional guy in town, but it should be remembered that at the end of the story, Scrooge does give the Cratchett family something they actually need, a slap-up feed, oh, and a job for Bob.

Meanwhile in the old days the government shoved the poor in the workhouse to do such enlightening work as stone-breaking, corn-grinding, and bone-crushing. Today they may not physically put them in the workhouse, but is it less cruel to forbid someone to work at a wage they’re willing to accept and then force them to beg and plead from the same government that put them in that position?



Radius House – Daniel Liebermann


The San Francisco ‘Radius House’ by Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice Daniel Liebermann has just been given a sensitive revitalisation. Story at Inhabit.Com [hat tip Prairie Mod]




Monday, 31 May 2010

Walter Williams on discrimination

Hat tip Vulcan’s Hammer.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: The ghosts of left & right

Novelist Edward Cline reckons both left and right are beholden to a similar fiction:

_quote Leftists are beholden to the great ghost society; rightists are beholden to a ghost of indeterminate gender and appearance in the ether (or perhaps He’s a resident of the constellation Orion, no theologian in history has been able to pinpoint his whereabouts on the map). The leftists have been able to put over their ghost because society is ostensibly tangible: it’s you, and me, and our neighbors all over the country. The rightists can only cite belief that the creator of individual rights and freedom exists -- somewhere, as an entity of semi-infinite dimensions, armed with the contradictory powers of omniscience and omnipotence -- and that everything good emanates from Him, including that incidental, unimportant thing called capitalism.
    “In terms of
metaphysics and epistemology, the leftists have a leg up on the rightists. They can ‘prove’ their ghost exists, and why everyone should defer to it today, in personal relationships on up to coercive legislation, while all the rightists can trot out is a tooth fairy on steroids who mandates selflessness and self-sacrifice in the name of life after death.”
        -Edward Cline, ‘Hollywood vs. America

GUEST POST: Natural Laws of Innovation – 1

Another guest post here by Dale Halling, the first in a series on The Laws of Innovation:

What do we mean by innovation?  We mean the creation of something new.  Because of conservation of matter (and energy), new does not mean creating something out of nothing.  As used here, “innovation” means a new combination of elements and connections that has positive value to a human being. 

Combinations of elements and connections that are new but have no value to any human being are generally noise—however, in the case of failed attempts to solve a problem, the new combination may have value in what does not work.  For instance, Edison considered his attempts to create a light bulb as having negative value.  He told a reporter, “I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work.” 

Every innovation can be described as a combination of elements and connections.  For instance, music is a series of notes connected by timing.  A food dish is a combination of food elements connected by ways of preparing each element and the time at which the elements are combined.  Methods of investing are the elements of stocks and  financial parameters or technical parameters connected together by a purchase or sale.  The connections can be as important as the elements.  For instance, stereoisomers are chemical compounds that have exactly the same elements and bonds between the elements, but are mirror images of each other.  The two chemical compounds of a stereoisomer are commonly characterizes as being right handed or left handed.  They are often readily distinguished by biological systems, however, and may have different pharmacokinetic properties (absorption; distribution, biotransformation. and excretion) and quantitatively or qualitatively different pharmacologic or toxicological effects.[1]

An invention is an innovation that has a well-defined structure and an objective goal.  For instance, a new song is an innovation and it has a well-defined structure, but it is not an invention because its goal is the subjective esthetic pleasure of the listener.  A management strategy, such as total quality management, is not an invention because the implementation is only an outline, and the goal cannot be objectively tested.  A software program can be an invention because it has a well-defined structure and it may have an objective goal.  (For instance, find the cheapest published airfare on the internet between L.A. and New York on a certain day.)

Earlier we stated that all innovations are combinations of elements and connections.  In order to create these combinations the elements and connections must first be known.  As a result, discovery proceeds innovation.  We must discover those elements and connection found in nature first before we can use them to make an innovation.

An innovation is not the physical embodiment.  For instance, one of Edison’s inventions was a high-resistance incandescent light bulb.  The physical light bulb he built was not the invention, it was an embodiment of the invention.  The invention is how to build a high-impedance light bulb.  A song is not an instance of the song being played.  That is a performance of the song.  The song is the recipe for the performance.

In summary, all inventions are innovations but not all innovations are inventions.  Inventions are innovations that have a well-defined structure and an objective goal.  All innovations are combinations of elements and connections.  An innovation is not a specific individual embodiment, but the recipe for making or practicing the innovation.  Innovation is proceeded by discovery.

With this background, I will now list the Laws of Innovation, then each
of the Laws will be discussed in more detail.

List of the Laws of Innovation

Conservation Law of Innovation:
All innovations are combinations of existing/known elements.

Causality Law of Innovation:
Invention precedes production, production precedes consumption, and discovery precedes invention.

Set Law of Innovation:
The number of potential innovations is essentially infinite.

Rate Law of Innovation:
The rate of innovation is dependent on the number of innovators, the size of the set of elements the innovators can access, and the size of the set of goals.

Commons Law of Innovation:
Innovations are not subject to overuse.  The creation of innovations is subject to under investment without property rights in innovations.  The diffusion of innovations is subject to under investment without property rights in innovations.

Income Law of Innovation:
The per-capita income of a large population can only increase over the long term if their level of technology increases.

[1] “Development of New Stereoisomeric Drugs”, http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/ucm122883.htm, viewed 7/14/09, first published May 1, 1992, updated July 6, 2005.

Dale Halling is a patent attorney, and the author of the book ‘The Decline and Fall of the American Entrepreneur: How Little Known Laws are Killing Innovation.’  Visit him at his blog, the State of Innovation.

Ha(r)den up New Zealand

So everyone’s a bit dark on Andy Haden at the moment … but does it really take a whole week, a series of front pages and ministerial intervention to conclude the man’s an idiot?

Sheesh. Can’t we  grow up and consign the man, his mouth, and his baseless bullshit to the margins where they belong, without all the bleeding hand-wringing in the meantime?

Ha(r)den up New Zealand.

Say’s Law on Campus!

_quoteIf there were any justice in this world the treatment dished out to Say's law of markets since Keynes' malicious misrepresentation would have long ago been exposed as a vicious calumny. Unfortunately an overwhelming number of economists have never read Say and have no intention of ever doing so. Now Say never argued that supply creates its own demand. What he did was to show what every competent economist of the time knew, and that was that demand springs from production…
    “It follows that an economic policy that focused on consumption at the expense of investment would eventually lower purchasing power…”
        - Gerard Jackson, Brook’s News (2008)
_quote It is important to realize that what is called Say's Law was in the first instance designed as a refutation of doctrines popularly held in the ages preceding the development of economics as a branch of human knowledge. It was not an integral part of the new science of economics as taught by the Classical economists. It was rather a preliminary—the exposure and removal of garbled and untenable ideas which dimmed people's minds and were a serious obstacle to a reasonable analysis of conditions...”
        - Ludwig Von Mises, ‘Lord Keynes and Say’s Law’ (1950)
Okay, put this event in your diary: This coming Thursday evening the Uni of Auckland Economics Group will present An Evening on Say’s Law: the most important economic idea that most economists have never read.  Says the Group convenor Fraser Hungerford:
keynes_stupid_button     “Say's Law, or the Law of Markets, is an economic proposition attributed to French businessman and economist Jean-Baptiste Say (1767–1832). ‘Say's Law is obviously true ... it is neither trivial nor unimportant,’ wrote Joseph Schumpeter. John Maynard Keynes claimed that he refuted Say's law. But did he? Or did he just ignore it?
    “We are thrilled to have Sean Kimpton lead the discussion this coming Thursday on why an understanding of Say's law is critical for any student of economics, or for any person interested in how market's function. Sean is a lecturer in economics at AUT and has studied Say's law for a number of years.
When: Thursday 3 June, 7pm
Where: University of Auckland Business School,
Room: TBC
PS:  Yep, it’s the same night as blogger’s drinks, but who says you can’t drink before or after.  So just add the whole night to your diary.

What They Said About Say's Law ...

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Perhaps you could do me a favour [updated]

I wonder if you could do me a wee favour.
You see, the entries for the Air New Zealand Best Blog Award are due in round midnight on Monday, and since other blogs are agonising over entering enlisting the help of their readers, I wondered if I might do the same.  (As David Lange said when a round of applause brought the lights back on at an official function, “Many hands make lights work.”)
Vere simply, the entry requires me to send the judges (and I quote), the
“four best samples of work in the calendar year 2009 that define your blog.”
So the question is, which four?
Which is where you come in. Perhaps you could let me know in the comments either which four posts from 2009 you liked best; which touched you, enlightened you or infuriated you the most; or just which ones these five judges* are likely to like.
And speaking of Round Midnight, here’s Joe Jackson** making a surprisingly superb fist of the Thelonious Monk/Cootie Williams standard. Think of it as a “thank you” for your help. :-)
* The five judges are blogger Tim Selwyn, spin doctor Matthew Hooton, marketer Ricardo Simich, new media type Regan Cunliffe, and media maven Martin “Bomber” Bradbury.
** By the way, the rest of the Thelonious tribute album on which this features isn’t bad either.
  1.  LEAKY HOMES, Part 1: The myth of deregulated building
  2. Just the facts, ma'am
  3. "No Future" - punk's past
  4. It’s Bastille Day!
  5. Can good art be political art?
  6. ANZAC DAY REFLECTION: War! What is it good for?
  7. Stimulunatics
  8. Justice still not being seen to be done 
  9. It's Easter, which means... 
  10. Freedom for me . . . but I’m not so sure about ye
Problem is, customers, which six do I leave out?

Friday, 28 May 2010

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: It’s mind-changing!

Ready to ramble round the interweb again?  Not counting the many fine posts here at NOT PC, Here’s the best liberty links I’ve spotted for you this week.

  • This is how to honestly change your mind (in chronological order)
    1. “Maybe I’m missing something, but the TV3 story about Key and his vineyard sounds a bit daft to me: Key invested in the vineyard before he was elected and his investments were then placed into a blind trust – is he supposed to pretend he can’t remember buying a vineyard?”
    Maybe I’m missing something . . .DIM POST
    2. “So the allegation is that Key transferred his assets into a company managed by his blind trust – but that he had visibility of the assets owned by that company. This contradicts his previous statements to Parliament. So they might have something there.”
    Okay now I see it – DIM POST
    3. “Shockingly enough it looks as if Labour’s latest attack against Key actually stacks up…”
    Stage 1 – DIM POST
  • prison_extension_2 When you’re thinking about the eight-story prison rising beside the gateway to Auckland, towering over school playing fields blocking the view of the harbour and the city’s volcanic cones, just remember that that people who designed, built and gave permission for it to be built—which includes the council’s so-called Urban Design Panel—are the people that the Resource Management Act gives absolute say-so over the quality of the built environment.
    Mt Eden-finished So why would you want to give them that power?
    Prison an "architectural monstrosity"
    - TVNZ
    Looming prison tower offends community – NZ HERALD
    "Architect" Phil Goff Invited To Give Speech Outside Mt Eden Prison – CAMERON BREWER
  • Don’t get yourself too excited about the British Con-Lib government “slashing” their spending.  In just one short announcement of the cuts Liberty Scott counts four lies, two shifty evasions, one incompetent explanation—and a pretty limp-wristed attempt to cut anything very much at all.
    Much Ado About 1% – LIBERTY SCOTT
  • “Chris Trotter writes an interesting piece on what may have lain behind National’s rejection of the Tuhoe ‘deal.’ Well worth reading.” [Hat tip Inquiring Mind]
    Coming Apart, Or Holding Together?  - CHRIS TROTTER
  • “Over at the (low) Standard Marty G is proving once again that he doesn't know much about economics. He gives us Privatisation: The facts. Read them if you must. As a public service let me give some actual facts about privatisation.”
    Privatisation: the facts – ANTI DISMAL
    UPDATE: But there’s more!
    Privatisation: the "facts" – ANTI DISMAL
  • Over at Kiwiblog and The Visible Hand, David Farrar and Matt Nolan show once again they know nothing about the Emissions Tax Scam, but plenty about spin.  Says Matt, quoted approvingly by the Manatee, “The ETS is a scheme to raise the funds to pay for our [sic] Kyoto Liability.  Even if you don’t believe in global warming, we [sic] have a liability that is based on carbon emissions.  As a nation, either people who produce the carbon pay for it – or everyone pays for it through higher taxes.” Or else “we” simply repudiate this simple scheme that Simply Simon Upton stupidly signed up to. 
    Fortunately their commenters “get” that, even if the spin doctors bloggers don’t.
    National, Labour, Greens: You all get this, please help clear it up! - VALUE-FREE ECONOMICS BLOG
  • But we need an Emissions Tax Scam to impress our trading partners, you say?  Bullshit, say the facts:
        Value of NZ trade with countries having some sort of trading scam themselves: $5 billion.   
        Value of NZ trade with countries having nothing of the kind: $34.5 billion.
        Countries outside the European Union who’ve shackled themselves with an Emissions
        Tax Scam: One.  Us.
    The Magical Twenty Nine Countries with an ETS – NO MINISTER
  • So that’s just us and the European Union, then.  Oh, and California.  I wonder how are things going there…?
        “California, that former land of opportunity, was one of the first states to pass its own version of "cap and trade" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2007 when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the law, called AB-32, he said it would propel California into an economy-expanding, green job future. Well, a new study by the state's own auditing agency—its version of the Congressional Budget Office—has burst that green bubble.
        “The study released May 13 concludes that ‘California's economy at large will likely be adversely affected in the near term by implementing climate-related policies that are not adopted elsewhere.’ While the long-term economic costs are ‘unknown,’ the study finds that AB-32 will raise energy prices, ‘causing the prices of goods and services to rise; lowering business profits; and reducing production, income and jobs.’
        “The economic reality here is what the Legislative Analyst's Office calls ‘economic leakage.’ That's jargon for businesses and jobs that will ‘locate or relocate outside the state of California where regulatory-related costs are lower.’ The study says the negative impact on most California industries will be ‘modest,’ but energy-intensive industries—specifically, aluminum, chemicals, forest products, oil and gas and steel—’may significantly reduce their business activity in California.’”
     Cap and Flee: California refutes its own 'green jobs' policy - FLASH REPORT
  • I haven’t watched it all yet, but regular reader Falufulu Fisi reckons that if you watch this five-part series on You Tube you’ll have a much clearer grasp of what I mean when I say that banks create money “out of thin air”; or when economists talk about “the organisation of debt into currency.”
  • As they say:
    Debt Money-It’s the Ultimate Ponzi Scheme – DAVID McGREGOR
  • What to do about North Korea?
    1) Perry de Havilland calls for the simplest solution, and his commenters explain to him why it’s not that simple.
    Crisis in Korea... - SAMIZDATA
    2) Hitchens hits it, especially in the last sentence!  The headline isn’t too bad either.
    How Kim Jong-il blackmails the West into supporting his evil North Korean regime. – CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS
  • Speaking of Hitchens, here he is talking to Kim Hill last weekend about, well, everything really. Agree or disagree, it’s wonderful to hear such pithy, articulate conversation.  Something to enjoy, and aspire to.
    Listen here. Download here.  40 min.
    Saturday Morning with Kim Hill: Christopher Hitchens – THE DAILY HITCHENS
  • Okay, when is this going to get sorted:

    “According to the yellow CPI line our core state spending [sic] should now be around $40billion instead of the budgeted $64.7billion….”
    Crikey, even the Europeans know it’s time to sort this shit out, don’t they?  Don’t they??
    When and how?  - NO MINISTER
  • It’s already too late for America.
    Deficit Landmines Dead Ahead! – DOUG CASEY REPORT
  • Who would have thought it? Second-hand appliance dealers conniving with beneficiaries to deceive Work and Income.  Looks like yet another confirmation of Milton Friedman’s Four Rules of Spending. Rule No. 3: “I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch!” Or an X-Box.
    WINZ sting exposes beneficiary scam  - NZ HERALD
    Milton Friedman on the four ways you can spend money  - SIGNAL VS. NOISE
  • “Of all the motivations for reforming the DPB, improving the lot of children is the most important… if [getting parents into] work isn't the answer then it must be more welfare. But if more welfare is given, more children will grow up on welfare and their expectations will be based on their environment and in 20 years time the advocates will still be calling for more welfare. More welfare is an ever-expanding downward spiral.”
    Cheaper to leave them on the DPBLINDSAY MITCHELL
  • Yet another story of how governments use the welfare state to manufacture their own voters. “A morality of sacrifice not only needs sacrificial victims, it also needs recipients. Hence it manufactures the latter in order to further immolate the former.” [Hat tip Thrutch]
    Cliff-Diving into Dependency, and Trolling for Democratic Votes – PAJAMA MEDIA
  • Quite interesting...if we could buy a copier off the government...

  • “In light of Randal Paul's views on abortion, reproduction, and end-of-life decisions, nobody should be asking whether Paul advocates too much liberty.”
    Rand Paul Wants Total Abortion Bans - ARI ARMSTRONG
  • The Wall Street Journal and the Cato Institute have the third-to-last and second-to-last word on the Randal Paul kerfuffle. [Hat tip Vulcan’s Hammer]
    ”Even if Mr. Paul was speaking out of a principled belief in the rights of voluntary association, he was wrong on the Constitutional and historic merits. The Civil Rights Act of 1964—and its companion laws, such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965—were designed to address abuses of state and local government power. The Jim Crow laws that sprang up in the South after Reconstruction and prevailed for nearly a century were not merely the result of voluntary association. Discrimination—public and private—was enforced by police power and often by violence.”
    Rand Paul's Constitution: The Kentucky candidate's bad history  – WALL STREET JOURNAL
    ”Contending that only government power saved us from slavery and Jim Crow, it ignores the role of private power – the abolitionists, and the civil rights movement – that brought about that government power. More important, it invites us to believe that government had little or nothing to do with slavery and Jim Crow in the first place…”
    A Bum Rap for Limited Government – CATO
  • Harry Binswanger gets the last word:
       ”Rand Paul (not named for Ayn Rand) is busily retreating from the principle of property rights, which he correctly applied to state his opposition to the portion of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which denied the right of private businesses to discriminate on the basis of race.
        “What he should have said is that there's a right to be irrational, and racism is the most irrational form of collectivism.
        “Of course, that needs more explanation, because there's only a right to choose between rationality and (non-coercive) irrationality, not a primary right to be irrational. Rights exist to protect the exercise of rationality, which necessarily entails leaving people free to be irrational, as long as they don't initiate physical force.”
    What Rand Paul should have said [excerpt]  - HB LIST
  • It looks increasingly likely that crony capitalism is at least partly to blame for the hash being made of the Gulf Oil Spill. Time to wheel out your public choice economists.
    “The familiar old trap is set: Do you want unfettered markets and oil spills or government regulation and safety?  The implied premise is that the oil industry operates in a free market. So, the argument goes, the only alternative is government regulation…[but] the Gulf oil spill occurred on property owned and managed by the federal government, and the operator-at-fault (BP) has been the most politically active in its industry.
    “Has BP been too busy spending money to [buy politicians, and to] impress the government and the public with how’“green’ it is to look after safety adequately?”
    ”…The free market will undoubtedly take the rap — but it’s an unjust rap. According to
    Reuters, ‘Like BP, both Transocean … and Halliburton, a contractor, also pumped money into the campaign war chests of senators who sit on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee.’
    ”I have a feeling the companies weren’t buying repeal of corporate favors.”

    The BP Spill: Self-Regulation, Public Property, and Political Capitalism – MASTER RESOURCE
  • “Once again, an episode from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged leaps to life from behind closed doors in Washington, D.C. According to a recent report from The Washington Post, President Obama is angry about the British Petroleum oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico:
  • BP-oil-fire-300x225     ‘Since the oil rig exploded, the White House has tried to project a posture that is unflappable and in command.
        ‘But to those tasked with keeping the president apprised of the disaster, Obama’s clenched jaw is becoming an increasingly familiar sight. During one of those sessions in the Oval Office the first week after the spill, a president who rarely vents his frustration cut his aides short, according to one who was there.
        ‘‘Plug the damn hole,’ Obama told them.’

    That’s the politician’s answer to every intractable problem: give orders, issue threats, and wait for obedience. But the creative human mind cannot take orders like that. Notice I didn’t say, ‘refuses to take orders.’ I said, ‘cannot take orders.’”
    “Plug the damn hole!”  - VOICES OF REASON

  • But don’t go thinking Obama is stupid—on foreign policy, or anything else for that matter.
    Obama: Neither Naïve nor Foolish nor Misguided  - RULE OF REASON
  • “Everyone knows that the Obama administration’s decision to suspend consideration of applications to drill in the Arctic is driven by political considerations, some attempt to ‘respond’ to the BP mess in the Gulf. But what strikes me as just how willy nilly the state acts toward the goods and services that fuel civilization itself. The decision makes us all poorer on the margin, increases ‘dependency’ of the U.S. on foreign oil, drives up prices, and sets back social advance in every way – all in the name of some random attempt for one guy to appear ‘strong’ and ‘act’ in the face of an accident. It’s rarely been more obvious, day to day, that the machinery of the state, while pretending to be the caretaker of mother earth, only destroys hope for real human beings.
    Mises Economics Blog Playing Fast and Loose with Civilization – JEFFREY TUCKER

_Quote      A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a
glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two
beverages; he chooses between life and death. A society that chooses
between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social
systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration
of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is
an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings."
Ludwig Von Mises- Human Action

  • The Roadkill Diaries calls “bullshit” on bleating about Gaza’s much-touted supply problems.
    Gaza Strip: Not Dry Enough! – SMALL DEAD ANIMALS
  • Bet ya didn’t know that for all the bigotry and banging on the Australian “Liberal” Party and their fellow travellers have been doing about those nasty boat people taking over Australia, there’s been just 60 boats arriving this year.  Break through all the casual bigoty that even infests your basic  Australian newspaper report, and that’s the basic fact. It’s not like the place isn’t big enough to fit them in … or that the Australian economy doesn’t need them.
    Boat 60 arrives at AshmoreWEST AUSTRALIAN
    Former PM takes stand against bigotry, shrugs off party – NOT PC
  • You now how you’re always hearing that those nasty illegal immigrants are all criminals?  No, that’s something else that’s not true.
    New Crime Stats Contradict Anti-Immigration Hype- CATO AT LIBERTY
  • How’s the Aussie dollar doing since the K.Rudd announced his Rape-The-Mining-Companies Tax? Um…

    How’s the Aussie doing? - CATALLAXY
  • “ I often hear from extremely intelligent engineers that they have read all sorts of patents in the last decade that should not have been issued.  Despite their brilliance, I am usually pretty sure that they have no idea what they are talking about.”
    Patent Ignorance – STATE OF INNOVATION
  • And while we’re on patents, let’s talk about the bane of “patent pools”: Antitrust.
    Patent and Antitrust Law   - STATE OF INNOVATION
    Does Cyberspace Need Antitrust? – ERIC CRAMPTON & DON BOUDREAUX
  • All the presentations from the Heartland Institute’s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change are here, including presentations from Christopher Monckton, Richard Lindzen, Anthony Watts, Willy Soon , Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre; NZers Chris de Freitas, Bob Carter and Bryan Leyland, and ARI writer Keith Lockitch and Ayn Rand enthusiast Andrei Ilaryanov.
    4th International Conference on Climate Change – ENVIRONMENT & CLIMATE NEWS
  • Lindsay Perigo summarises the entire Christian mythology in eight paragraphs.
    There’s more laughs than the Bible. And infinitely more erudition.
    The Story of the Lonely Goblin – LINDSAY PERIGO
  • Something to think about: “why forbidding organ sales creates unnecessary dilemmas.”
    A sale would be cleaner  - REASON-PHARM
  • Some history on the death penalty. “By the mid-fifteenth century crimes subject to the death penalty … included the following: rebellion, fraud, bigamy, incest, arson, theft, adultery, carrying off a woman against her will, blasphemy, moving signs of property boundaries, attacking someone, high treason, child murder, using dishonest weights and measures, murder, counterfeiting, rape, attempted suicide, striking someone to death, converting to Judaism, treason, having sex with animals, and sorcery.”  That’s quite a list, says Stephen Hicks.  “There has been a steady decline in the infliction of this punishment in every decade since the 1930’s … which seems a healthy development — except for that part about letting sorcerers off the hook.”
    The death penalty in fifteenth-century Europe – STEPHEN HICKS
  • I bet you never really “got” commas at school either; yet they make life and reading so much easier. (Just ask the victims of the Panda who eats, shoots and leaves.) 
    Lisa Van Damme from the Van Damme Academy gives you the lesson you should have got in your school.

  • Here’s some top-rate educational satire.  [Hat tip Montessori Ed]
    If you’ve been round this blog any time at all you’ll know by now I’m a keen advocate of Montessori schools, and an enthusiastic denouncer of Montessomething schools, i.e., schools with Montessori on their fancy signboards and hefty invoices, but nowhere inside their school.
    So here’s a website hilariously satirising the schools who foist fraud upon parents, and their children, by selling something they’re not delivering. It’s brilliantly done, right down to the school’s newsletter.
    Start with the page on teacher quality, which would be hilarious if it didn’t describe 95% of schools in New Zealand with the Montessori name on their letterhead.
    PS: Don’t worry if you don’t get the jokes.  Just click on the “Help” menu.
    Visit the Montessomething School! 
  • "Magic, Objectivism, and Peikoff -- what more could you ask for?" Well, maybe Penn.  Or Teller…
    Leonard Peikoff Interview With Magician Steve Cohen - NOODLE FOOD
  • A new DVD release of 1942's 'We the Living' introduces audiences to Rand's brilliant but obscure first novel. Fantastic! [Warning: There are spoilers]
    Love, Politics And Ayn Rand – FORBES MAGAZINE
  • It’s time to stop building those stoopid goddamn social media websites.  Haven’t we got enough already!!!
    8 Websites You Need to Stop Building – THE OATMEAL
  • You see it all the time but, well, “Why would someone advocate an idea that he knows to be false?"
    Putting the Cause Before the Truth – SHEA LEVY
  • Just in case you were wondering what a city without billboards looks like…it’s not pretty.
    Publi-City or No Publi-City – ARKINET BLOG
  • Here’s Django Reinhardt’s song ‘Minor Swing’ updated in Chocalat.

  • And for those who are wondering where the “Ramble” title comes from…here’s Robert Johnson from 1936.

I think that’s me for now.
Have a great weekend!

“One With” Martin Eichinger


I’m seeking words to describe this, but have none.

So just sit, and look, and wonder.

And decide if you can afford to purchase a first casting from this stunning [hardly encompasses it, does it] new clay work.

More of this man’s work here, at the Quent Cordair Gallery.

Thursday, 27 May 2010


Okay, here’s a quiz for you.

In a plush downtown Auckland hotel yesterday a man got up in front of a well-dressed and well-fed audience and announced the following:
I have a dream job.
My product is in daily use.
The government jails my competitors.
We ourselves set the selling price.
Our production costs are only a fraction of the product’s value.
And we make hundreds of millions of dollars profit every year.
So here are my two questions for you:
  1. Who is this man? 
  2. Who does he work for?
  3. And what do they produce?
And here’s a clue for you: Despite what you might think, the answers are not 1) William Burroughs, 2) a gang, and 3) drugs.

Answers over the fold—or click the link above for a definitive clue.

Former PM takes stand against bigotry, shrugs off party [updated]

Feilcartoon-200x0Two Australian elections ago John Howard and his supporters talked blandly about machine-gunning Afghani refugees trapped on a boat beyond Australian waters, being banned from landing anywhere by the actions of the Australian Navy.

It was an election-winning strategy for John Howard’s Liberals snatched from the jaws of a poll-predicted defeat, bought however at the price of xenophobic inhumanity towards human beings yearning only to breathe free—an inhumanity that Tony Abbott’s Liberal Party hopes to rekindle in its favour this election with frankly disgusting ads trumpeting the red arrows of invading armies over the unashamedly bigoted slogan “Stop Illegals Now!” [You can get an online glimpse here.]

The Australian Liberal party’s plunge into electorally-led xenophobia has just lost it the membership of a former Prime Minister. After nearly forty years, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has finally stood by the principles he once claimed to have, and publicly resigned from the party.

_quote FIVE years ago, Malcolm Fraser delivered his most scathing critique of the party he led to three federal election victories, and confessed that he had thought seriously about quitting after half a century of membership.
    Under John Howard, he said, it had become a party of ‘fear and reaction,’ conservative not liberal, and willing to play the race card and discriminate against asylum seekers.
    “The reason he didn't quit then was the signal it would send to small-l liberals in the party ‘who seek to keep a liberal flame alive.’
   “Instead, he used a speech at Melbourne University to ''urge all of those who are concerned by events to take part in public life, in the affairs of the party, to seek change and secure liberty.''
    “…Party sources say Mr Abbott's hard line on asylum seekers, reflected in a recent TV ad featuring red arrows representing the movement of boats from Indonesia, strengthened Mr Fraser's resolve… Petro Georgiou, who was an adviser to Mr Fraser and a state campaign director before becoming a Liberal MP, said the departure ‘should be viewed as the action of a man who takes his convictions very seriously.’”

Fraser himself was a Prime Minister who promised much and achieved little—“a mirage” Australian freedom fighter Ron Manners called Fraser in his latest book.  Claiming at one point to be an admirer of Ayn Rand (Fraser once dined with her in Gerald Ford’s 1976 White House) he now, in his retirement, has finally done the one principled thing that his admiration would once have suggested we should have seen more of.

UPDATEThis interview last year with Malcolm Fraser helps clarify the few brief comments he’s making now.

_quoteThirty years ago, [the Fraser] government made headlines with an immigration controversy that resonates with contemporary events. Malcolm Fraser’s government accepted around 100,000 Indochinese refugees into Australia after the Vietnam War, many coming by boat – a similar trip to that made by those featured in the headlines today. As a new Labor government attempts to roll back some of the controversial policies instituted by the Howard Government, Malcolm Fraser has publicly broken with his Liberal successors and criticised the treatment of asylum seekers by recent governments as a violation of human rights...
    “At the end of 2001, the events of the Tampa and the Children Overboard affair marked a watershed moment in Australian politics. Although mandatory detention was instigated by a Labor government in 1992, Mr Fraser is forthright in his view that it was the Coalition, under John Howard, which made asylum seekers a political issue. ‘The Howard government was behind in the polls preceding the Tampa election, so I think the political motivations were pretty strong. But in that government there was a strong area of belief also that what they were doing was right, because they didn’t want to understand… I don’t think for a minute that what they were doing was right. What they were doing was evil.’
    “…Mr Fraser believes that xenophobia in the face of immigration is harmful, and maintains that more is required for the effective integration of migrants into Australian society. ‘While there are unique things about Australia, the values we need for a peaceful and just society are similar no matter what country you are in,’ he states. ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s a poor country or a wealthy country. If you want decent conditions for your family, education and food, a chance to give your kids a better life than you had, then the values involved in all that are international.’”

A Leighton listener is having a hard week

A regular reader is missing her daily Leighton Smith fix, and ready to tear her hair out at his replacement.  She sent me this.

_quote O-M-G.  Quel Horreur! I’ve got an affliction !  Day 3 and I am beside myself – don’t know if I can get past day 5 without getting into some self harm (like puncturing my eardrums),  What bloody stupid sod at NewstalkZB decided that an acceptable (never mind remotely suitable) replacement for Leighton Smith was Paul Holmes. 
    “I’ve come to the conclusion that he has completely lost it – if he ever had it.  The most brainless (or should that be braindead) waste of space I have never listened to. 
    “Monday I managed 3 sentences before I had to turn off; Tuesday I only handled ‘Good morning’; this morning just the music almost made me smash the radio, especially when I discovered a comedian round here had glued the on/off switch. 
    “Please tell me it’s only for this week.  Do you think the PTB at NewstalkZB are aware that 99.99% recurring actually turn off their radios every morning – the twerp is talking to nobody !  Even that blonde tart would have been better and I can’t stand her either. I’m trying to decide whether to wear earplugs for the rest of the week or just lock myself in a padded room without sharp objects in fear that just the sound of Paul Holmes’s’ voice will send me off again.

Robie House restoration project wins award!


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, whose “digital” dining room is pictured above, has just won an award for the creators of its digital restoration.

_quote The digital restoration of Wright’s Robie House, created by zünpartners, received the Webby Award for Cultural Institutions. The recreation of Robie House’s interior spaces allows visitors to explore the home as envisioned by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1910, the year construction was completed. The Web site is designed to engage visitors in the restoration process help encourage donations required for its completion and provide an interactive educational demonstrations…
    “The most dramatic effect is the restoration of Wright's lighting scheme. Reproduction period light bulbs were sampled for an accurate color and glow. Special attention was given to recreate the pattern of the grill which serves as a light screen on top of the sconces which, when lit, illuminate the adjacent wall. The composition of different fixtures and lights is a wholly unique Robie House experience.
The Robie House sparked a revolution in residential architecture whose influence still reverberates today. Designated by the American Institute of Architects as one of the 10 most significant structures of the 20th century, this American treasure is celebrated as one of Chicago’s most important works of art. Robie House, more than any other structure, demonstrated Wright’s genius and brought him acclaim from both the United States and abroad. In its precision-like arrangement, the home continues to be recognized as one of the most important buildings of the 20th century, a building that propelled the modernist movement in architecture.
View the award-winning digital restoration at: http://www.gowright.org/robie/

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: No PIIGS please, we’re British [updated]

_richardmcgrath Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories on issues affecting our freedom.

This week: Examining the Cameron-Clegg austerity package:

I think it’s worth watching how the new Conservative-Lib Dem government in Britain handle the crisis left to it by Gorgon Brown’s grasping and totally corrupt Labour administration. In the past 24 hours, the Queen delivered the new government’s plans on what it plans to do about the debt and productivity crises that threaten to consign the United Kingdom to the naughty corner along with Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, i.e., the PIIGS.  [UPDATE: “The worst deficit on the east side of the Atlantic is not in Greece. It's in England. And the worst household debt is not in Spain; it's in England too…”]

The Daily Telegraph for one examined the details of the Queen’s Speech point by point. I believe these bear examination, and if David Cameron can follow through with some of them Britain will be a lot better off. Already the new PM has put a stop to most of the chauffer-driven cars and luxury train travel for the 650 House of Commons trough-dwellers.

Points with which I can mostly agree (my comments in italics):

  • A 'significant acceleration' in the reduction of the UK's state deficit, delivered mainly by cutting spending rather than increasing tax.
  • Abolition of ID cards and National Identity Register.
    A victory for privacy rights.
  • Reversal of the bulk of the former Labour administration's planned rise in employers' National Insurance contributions.
    That makes it easier to employ people.
  • Referendums on any future EU treaty.
    Not sure if that’s the correct plural form of referendum [no, it ain’t – Ed.] , but if that aids the disintegration of the EU, the demise of the euro and the return of the gold standard, it’s got to be good.
  • A review which could bring forward the date when the state pension age increases to 66.
    That will give people incentives to make provision for their own retirement. Never mind a “review,” however: Retirement age should be ratcheted up steadily so that pensions are essentially privatised.
  • A 'significant increase' in personal allowances for income tax in next month's Budget, with a long-term goal of taking the first £10,000 out of tax.
    As long as it results in less tax overall. Note Libz want to first $50k of income left in the hands of those New Zealanders who earned it. 
  • Full strategic defence and security review.
    Necessary with every change of government, but worrisome with the pacifist Lib-Dems involved.
  • Maintenance of Britain's nuclear deterrent, with continued scrutiny to ensure that the renewal of Trident is value for money.
    Yes, the nuclear deterrent is a proven peacekeeper.
  • New restrictions on the authorities' use of CCTV cameras and DNA data and a ban on the storage of internet and email records without good reason.
    Bravo – I assume this applies to state surveillance and record keeping. Ideally, there should be no snooping into people’s e-mail and internet records.
  • Directly-elected individuals to hold the police to account. Yes, the police have to be accountable and their powers strictly limited.
  • Redrawing parliamentary constituency maps to reduce numbers of MPs and make seats a similar size.
    Yes. Reduce the size of the trough and the number of entities who frequent it.
  • Power for voters to 'recall' errant MPs with a petition signed by 10% of electors in a constituency.
    That’s good – keep the bastards terrified of stepping out of line by the constant reminder they are servants of the people, not the other way around.
  • Establishment of an independent Office of Budget Responsibility, taking the power to set economic forecasts out of the hands of politicians; and an Office of Tax Simplification, to suggest reforms to the tax system.
    There should be a requirement to run budget surpluses and to simplify taxation before phasing it out.
  • Simplification of benefits system to improve the incentive to work.
    I’d suggest the ultimate simplification--abolition.
  • Plans to reduce and simplify corporation tax rates over five years.
  • Creation of a Public Health Service to encourage people to take greater responsibility for their own health.
    As long as this reduces the overall size of the NHS.
  • Independent commission on how to fund long-term care for the elderly and disabled.
    Yes, as long as the long-term emphasis is on privatisation and devolution.
  • Relaxation of health and safely laws to allow 'commonsense policing.’
    Yes, put an end to the PC nonsense that is taking all the fun out of life for children.
  • Measures to allow social enterprises, charities and co-operatives a greater role in public service provision.
    Yes, the state could delegate most of its functions to the private sector.
  • A cut in the number of quangos and cost of bureaucracy.
    Absolutely. A savage cut.
  • Devolution of powers over planning and housing to local councils and communities, scrapping the Infrastructure Planning Commission.
    Less central planning = good. More local “planning” = not so good.
  • New rights for communities to take over state-run services.
    Hopefully this means recognition of old rights, and individuals (or voluntary co-operatives) taking over state-run services, but I fear this is simply a foreshadowing of Cameron’s  promised “citizen committees.”
  • Requirement for public bodies to publish salaries and expenses of senior officials online.
    Quantify just how much these parasites take from the British taxpayer.
  • Residents' referendums on local issues - including the power to veto excessive council tax rises.
    Including the power to veto any tax rises, and right to opt out of receiving council services where possible.
  • Abolition of Home Information Packs.
    Not sure what these were, but sound very Nanny Statish. [Yes, they were - Ed.]
  • Restoration of rights to non-violent protest.
    Whoever removed these rights (Gorgon?) should be broken on the wheel.
  • Commitment to work towards an 'ambitious' global climate change deal.
    This is far too important to be supervised by anyone except Viscount Monckton of Brenchley.
  • Continued commitment to working with the Afghan government to deliver lasting security and stability in the country.
    That may include a troop withdrawal and encouraging free trade with the people of Afghanistan. [But not before the obliteration of the Taliban – Ed.]
  • Commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, particularly in relation to Iran's suspected weapons programme.
    Best if we keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of theocracies.  And best we seek specifics as to how that is being done.
  • Aid spending to reach 0.7% of national income by 2013.
    By keeping charity voluntary. Stop all foreign aid from state coffers.
  • Enhanced measures to freeze terrorist assets.
    And freeze the terrorists themselves: imprison them in Antarctica.
  • A pledge to support 'market-led' investment in high-speed broadband.
    Which will happen when the state and the economy are separated.
  • Opportunity for more schools to take up academy status.
    If this means cutting state funding and setting them free from party political influence.
  • Independent commission on how to fund long-term care for the elderly and disabled.
    Just as long as free-market solutions are seriously considered.

Stuff I’m not so keen on:

  • · Legislation for fixed-term five-year parliaments, with a requirement for 55% Commons support to seek an earlier dissolution.
    Not sure how this differs from the status quo. I thought a no-confidence vote was enough to roll the gummint currently. [At present, the govt can call an election any time within that five-year period they see a bolter’s chance of maintaining or enhancing their majority – Ed.]
  • Annual limit 'in the tens of thousands' on non-EU migrants allowed to live and work in the UK.
    As long as it’s made clear they have no claim on the welfare system and must make provision for their own needs, I say “let them come.”
  • Creation of new Border Police Force.
    Depends what the function of this force is – if its aim is to uphold individual rights, I’d be for it.  But we know it won’t be.
  • Transfer of City supervision powers to the Bank of England.
    The BoE should be abolished, and all private banks allowed to print their own money—just as they did in Scotland over a hundred-years ago.
  • Proposals by the end of this year for a 'wholly or mainly elected' Upper House of Parliament elected by proportional representation.
    I see nothing wrong with hereditary peers, the proposed change is just a replication of the Commons. There should be a limitation of the politically appointed peers that were endemic under Blair and Brown. Non-political peers would be vastly preferable to party hacks. But the most important change would be to make the Lords’ veto power immune from being overruled.
  • Restoration of pensions link to earnings in April 2011.
    Pensions should be privatised.
  • Capital gains tax on non-business assets to be imposed at rates close to income tax.
    No, no no!
  • Support for the development of a high-speed rail network. Not if it’s state-funded, which sounds like what’s on the table.
  • Part-privatisation of the Royal Mail, while retaining the network of post offices in public ownership.
    Just sell them off - lock, stock and barrel.
  • Moves to give NHS clinicians more power over care provision and to enable patients to share in decisions over their treatment.
    No. The whole system is rotten and this sacred cow must be slaughtered. Partition off the hospital system and sell (or give away) the lot.
  • Stronger powers for police and councils to remove licences from problem pubs and clubs.
    Well, only if the owners of the clubs are convicted of real crimes.
  • National programme of domestic energy efficiency measures, along with plans for a possible ''smart grid'' and Green Investment Bank.
    I thought you were rolling back the Nanny State, Dave.  “Wind turbines for all!”?
  • Promise to pursue agreement on party funding reform 'to remove big money from politics'.
    No, let anyone fund political parties to any degree. It’s part of freedom of speech and expression, and right to spend your money in any way you choose.  If you don’t want legislators bought and sold, then remove the power of legislators over buying and selling.
  • Extension of the right [sic] to request flexible working.
    A bogus right; why not just let employers and employees come to an agreement themselves without gummint interference?

I will be interested to see how vigorously the Cameron administration pursue some of their loftier goals. But there are some quite specific plans here, which could hugely benefit the people of the United Kingdom.

Can David Cameron put the ‘Great’ back in Great Britain? Time will tell. But if he seriously sets about the first lot of measures mentioned above, he might at least keep it out of the knacker’s yard with the PIIGS.

“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the government
fear the people, there is liberty.”
- Thomas Jefferson