31 March 2011

Climate catastrophist logical fallacies

Inspired by this unconsciously hilarious report in the Guardian about unexpectedly cold weather causing an increase in greenhouse gas ejaculations emissions because people selfishly wished to stay warm, I thought I'd run through the offences against logic commonly committed by the climate catastrophists. I doubt if the list is definitive!
  • Ad hominem: seeking to discredit an argument by attacking an opponent's character (or funding!)
  • Affirming a disjunct: A or B; A therefore not B
  • Affirming the consequent: if A then B; if B therefore A
  • Appeal to authority: a statement is correct because it is made by a person or persons regarded as authoritative
  • Appeal to probability: because something could happen, it will happen
  • Argument from ignorance: something is true because it has not been proved to be false
  • Argument from repetition: something discussed so often that it does not need further discussion
  • Argumentum ad populum: because many people believe something to be true, it must be true
  • Argumentum verbosium: an argument too complex or verbose to make it possible to deal with all its details
  • Bare assertion: an argument is assumed to be true because it says it is true
  • Base rate: to make a probability judgment without taking into account empirical statistics about the probability
  • Causal oversimplification: attributing a phenomenon to one cause when there are many
  • Cherry picking evidence
  • Circular causation: where the result of something is asserted to be its cause (carbon dioxide)
  • Cum hoc ergo propter hoc: correlation between two factors does not imply one causes the other
  • Demanding negative proof: avoiding the burden of proof by demanding proof of the contrary
  • Denying the antecedent: if A then B; if not A therefore not B
  • Equivocation: use of terms with more than one meaning without specifying which meaning is intended
  • False analogy
  • False attribution: appeal to false, fabricated, biased or irrelevant evidence
  • False dichotomy: where two alternatives are declared to be the only possible options when there are more
  • Jumping to a conclusion
  • Moving the goalposts: changing the terms of the argument ("global warming" becoming "climate change")
  • Negative proof: because a premise cannot be proved to be wrong, therefore it must be right
  • Over-dramatization
  • Over-simplification
  • Petitio principii: where the conclusion of an argument is assumed in one or more of its premises.
  • Post hoc ergo propter hoc: B follows A, therefore A causes B
  • Reductio ad absurdam (a.k.a. slippery slope): seeking to deny that A is beneficial because A x 1000 is harmful
  • Regression fallacy: ascribes cause where none exists
  • Reification: when an abstraction or hypothesis is regarded as having a concrete existence
  • Special pleading
  • Suppressed correlative: redefining incompatible premises so that one encompasses the other

Risum teneatis, amici?

EU Observer reports, apparently straight-faced, that the European Commission wants to create a new EU internal security body on the model of Catherine Ashton's European External Action Service (EEAS), which has been such a brilliant success at creating new jobs for eurocrats.
Speaking at a European Parliament hearing in Brussels on 30 March, Commission counter-terrorism director Olivier Luyckx [a distant relative of Asterix?] envisaged a new entity that would pull together existing security agencies Cepol, Cosi [fan tutti?], Eurojust, Europol and Frontex under EU counter-terrorism co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove [it up your jumper].

"There is new room for action at EU level," said Kerchove. "This is how I see the change: to set up a system that would mirror the one that is being set up for monitoring external crises, a one-stop shop for information-sharing."
Friends, can you indeed hold back your laughter? It'll happen, of course. More parasites - it's what the EU is all about.

The cost of Blair's failed bid to become EU President

The Telegraph reports figures from the Office of National Statistics that show the Euro-denominated British contribution to the parasitic kleptocracy in Brussels increased from £5.3billion in 2009 to £9.2 billion last year. On top of that the pound has devalued against the Euro, and the UK Treasury has also had to support bail-outs for Ireland and Greece in support of the Euro.

Stephen Booth of Open Europe said: "We’re now starting to see the full effect of Tony Blair’s 2005 decision to give up a huge chunk of the British rebate. As a consequence, British taxpayers’ contributions to the EU have escalated dramatically and are expected to go on rising. At a time when the Government is trying to cut national spending, it makes no sense to increase our contributions to a bloated EU budget that is in desperate need of reform".

Add in the legal bonanza created by the British Human Rights Act, which gold-plated the 1950 European Human Rights Convention for the benefit of human rights hustlers Matrix Chambers and its leading star Cherie Blair, QC, and the cost of EuroBlairdom is getting on for being greater even than his more successful effort to win a pay-off from the Americans by joining in the attack on Iraq. 

To cap it all, our current Prime Prat fancies himself the "Heir of Blair". We're doomed, I tell you, doomed.

P.S. Whoa! Soothscribe Richard North pounds "Tory Boy" Booth in this post, citing EC figures to come up with gross figures of €11.42 billion for 2009, €12.92 billion for 2010 and €13.13 billion in 2011- respectively £10.04 billion, £11.36 billion and £11.54 billion at the current exchange rate.
The fact that the current gross contribution is increasing roughly in line with the general increase in the EU budget is a testament both to the need for the [Blair agreed] adjustment and its success. It is one that, had the Tories headed the administration, they would have agreed as well [?]. As it stands the UK correction [rebate] in the 2010 budget still amounts to around €4.0 billion. The real issue, therefore, is not the rebate, but the fact that we are making payments of £11.54 billion to the EU. This is happening under the current administration, led by the Tories.
I don't know what to make of that, other than to humbly suggest that it resembles the spirited debate alleged to have taken place among 19th century clerics about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. Of course the Tories will seek to blame Labour - it's called adversarial politics, and anyway the EU is their and the Coalition's third rail. Surely any contribution, no matter from what source, that attacks the alleged economic benefits of belonging to the EU should be welcome?

Victor Davis Hanson - Soothscribe

I've held VDH in high regard for a long time, ever since reading The Western Way of War back in 1989. His elevation to the ranks of the Soothscribes Emeritus Causa owes more to the lucidity of his reasoning and the clarity of his exposition than to my agreement with his neo-con POV.

For those not acquainted with his work, "Obama's Amazing Achievements" on NRO is a good introduction. It is also a biting review of the amoral hypocrisy of American leftists, all of whose allegedly lofty principles, as enunciated in their frenzied attacks on the Bush administration, have been abandoned in the face of exactly the same acts or worse when committed by The One.

30 March 2011

Moussa Koussa, asylum seeker

Moussa Koussa, Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs since March 2009, has sought asylum in Britain. A life-long acolyte of Colonel Daffy, the thesis he submitted for his 1978 sociology degree at the University of Michigan was a fawning biography of the Raïs.

From 1979 to 1980 he was i/c security for Libyan embassies in north Europe, during which time half-a-dozen exiled opponents of the Daffy regime were assassinated.

Appointed ambassador to the Court of St James in 1980, he was expelled later that year for stating that he considered his duties to involve eliminating Libyan dissidents living in the UK. For many years he was denied entry to the USA.

He was later a named suspect in the attempted assassination of Sultan ben Abdelaziz Al Saoud of Saudi Arabia.

All that changed when, as head of Libyan intelligence 1994-2009, he became the key figure in the abandonment of Libya's nuclear weapons development in return for the normalization of relations with the USA and UK. A further quid pro quo was Libyan support for the "war on terror", and payment of compensation for the victims of explosives and weapons supplied to the IRA.

So - does he merit asylum as Dr Jekyl, or to be put on trial as Mr Hyde? I'm willing to bet it depends on how many beans he can spill about the secret deals made during the "normalization". Also about the dirty deal for the release on "humanitarian" grounds of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the convicted Lockerbie bomber.

Tricky one. It will be fun watching the Boy Wonder and the Hagueon squirm.

It IS cricket, old chap

Maybe it's just me, but a lot of news today is making me laugh out loud. Here's an unconsciously hilarious report from po-faced KCOC-S Oborne about what it's like to play for countries that take their sport seriously.
If history is anything to go by, today’s losers will face professional disgrace and social ostracism. They will not be able to return to their homes for fear of physical attack. Some may receive obscene phone calls in the night, as Pakistani skipper Wasim Akram did after his country’s quarter-final defeat to India in 1996. His home was stoned, his effigy burnt in the street, and he required a police escort to go outside.

The winners, by contrast, will bask in national adulation. Indeed, a flavour of the kind of rewards that lie ahead came yesterday with the announcement from Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister of the Punjab, that each member of the Pakistani national side will receive some 25 acres of fertile land
[and a cow?] as a prize for beating India.
But then he has to get sententious - it's what shows he's not a mere (sniff) sports journopuke:
Behind all this passion lurks a long, tragic and far too often brutal history. Scholars estimate that between one and three million people died in massacres when Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India were split at the time of independence from the British Empire in 1947.

Since then, there have been four bloody wars between these two proud and magnificent countries, as well as a number of smaller conflicts. To make this hostility yet more menacing, both countries are now armed with nuclear weapons, each aimed at the other. And Indian and Pakistani soldiers face one another uneasily across the lonely line of control in mountainous Kashmir, just a few hundred miles from where today’s massive sporting contest takes place.

The German military philosopher Clausewitz famously noted that war is a continuation of politics by other means.* The Indians and Pakistanis have taken the dictum one stage further: for them, cricket is another form of war.
* No he didn't, you pretentious, indolent twit. Check Google (extract edited for brevity):
"War is a mere continuation of politics by other means" was not intended as a statement of fact. It is the antithesis in a dialectical argument whose thesis is the point made earlier in the analysis that "war is nothing but a wrestling match on a larger scale". Clausewitz's synthesis says that war is neither one nor the other, but lies in his "fascinating trinity", a dynamic, inherently unstable interaction of the forces of violent emotion, chance, and rational calculation.

Farts to be taxed: it's about time

Methane is a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. So it comes as no surprise that the global warming scammers have turned their attention to taxing farmers who raise incontinently farting cows and sheep.

Of course one might consider not subsidizing them, but perish the thought. Think of all the EU and other bureaucrats who would lose their jobs 

Taxing ruminant farts will increase milk and food costs and bring nearer the day when millions of irresponsible human carbon dioxide producers cease breathing and return their carbon to Earth Mother Gaia.

The Bitchy Boys, whose verbal twee-ness gets more American every day, calls them "burps". Note the verbal sleight of hand by which they add ruminant farts to mankind's contribution to catastrophic global warming:
In New Zealand, livestock account for 90% of the nation's methane emissions, and about 43% of its greenhouse gases from human activities. In short, without coming up with a solution, it would struggle to meet its Kyoto Protocol targets.
In this the Bitchy Boys are following the lead of the UN Food and Agriculture Onanization (FAO), which last year proposed taxing animal "emissions" because when the entire food chain was taken into account the world's livestock accounted for about 9 percent of human-induced ["induced" - dontcha just love it?] carbon dioxide and 37 percent of methane emissions.

It follows, does it not, that Buffalo Bill and all the others who wiped out the biggest concentration of ruminants in the world by slaughtering the Great Plains bison are environmentalist heroes.

Two less Labour bastards

We should celebrate the news that the younger Millipede is to marry his main squeeze in May, thus legitimisng their two children.

29 March 2011

Blithering Brits

The Libyan farce simply underlines that the British state apparat cannot do anything right. The catalyst for ordering two large aircraft carriers - in the teeth of the RAF's determination that they should control all fixed wing aircraft and all except light helicopters - was the 1991-95 Bosnia/Serbia fuck-up.

Remember that? Remember "The hour of Euope has dawned", the immortal words of the exquisitely well-named Jacques Poos, pride of Luxembourg and President of the Council of Europe?

Anyway, after the Americans finally got tired of Europeans circle-jerking and bombed the crap out of Serbia, a few brave matelots in Whitehall broke with consensus and pointed out that if we'd had a proper flat-top it could have operated a wide range of British air assets from a few miles offshore, saving wear and tear on pilots and machines and generating a far greater sortie rate than land-based operations, without requiring the by-your-leave of any neighbouring countries or the enormous expense of setting up and defending bases on land.
My word, really? Gosh, and you say that 90 percent of the world population and even more of its wealth lies within easy reach of the coast? Who'd ever have thought it! And that if a couple of far away choke points are closed off by regimes hostile to us, the whole country will grind to a halt in a matter of weeks? Oh, don't say that, it's too awful to contemplate!
So after the Tory ditherers were kicked out in 1997 the new bunch came in and said "Let's have a Defence Review!" And they did. And it confirmed that British strategic vulnerabilities require aircraft carriers. Roll on another ten years of British bureaucratic buggering around and finally they were ordered.

So now, two decades since the hour of Europe revealed the need for them, not only does the Royal Navy not have the big carriers but the dynamic duo of Cameron and Fox have disposed of, or disarmed, the mini-carriers that had been holding the line for the last 40 years - because the RAF Tornados can do just as good a job until the Typhoons are equipped to take over.

Except that, once again, they have demonstrated that they can attempt to do so only by using up all available air-to-air refuelling assets and burning up the flying hours of their pilots so that they can't even sustain the pitiful sortie rate with which they began to Libyan intervention.

But depend on it - Cameron won't permit a reversal of the original decision. It takes a man to admit he was wrong, and he is a conceited boy playing at being a grown-up, so far out of his depth it almost makes you feel sorry for him.

But not nearly as sorry as I feel for the people whose present and future welfare he is supposed to be taking care of.

Adult abdication

Dear God. Read this Bitchy Boys story about how the Children's Commissar Commissioner for England thinks pupils should help choose teachers - and weep. Or vomit.

Longrider does a sufficient number on her imbecility.
Dr Atkinson said: "Young people are a school’s customers, and they see lots of different teaching styles over the course of a school career".

No, the parents are the school’s customers. And it is reasonable of them to expect the school to use competent adults when applying the recruitment and selection process for teaching staff. The idea that children are competent to know what is in their best interests is infantile in the extreme.
When adults abdicate, children are cut adrift. Some children step up to fill the void for their siblings in the domestic sphere, but they are exceptional and pay a high personal price. The vast majority are deprived of any kind of proper upbringing, and their only hope for some structure is at school.

In his brilliant 1993 book The Moral Sense, the American political thinker James Q. Wilson observes that young people in all cultures and every age need to test the limits of acceptable behaviour, and need those limits to be affirmed:
Testing limits is a way of asserting selfhood. Maintaining limits is a way of asserting community. If the limits are asserted weakly, uncertainly, or apologetically, their effects must surely be weaker than if they are asserted boldly, confidently, and persuasively.
How many more lives are to be blighted by the "progressive" concept that children are little adults born with a sense of what those limits are before some sense of shame at the toxic consequences creeps into the consciousness of the trendies?

28 March 2011

Farage on the Libyan intervention

Soothscribe Nigel Farage on YouTube telling it like it is, as usual.

You have to see it on RT (Russia Today) Moscow, although it might have been Al Jaz. But not a chance you'll ever see those views expressed on any Brit channel: they're too chicken-shit.

Hat-tip: Muffled Vociferation

Mandy and the Lloyds/HBOS merger

Lloyds Action Now (LAN), an association of shareholders set up to recover their losses as a result of the merger of Lloyds with Halifax Bank of Scotland, has uncovered the "something" that always smelled to high heaven about the deal.

Seems Mandy, then Business Secretary, withheld evidence that could have changed the outcome of a vital court case in the run up to the merger. The evidence submitted to a Competition Appeals Tribunal in the Autumn of 2008 and later the Scottish Court of Session failed to mention the trifling matter that HBOS had been secretly funded to the tune of £25.4 billion in Emergency Liquidity Assistance.

"The evidence submitted by Lord Mandleson was the subject of a secrecy order which means that no-one who was a party to the case can reveal what it contained", said Adrian Lithgow, spokesman for LAN. "That does not prevent them from saying what was not in the secret dossier, and our sources are adamant there was no mention of the £25.4 billion. The implications are astounding".

Well, the fact that Mandy might have lied falls a long way short of astounding. More astonishing is that the perpetrators public servants involved did not get a super injunction to prevent all mention of the matter, as they can uniquely in Britain, where freedom of speech has been abolished along with national sovereignty, habeas corpus and all those other silly things people used to believe were their inalienable heritage.

27 March 2011

Spin done well

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D Nebraska) learned from a very distant relative that their common ancestor, Senator Reid's great-great uncle Remus, had been hanged as a horse thief, the senator promptly replied with a tongue-in-cheek (oh sorry, I forgot - Americans don't do irony, do they?) demonstration of how even the most unpromising material can be - shall we say - presented in the most flattering light.

Here's the unpromising material on the back of the photograph:
Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1883, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.
Here's the spin:
Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.
Hat-tip genealogist Judy Wallman via Jill

Itch about oil

As the old clown Anthony Wedgewood Benn would no doubt be intoning from a platform in Trafalgar Square if someone could have summoned up the energy to organize a protest against the Libyan intervention.

And, this time and for once, he'd be right. The insurgents are now (one hopes) well disposed towards the Franco-Brits who The One is permitting to grab the limelight while the Americans fly most of the sorties.

And gosh, what a surprise; thanks to the generous interpretation of "no-fly" to include destroying decidedly earth-bound armoured vehicles, the insurgents are recovering all the oil refinery and exporting facilities along the eastern coast.

So, itch indeed about oil. But itch also, if only incidentally, about knocking over a crazy as a shithouse rat Arab dictator who is long overdue in hell - so who gives a damn?

Tornado and Brimstone: ethical tank-busting

As promised, videos of civilian-friendly warfare from the RAF.

Gotta admit the fly boys also produce the moodiest movies.

Can't be helped - the Army and the Navy will never be able to compete on the PR front.

26 March 2011

Sinking slowly into a corporativist bog

 This is what happens to you if you write for the Telegraph for fifty years.

Soothscribe Christopher Booker recalled that when he was interviewed in 1990 for the promotion to the job he has held down ever since - as a Sunday Telegraph columnist - he was asked how he saw Britain’s future. "Sinking slowly into a sub-Marxist fog" he replied. 

In 1992 he embarked on the campaign he has waged ever since against the erosion of historic British liberties and the suffocation of the very soul of the society by domestic and EU bureaucracy.

Today, after hundreds of thousands of state employees have demonstrated to DEMAND that the future be mortgaged further to pay them to live better than those whose taxes pay their wages, he summarizes all the ways in which the "savage cuts" the Coalition government has yet to make are a drop in the ocean next to the costs loaded on the British economy by the EU with the bleating acquiescence of successive British governments.

Oh, and the contemptible refusal of the malignant dwarf Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, to uphold the supremacy of elected representatives over bureaucrats even in a matter directly infringing their most sacred democratic prerogatives.

It must make it all seem so worthwhile.

The tablet brought down from Mount Statism

Tim Montgomerie on ConHome's "Left Watch" has this great image:

Quotes for today: Soothscribe Matt Ridley and Adam Smith on Crony Capitalism

Great post on Ridley's The Rational Optimist about nuclear power. Here's the hook on crony capitalism (a.k.a. corporativism, the organizing principle of the EU):
The problem with crony capitalism, whether in finance or energy or anything else [is that the] 'market' and 'capitalists' are not on the same side and against 'government'. No, its government and capitalists colluding against the market, which is on the side of the people. The 'financial market' proved to be no such thing; it was a casino for favoured clients run by central banks. The `energy market' is no such thing. It is a scheme run by governments for favoured clients in the nuclear, renewable and environmental-pressure group industries.
Adam Smith, the Daddy of free market economics (see this fine compilation) wrote:
The proposal of any new law or regulation which comes from [businessmen], ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.

25 March 2011

Contempt of Parliament

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative party government has lost a vote of no confidence tabled after a parliamentary committee found it in contempt of Parliament. The accusation was tendentious and was simply an excuse by the opposition parties to bring down the government, but the result is Canada's fourth election in seven years.

With any luck the gambit will rebound on the perpetrators, but the incident made me ponder on how low the British parliament has fallen. The main categories of Contempt of Parliament are:
  • deliberately misleading a House or one of its committees;
  • failing to testify or provide required documents to a House or one of its committees;
  • attempting to influence a Member of Parliament by bribery or threats.
Those first and last of these acts are committed so regularly by British governments as to consitute standard operating procedure. If the Members of Parliament lack the collective pride to demand respect from the executive, they should not be surprised that the people they are supposed to represent holds them all in contempt. 

On the perils of making lofty moral judgments in international affairs

US bloggers have been linking to The One's forthright views on presidents' war-making powers in an interview with the Boston Globe in December 2007.
Question: In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites -- a situation that does not involve stopping an imminent threat?)

Answer: The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.
Then there's this TV interview with Vice-President Joe Biden, also in 2007.
I was chairman of the Judiciary Committee for seventeen years or its ranking member. I teach separation of powers in Constitutional Law. This is something I know. So I got together and brought a group of Constitutional scholars together to write a piece that I’m going to deliver to the whole Unites States Senate pointing out the President has no Constitutional authority to take this nation to war [against Iran] unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked. And if he does, I would move to impeach him. The House obviously has to do that, but I would lead an effort to impeach him. I don’t say it lightly.

Tomahawk vs. Storm Shadow Part 3

The Reg holds forth on the subject today at great length, extensive to the whole triforce imbecility.

Subsequent to my first post on this subject, I learned that the RN is buying newer model replacement Tomahawks at about £662,000 each. Hmmm. The price I gave was for the older, less capable model.

I think it's fair to use the sunk cost of the missiles actually employed, as presumably they would have been scrapped when the new ones arrived. Waste not, want not.

The Libyan intervention: a hypothesis

So, you may be asking yourselves, WTF? Indeed, in the light of past experiences in Iraq and the current migraine of Afghanistan, WTFF? I propose the following, which - a first for Ockham's Razor - may err on the side of attributing long-term intelligent cunning to officials. The only reason I am persuaded it may be the case is because the French are involved and the Enarques are good at this sort of thing:
  • Since the Franco-British Saint-Malo Agreement in December 1998, the only two European powers with the capability, the experience and the will to mount military interventions overseas have been looking for ways to harmonize their armed forces with an eye to joint operations.
  • Although the EADS (Airbus) A400M debacle is one of the fruits of the new Entente Cordiale (which predates Saint-Malo), the more recent manifestation was the British decision to go ahead with building the French-designed CVF aircraft carriers without making provision for the aircraft that will fly off them and with the proviso that only one of them will be used by the Royal Navy.
  • The deal seems to be that the aircraft carriers will be equipped with the French Rafale M, and that the French will operate the other carrier, something they need to do because the Charles De Gaulle is an embarrassing lemon. The Rafale for CVF trade-off may even be an outright quid pro quo.
  • What the Entente Cordialers have needed is a conflict where French and British interests are sufficiently aligned to demonstrate that the whole is stronger than the parts. Libya fits the bill in spades.
  • Both governments have shamelessly fellated Colonel Daffy in order to win privileged contracts for their respective oil companies. Those contracts (and commercial and diplomatic relations generally) are in the balance. Both Paris and London came off the fence early and have been very, very anxious to establish good relations with whoever takes over from Daffy.  
  • Bombing the crap out of Daffy's Praetorian Guard is likely to win largish brownie points with the successor regime, meanwhile Special Forces are on the ground to try to make sure the winners are not the Islamofascists.
Then there is a sub-hypothesis that it is very much in the US interest that the Franco-Brits should at least assume the role of world policeman in their own back yard, which would explain why The One took a back seat in the negotiations leading up to the UN Resolution while preparing to take out Daffy's air defences so that the Yurrupeans could then go in and do the dirty work.

As I said at the beginning, I feel almost apologetic for suggesting that there has been joined-up thinking in this matter, but contrary to my natural inclination I think there may have been.

Is liberal imperialism OK if the French do it?

EU Observer reports that yesterday French Pres Nicolas Sarkozy told the press in Brussels that UN Security Council resolution 1973 authorising air strikes on Libya has created a new international "responsibility to protect."

Wow. Asked about the situation in Syria, he replied: 
Every ruler should understand, and especially every Arab ruler should understand that the reaction of the international community and of Europe will from this moment on each time be the same: we will be on the side of peaceful protesters who must not be repressed with violence.

In any democracy there can be demonstrations which can turn violent. But no democracy can accept that the army shoots live ammunition at protesters. This is the position of France and it does not change no matter what the country concerned.
Wow again. He rounded it off by saying that Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbago was next on the list of rulers whose armed forces need to be punished.

Leaving aside the pros and cons of the issue, can you even begin to imagine what the Bitchy Boys and the like would be ejaculating about this if either The One or the Boy Wonder had expressed these sentiments?

P.S. In Syria, Basher-al-Assad's Praetorian Guard has massacred protestors. That's A LOT of machine-gunfire. Now - about that "responsibility to protect" . . .

Quotes for today: Ulysses Grant and Edmund Burke

When people are oppressed by their government, it is a natural right they enjoy to relieve themselves of the oppression, if they are strong enough, either by withdrawal from it, or by overthrowing it and substituting a government more acceptable.
Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), 18th US President
We are certainly strong enough. We may even be angry enough, in an inchoate way. But Grant failed to mention the essential ingredient: courage.

The Anglo-Irish statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) described two ways that courage might be undermined:
No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its power of acting and reasoning as fear.
All who have ever written on government are unanimous, that among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist.

23 March 2011

Tomahawk vs. Storm Shadow Part 2

Further to my last, here's another comparison that makes you wonder WTF the Storm Shadow was ever ordered.

Tornado GR4
Combat range with 2 external tanks and 2 Storm Shadow: 972 km
Range of Storm Shadow: 250 km
Combined combat range Tornado/Storm Shadow without air-to-air refuelling: 1,222 km


Range: 2,500 km

Since entire coast of Libya is within 2,500 km of London, a sub sitting in the Thames could have done the same job as the Tornados and their refuelling tankers, more accurately and at a fraction of the cost.

22 March 2011

Quote for today: Stanislav Andreski

How can the truth prevail? The answer (which gives some ground for hope) is that people interested in ideas, and prepared to think them through and express them regardless of personal disadvantage, have always been few; and if knowledge could not advance without a majority on the right side, there would never have been any progress at all – because it has always been easier to get into the limelight, as well as to make money, by charlatanry, doctrinarism, sycophancy and soothing or stirring oratory than by logical and fearless thinking. No, the reason why human understanding has been able to advance in the past, and may do so in the future, is that true insights are cumulative and retain their value regardless of what happens to their discoverers; while fads and stunts may bring an immediate profit to the impresarios, but lead nowhere in the long run, cancel each other out, and are dropped as soon as their promoters are no longer there (or have lost the power) to direct the show. Anyway, let us not despair.
Stanislav Andreski, Social Science as Sorcery, London 1972

The Tax Wedge: one for the archive

I started this blog to keep a - well - log of thoughts and my reactions to events with an eye to eliminating hindsight bias from a future book-length publication. For that reason sometimes I simply link to a particularly good article with a brief summary to remind me why I did it. A prime example is "The Tax Wedge" on today's ASI, a really useful bit of analysis of what exactly we mean when we refer to a tax on labour.
  • Someone with a salary of £25,000 will cost their employer £27,474. The employee will only receive £19,362 of that.                30 percent of the total cost of employing them goes directly to the government.
  • Someone with a salary of £50,000 will cost their employer £55,924. The employee will only receive £35,611 of that.                36 percent of the total cost of employing them goes directly to the government.
  • Someone with a salary of £75,000 will cost their employer £84,374. The employee will only receive £50,111 of that.                41 percent of the total cost of employing them goes directly to the government.
  • Someone with a salary of £100,000 will cost their employer £112,824. The employee will only receive £64,611 of that.               48 percent of the total cost of employing them goes directly to the government.
QED. Furthermore, the money removed from the wallets of those who earn it goes to pay for a host of parasites and parasitic "investment" that contribute nothing to productivity or general welfare.

Crow: Rowan Williams off the arseholes list

My thanks to Archbishop Cranmer for drawing my attention to this speech by the self-styled 'hairy lefty' Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, at King's College, London. Crow-eating time.

The man's an academic theologian - shouldn't have judged him on second-hand soundbites, they are not his thing. The speech contains much serious thought and so, as Cranmer says, the MSM has not and will not report it because even religious affairs journopukes lack the intellectual capacity to process it into something they can use.

The following seems pretty unequivocal and if the Boy Wonder can acquire some humility might help him sell his Big New Idea by recognizing, first, that there is nothing new about it at all, and, secondly, that wise politicians respect the barrier that separates their sphere of activity from those of private conscience and genuinely voluntary association:

I intend in this address to reflect a little on the implications of our current discussions around the 'Big Society'. My hope is to suggest ways in which it can be a vehicle for serious rethinking of our national and international priorities at a time when some of our conventional pictures of left and right in politics are under question. This certainly doesn't mean that we should see it as a sort of halfway house between different sets of principles. I believe that the possibilities are more radical than that, involving the development of a new set of principles – or perhaps, as I shall also be suggesting, not so new after all. A politics, national and international, of local co-operation and 'mutualism', rooted in a sense of political virtue and appealing to human empathy – this is, as far as I can see, a large part of what my religious faith has always looked towards. That faith will be shared by some but not all in this audience; I hope that what I say will have some resonance with those who do not begin where I begin, and may even suggest that there is some significant intellectual and moral capital to be discovered in the world of theology as we seek for ways forward for a society currently facing the likelihood of pretty high levels of anxiety and disorientation.

SDSR redux: Tomahawk vs. Storm Shadow

The Save the RAF at any Cost Review (SRCR) overseen by the Boy Wonder and his hapless Defence Secretary Lame Fox has encountered reality, and - guess what? - reality has won.

The (imbecile on its face) decision to proceed with aircraftless carriers while destroying the capability to operate from them by axing existing carriers and all Harriers, was based on false RAF allegations that the Tornado could provide air cover for the fleet world-wide and that it must be kept in service to provide ground support in Afghanistan.

In fact the ONLY thing Tornado can do that Harrier cannot is to carry and launch the Storm Shadow cruise missile - which is the reason the missile was developed in the first place. Operations against Colonel Daffy in Libya have starkly contrasted the prompt and accurate response of Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from warships and the delayed and inaccurate performance of Storm Shadow.

Storm Shadow costs about £1.1 million a pop, to which one must add the per hour operating cost of £33,000 per Tornado carrying two of them plus the operating cost of air-to-air refueling tankers, and we're looking at about £1.5 million per missile fired.

Tomahawks cost £305,000 per, and the nuclear subs that launch it add no additional costs since operating expenses are the same whether they are on patrol or not. The Tomahawk also has a longer range, which leaves Tornado quivering on the very thin ice of close air support for ground troops, a task that even the RAF cannot argue would not be better performed by Harriers.

There is a certain grim satisfaction in recalling the fate of the 1981 Nott defence review based on much the same false RAF claims and abandoned after the Falklands War demonstrated the indispensable capability afforded by Harrier-equipped aircraft carriers. 

Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Defunding the Labourpuke payroll vote: why only now?

Eric 'Humpty Dumpty' Pickles has told a CBI meeting that he intends to scrap the Local Authority Two Tier Code, the second most blatant attempt (after the Equality Act) by the Blair-Brown regime to shackle its successor.

Employers would no longer be required to offer employment to new recruits on terms and conditions "no less favourable" than those of transferred state sector employees. "This is bonkers", said Pickles, "it increases the costs to the taxpayer of providing public services, and it actively discourages the creation of new jobs".

Dave Prentis, boss of the state employee trade union Unison, said: "Eric Pickles is getting rid of vital protection for mainly low-paid, women workers - particularly cleaners, home carers, and catering workers. Private firms taking over public contracts will now be free to start a race to the bottom on pay and terms and conditions, in these already low-wage occupations".

Both these statements are true. The issue is between the interests of Prentis's dues-payers and those of the general public.

The Coalition partners never had anything to lose by defunding the Labour party's disgustingly bloated payroll vote. Why the hell are they only getting serious about doing so a year after taking power?

US investors dumping US Treasury bonds

Jim Lacey reports in NRO that the biggest fund managers have joined a general trend out of US bonds.
The wisest and most successful bond investor of all time, Bill Gross, has dumped his bond fund’s $150 billion investment in U.S. bonds. One should not ignore the importance of this event. The largest bond fund in America no longer believes that Treasury bonds are a good investment. Moreover, Gross is not alone. . . Virtually everywhere you look, from great investors such as Warren Buffett to insurance companies such as Allstate, everyone is dumping their long-term U.S. debt and either buying debt that matures in less than a year or moving their money elsewhere.
Lacey writes that the "old reliables" - China, Japan, and OPEC - are still in the market for 30 percent of all new debt, but the rest is being bought by the Federal Reserve. "For the first time ever, Americans are refusing to purchase their own country’s debt" - at current bond yield rates. 

By printing new money to buy debt, the Fed is both holding interest rates artificially low and flooding the world with dollars. Fed purchases have lowered rates to the point where there is no room for further decreases. With no more upside potential to holding debt, investors are fleeing on the assumption that the Fed will soon exit the market, causing rates to rise dramatically. Such a rate rise lowers the value of all current U.S. debt: Who will pay $1,000 for a bond paying 3 percent when she can get one paying 5 percent? Anyone who wants to sell a $1,000 bond they already own is therefore forced to lower the price if they wish to attract buyers. No one holding any of the almost $10 trillion in U.S. public debt is getting much sleep these days.

Lacey figures the crunch will come as soon as June, when the Fed either has to stop pumping money into the system and submit the domestic economy to the cold turkey of increased interest rates across the board, or else continue to flood the world with dollars, driving down the value of the currency, raising the cost of commodities and fueling world inflation.

He thinks that once inflation takes hold in the US, the Fed will have to turn off the pump anyway, so the bullet is best bitten now. I'm not so sure: I would be surprised if the Obama administration is not "doing a Gordon Brown" in the expectation of losing the next election, and leaving its successor the whole mess and the unrest and unpopularity that will come with having to clean it up.  

20 March 2011

Radiation doses

Here'a a comparison of how much radiation we can get from various sources. A Sievert (Sv) is a measure of radiation exposure named after Rolf Maximilian of that Ilk.

Note that it takes 1000 micro-Sv () to equal one milli-Sv (mSv). Click on the chart to read it - or go to the original here.

The MSM has monstered the whole thing grotesquely out of proportion. At Chernobyl a lot of radioactive particles escaped into the air and were ingested by animals and people, especially those working to entomb the reactor. None of that has happened in Japan.

At current levels, you would get more radiation from the sun in any highland location than from all sources in Japan. 

Hat-tip: Jill

Polar bear killed by global warming

Devastating evidence of catastrophic global warming came when a dead polar bear was found floating in a pool of water choked with algae that have proliferated because of global warming.

Actually, I tell a lie - as one must in order to get on the AGW gravy train.

This is a picture of the late Knut, who shot to global fame as a cub in 2007, swimming in a self-evidently badly maintained pool in the Berlin Zoo.

The cutesiness of Knut was exploited ethically employed (because all methods are legitimate to SAVE THE WORLD!) in a photomontage on the cover of Vanity Fair to illustrate the plight of polar bears in captivity in the wild.

Shock - bureaucrats undermine ministers

Thus the Sunday Times (£):
The uncooperative approach of some officials has driven ministers to take unconventional measures to circumvent them. One said he had asked for a briefing on a policy only to receive a single side of A4 paper.[1]  He was so desperate for information that he discreetly contacted a pressure group, which handed him a full dossier.[2] It later emerged the group’s data had also been sent to his officials. Another minister has started showing his civil servants’ reports to private sector experts because he is worried he is being selectively briefed. [3] He said: "Do I take my civil servants’ briefings at face value? No. Then I go outside to someone in the sector and say, 'Is this kosher?' and they say, 'Absolutely not'".
One must presume these unnamed ministers are LibDems who never though they would get a sniff of office, as surely every Conservative MP knows only too well that the civil service has its own self-serving tax and spend agenda and will work unceasingly to undermine a government committed to retrenchment.

But the quoted passage underlines another key point, which is that the apparatchiki have become as powerful as they are because what they ironically refer to as their "political masters" are lazy and unprepared.
  1. Churchill dominated his officials and one of the methods he used was to require them to reduce all briefings to one sheet of paper to cut out the ifs, buts and maybes.
  2. Any competent minister avoids seeking advice from his officials until he is as fully informed as possible about the alternatives from non-apparat sources. 
  3. To depend on officials for information is indolent beyond the point of negligence.


OK - that melt-down that was never going to happen in Japan has not happened, to the evident chagrin of the journopukes who have been disgracefully scare-mongering all week. Just in time to take up the slack, explosive phallic symbols are raining down on Colonel Daffy's Praetorian Guard and it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys. Whoop-de-doo.

Now let's pay some attention to the rancid pile of institutionalised vomit on our own doorstep, shall we? 

I've regularly linked (e.g. here and here and, today, here) Christopher Booker's coldly eloquent diatribes against the uniquely English and uniquely misnamed Court of Protection, whose powers and procedures are - without any hyperbole at all - overtly and sadistically tyrannical.

Anna Raccoon has also been waging a brave campaign against the travesties of justice that rape the soul of our society. "I have several hundred e-mails, some from the very people John Hemming mentioned. I have said as much as I could without putting my entire world at risk. I have sent them on to every media outlet I could. Silence". I most respectfully add my voice to hers:

I urge you, if you do nothing else today, to read the full transcript of [this] back bench committee meeting.  

A straight election to the ranks of honoured truth-tellers for John Hemming, LibDem MP for Yardley in Birmingham. I did not think I could still be surprised by the doings of the bureaucratic scum who have been permitted to create totally opaque judicial fiefdoms where they can do whatever they like to whoever they choose to victimise. But Hemming opened my eyes to just how far the Brown regime extended the unaccountable power of the Labour-dominated apparat.

Hemming revealed threats of arbitrary punishments to constituents if they spoke to their MP: "To say, 'We will remove your child, because you had the effrontery to raise your concerns about process with your Member of Parliament' is a dreadful thing to do. Parliament should not tolerate that, because it undermines the actions of Parliament".

It seems a man wrongly imprisoned for rape was enjoined, on pain of having his child taken away from him, to "make no further disclosure in respect of this matter to any third party, including in particular the media and John Hemmings MP".


The sordid truth behind it all?: "One of the problems with how things have developed, and with all the secrecy rules, is that they seem to act to protect not vulnerable people but those who make money out of the system".

18 March 2011

No-Flies on us

The KCOC-S brigade has been surpassing all previous levels of sycophancy over the Boy Wonder's role in bringing about UN permission to stop Colonel Daffy murdering any more of his rebellious no-longer-subjects. No link - just step outside and you'll be ankle deep in the horse shit.

While I'm always in favour of knocking over brutal dictators, and I want Daffy dead anyway for the terrorism he financed and perpetrated in the UK, I'm tolerably sure this one is going to go badly wrong. I just don't think the Frogs or we have the necessary kit and experience to avoid the "collateral damage" beloved of journopukes.

But at a more parochial level, it's a golden opportunity for the RAF to shine, which its vast PR department will milk for all it's worth. Stand by for much chat about "surgical strikes" and those enthralling nose-cone videos. And that is a long-term disaster for British defence capability.

Combined ops by the French and British, possibly operating out of Italy - what could possibly go wrong? 

P.S. 20 March. Silly of me - OF COURSE the fix was in and the Americans have done the necessary to make it possible for its "valued allies" to operate in Libyan air space. Clever of the Frogs to get in a quick "prestige" attack before the Anglo-Saxon Tomahawks came raining down on Daffy's air defence system.  

You are The One and only . . .

CNN has an interview in which Hilary Rodham Clinton states that she will not serve a second term as Secretary of State. As to whether she is positioning herself for another run at the White House, she said no:

Because I have the best job I could ever have. This is a moment in history where it is almost hard to catch your breath. There are both the tragedies and disasters that we have seen from Haiti to Japan and there are the extraordinary opportunities and challenges that we see right here in Egypt and in the rest of the region. So I want to be part of helping to represent the United States at this critical moment in time, to do everything I can in support of the president and our government and the people of our country to stand for our values and our ideals, to stand up for our security, which has to remain first and foremost in my mind and to advance America's interests. And there isn't anything that I can imagine doing after this that would be as demanding, as challenging or rewarding.

That would be a "yes", then.

Sean Collins - arsehole for today

Don't know anything about this turkey, but his Spiked report from New York "Libya: how the West just made things worse" is as fine a piece of convoluted old-lefty argument ("reasoning" would give it too much merit) as one is likely to find.
Last night, the United Nations Security Council here in New York voted to authorise military action against the Libya regime led by Colonel Gaddafi. Far from rescuing the Libyan uprising, the resolution is a setback for the cause of democracy and self-determination. The authorisation, thanks to last-minute American pressure . . .
So; let me see if I've got this straight. Democracy and self-determination will be better served by sitting back and letting a mad dictator slaughter the people who have risen up in arms because they have no other means of expressing their will?

And - thanks to what? The article goes on to say (in a rare burst of accuracy) that the Obama administration has been extremely reluctant to get involved in yet another Arab imbroglio. That doesn't fool our Sean, though:
. . . the US approach has been cowardly. Obama has hidden behind the skirts of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Cameron, the Arab League and now the UN. It is one thing to put a stake in the ground and then call for others to join in. It is another to stay silent, let the others go out in front, and then decide to just go along for the ride. Whatever happened to the ‘unipolar world’ of undisputed American leadership?
What indeed? How can anyone except an old-school "Amerika is the source of all eevul"  leftist even try to combine the above two paragraphs in one argument? As I keep saying, leftist are too stupid to take seriously. I'm cross with Spiked for publishing this crap.

News from a country that matters

While the Boy Wonder and Sarcoma, having burned their bridges with Colonel Daffy, strike liberal imperialist poses and get the UN to approve military action against his regime, the Krauts have abstained and continue to decide how Europe will be run. 

Openeurope reports a motion by the German Bundestag that explicitly requires the German government to rule out any purchase of government bonds from tanking Eurozone countries by the European Financial Stability Facility, in direct contradiction to last weekend's Eurozone leaders' agreement to give the EFSF precisely that authority.

Germany is the biggest (27 percent) guarantor of the EFSF bonds, followed by France (20 percent) and Italy (18 percent). The rest are relative minnows.

While the motion is not binding on Chancellor Merkel's administration, she needs Bundestag approval for any deal to increase the scope and size of the EFSF. Among those voting for the motion were members from all the parties in the governing coalition. As Openeurope observes, at Westminster this would be considered a rebellion.

17 March 2011

British "soft diplomacy" at work

"Japan Crisis: UK rescue team to withdraw" reads the syntactically mangled Bitchy Boys headline. It's not a Japan crisis - it's yet another costly and humiliating blunder by the Department for International Development (DfID). 

It seems a UK International Search and Rescue team assembled by DfID, consisting of 59 search and rescue experts, four medics and two sniffer dogs from fire brigades across the UK, is being sent home after a mere three working days in Japan, during which it found "several bodies".

The team "agreed not to extend its operations after discussions with the Japanese disaster authorities and their US counterparts". In other words - we didn't ask for you and don't want you, so why don't you just piss off.

Let's see now: the Iraqis told us to shove our military training and assorted DfID teams where the sun don't shine because we lost Basra and were just cluttering up the airport, and the Afghans have told us to do the same with DfID's police training and community development teams. 

What was it that made the DfIDents think that the highly efficient Japanese needed a bunch of British firemen to blunder about amid their ruins? To teach them how to go on strike?

And this is the department whose budget escaped the axe because it is supposed to make the world safer for Britain by winning hearts and minds. If you closed the whole thing down, the only people who would care would be the jobsworths employed by it.

The wearing of the green

And a happy St Patrick's day to all my readers

Winston Churchill on the Alternative Vote (1931)

Wonderful post by Harry Phibbs on ConHome:
The plan that they have adopted is the worst of all possible plans. It is the stupidest, the least scientific and the most unreal that the Government have embodied in their [Representation of the People] Bill. The decision of 100 or more constituencies, perhaps 200, is to be determined by the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates.
There may well be a multiplicity of weak and fictitious candidates in order to make sure that the differences between No. 1 and No. 2 shall be settled, not by the second votes of No. 3, but by the second votes of No. 4 or No. 5, who may, presumably give a more favourable turn to the party concerned. This method is surely the child of folly, and will become the parent of fraud. Neither the voters nor the candidates will be dealing with realities. An element of blind chance and accident will enter far more largely into our electoral decisions than even before, and respect for Parliament and Parliamentary processes will decline [even] lower than it is at present.
. . . when I see this Bill and know, as I do perfectly well, all the forces, all the misunderstanding, all the stupidity, all the cunning, all the desperation, which have brought it about, it is impossible not to feel profoundly anxious.

Karen Buck - arsehole for today

The picture tells the story - only bovine women join the Labour party. The Independent reports that this cow, the Shadow Work and Pensions Minister, also has a bad case of foot in mouth. The eevul savage slashers of the Coalition, it seems:

. . . do not want lower-income women, families, children and, above all, let us be very clear – because we also know where the impact is hitting – they don't want black women, they don't want ethnic minority women and they don't want Muslim women living in central London. They just don't. They want people to be moving out of anywhere that is more prosperous into the fringes of London and into places like Barking and Newham. I have nothing against Barking and Newham. The problem is they are already full of people who are quite poor.

So - despite the evidence to be seen daily at Harrods, Asprey's and similar venues, ethnic minority women are by definition poor; and Barking and Newham, governed by Labour pukes since time immemorial, are shit-holes that nobody should be forced to live in.

Nice one, Karen. You just increased the anti-Labour vote among the majority ethnic voters in your constituency (Westminster North) while insulting the minority ethnic voters. One question: what was it that persuaded you to become a politician?

P.S. Archbishop Cranmer also found the pic irresistible, while drawing attention to the factual as opposed to simply party political imbecility of the silly cow's words.

15 March 2011

Remember how Americans weren't supposed to do irony?

Of course I'd lived and worked there for a decade, so I suffered from the great British demerit of knowing what I was talking about; but if there was one thing above all that irritated me about slimy Brit lefty anti-Americanism, it was the oft-repeated conceit that the land of Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce was a stranger to irony.

What they do deprecate is the witless vulgarity of what passes for humour in Britain. I cite this article from Reason not because it's especially good, but because it is typical of what educated Americans can expect to read in their journals. We get only the tired old schoolboy satire of Private Eye.
The nation was left reeling yesterday by the revelation that the presidential election of 2008 was a hoax. The shocking announcement came when White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Barack Obama has been working in secret with conservative provocateur James O'Keefe since 2007.

Carney said the scam entailed pulling together demographic, social, cultural, and policy characteristics to create the most exaggerated Democratic candidate possible without stepping over the line into caricature.

"By combining empty, touchy-feely slogans like 'hope' and 'change' with far left-wing policy planks and presenting them in the person of a racial minority from a major Midwest city with an Ivy League background, we thought we might be able to make a good showing in Iowa and New Hampshire, maybe even capture the Democratic nomination," Carney told reporters. "But the entire country? No. We never, ever for even a second imagined the American people would elect someone who had served only half a term in the U.S. Senate to be the leader of the entire free world."
Then again, the daily reports of solemnly insane actions by the state in Britain are so far beyond a joke that I guess we can no longer "do" irony. You have to believe there is a better way of doing things in order to mock the way they are done, and I suspect that most people no longer entertain any such hope.   

There's fat and then there's "public interest" fat cats

Nice one in Spiked about yet another pseudo-scientific bandwagon:
‘Obesity crusaders’ are what we call the individuals who manufactured the obesity-epidemic story in the first place and continue, through application of inherently flawed instruments, such as BMI and apple-body shapes, to misinform the public. They are a relatively small group of public-health officials in the US, the UK, the EU, and the World Health Organization, assorted academics (very many with close ties to the weight-loss and pharmaceutical industry), the International Obesity Task Force, and a collection of so-called public-interest science groups.

Margaret Hoxha

The political disaster known as Margaret Hoxha when Leader of Islington Council, waged a life-long campaign against the Christian underpinning of British society, did more harm to British children than any paedophile, and was the godmother of New Labour.

So of course she has ended up in chair of the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons. That she is the daughter of a Jewish multi-millionaire of course has nothing to do with it.

So now she gets on her hind trotters to admit that under the administration in which she played a minor part only because her career was polluted by scandals that would have sunk someone less well connected, productivity in the NHS over the last 10 years declined by an average of 0.2 per cent a year overall, and by an average of 1.4 per cent a year in hospitals.
Over the last 10 years, the productivity of NHS hospitals has been in almost continuous decline. Over the same period, the amount spent on the NHS increased from £60bn to £102bn a year. The quality of the health service has improved as a result of this increase in spending. But the taxpayer has been getting less for each pound spent. A key problem is that national pay contracts have not so far been used to manage the performance of staff effectively. It is indicative of this that consultants' productivity has fallen at the same time.
No shit. Shame your boys Blair and Brown did nothing to address the problem while they, and you, had the power to do so.

Unintended consequences?

Soothscribe Thomas Sowell once again skewers sanctimonious "progressive" hypocrisy in NRO:
At one time, housing prices in San Francisco were much like housing prices elsewhere in the country. But the building restrictions - and outright bans - resulting from the political crusades of environmentalist zealots sent housing prices skyrocketing in San Francisco, San Jose, and most of the communities in between. Housing prices in these communities soared to about three times the national average.

The black population in three adjacent counties on the San Francisco peninsula is just under 3 percent of the total population in the 39 communities in those counties.
It so happens that these are counties where voters and the officials they elect are virtually all liberal Democrats. You might be hard pressed to find similarly one-sided conservative Republican communities where blacks are such small percentages of the population.

Certainly that would be hard to find in states with a substantial total population of blacks. In California, a substantial black population has simply been forced by economics to vacate many communities near the coast and move farther inland, where the environmental zealots are not yet as strong politically, and where housing prices are therefore not yet as unaffordable.
I will cut some initial slack to the authors of do-gooding legislation that turns out to be a nightmare for whatever group supposedly favoured by it. In particular (hate-filled garbage like Aneurin Bevan aside), that dispensation covers most of the New Jerusalemites of the post-World War II Labour administration in Britain.

But when you persist in programmes that have manifestly not only failed to achieve the betterment originally conceived, but have also created additional problems, then you are quite simply evil. That is what has happened to the "progressives", who are now the most viciously reactionary segment of society, united by a fanatical determination to prevent any change that might threaten their interests, heavily vested in all those once high-sounding redistributive programmes.

Of them all, the mutation of environmentalism from a commitment to clean air, clean water and proper husbandry of resources to a covert determination to keep the poor down, domestically and internationally, has been the most rapid and the most nauseating.

But then the common denominator of all the "progressive" crusades of our times has been that they originate and are sustained by the lower middle class (petit bourgeosie), historically the most retrograde section of society and as such excoriated by, most notably, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

14 March 2011

Tu quoque

The elephant asked the camel, "Why do you have breasts on your back?"

The camel replied, "Well, that's a strange question from someone with a dick on his face".

13 March 2011


It is incumbent on one whose blog-name is "Stravagantisimo" to express the strongest possible approval of the Italian prime minister, but even if it were not I would defend him against the sneers of the mutual masturbators of the mainstream media.

Today's pics of yet another gorgeous young woman from his informal harem, along with yet more po-faced commentary about how undignified it all is (c'mon, guys - this is Italy, for heaven's sake!), just makes my heart warm to him even more.

Could someone please tell me what is remotely newsworthy about beautiful young women cosying up to a rich and generous old party animal? He's spending his own money, so what the hell if he is setting world records for the consumption of Viagra?

Politics is show business for ugly and talentless people - but even they manage, somehow, to draw groupies. Looking at most politicians, it's pretty obvious that most chose the career because it's the only way such as they might be able to get laid.

Most parliaments run intern systems to provide a steady flow of nubile young women (mainly young men at the Palace of Westminster) who accommodate the sexually inadequate members (sic) in return for introductions and advancement. And the members (sic) do that with our money.

Japan - seeing is believing

Call me slow-witted, but until I watched, in awed fascination, the superb collection of videos on the Telegraph blog (a sincere tribute to an outfit I often dump on), I simply had not fully appreciated how inadequate words, my medium, are to capture reality.

Unfortunately the lead picture in the link will probably set back the cause of nuclear energy for another generation and strengthen the hand of Loony Huhnes and all the other renewable energy zealots.

British pseudo-universities plumb new depths

Five British techs universities have announced that they are "pulling out" of programmes financed by the Libyan government, in a classic example of the British penchant for making a dishonest virtue of necessity. 
Manchester Metropolitan, Teesside, Liverpool John Moore, Glamorgan and Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh announced they had ditched the deal with Libya to train 300 health workers each year in the wake of bloody clashes in the North African nation. Liverpool John Moore University also said that it had severed a deal to advise Libya's National Economic Development Board on improving business education in the country, apart from pulling out of a proposed pact to train health workers.
They weren't going to be getting the money anyway, and the courses they are "pulling out of" served useful humanitarian and developmental purposes. Even though they are only following in the slimy footsteps of the Boy Wonder and The Hagueon, it still sets a new benchmark for opportunistic cowardice disguised as moral principle.

It's official - global warming causes earthquakes

So says none other than Staffan Nilsson, president of the - sound of trumpets - European Economic and Social Committee.* In a statement supposedly expressing solidarity with Japan, the prick has the effrontery to close with the following:
The earthquake and tsunami will clearly have a severe impact on the economic and social activities of the region. Some islands affected by climate change have been hit. Has not the time come to demonstrate on solidarity – not least solidarity in combating and adapting to climate change and global warming? Mother Nature has again given us a sign that that is what we need to do.
Actually, the sign given by "Mother Nature" is that all the works of man are insignificant and that it is gibbering hubris to think that we can control "her" in any way.

I had a wife like that - a wildly unpredictable force of nature. Maybe that's why I have always known that the climate catastrophists are cynical opportunists and their pathetic followers are frightened sheep.   

* The EESC is the most explicitly corporativist of all the EU's committees.
Big fleas have little fleas
Upon their backs that bite 'em
And little fleas have lesser fleas
And so ad infinitum

12 March 2011

"Cowboy subsidies" - nice one from Soothscribe Steyn

Canadian born but educated in England Mark Steyn, who left this sceptred isle after the chicken-shit Telegraph pulled the plug on his acerb column (also because the country had become too trivial to inspire him), now lives in the target-rich USA.

The US offers an embarass de richesse of public figures making asses of themselves in defence of whatever bit of federal spending (aka pork) benefits their patch.

This great article in NRO illustrates the point. Nevada Senator Harry Reid, the (Democrat) Majority Leader of the Senate, rose up in wrath against a Republican proposal to cut the National of the Humanities because . . . it would kill the annual Cowboy Poetry Festival held in northern Nevada every January.

"Had that program not been around", Reid thundered, "the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist".

Damn! So it's not a gross piece of rancid pork for Nevada, but a matter of life and death. Steyn explains why this is so:  

Tens of thousands would not exist? There can’t be that many cowboy poets, can there? Oh, c’mon, don’t be naïve. Where there are taxpayer-funded cowboy poets, there must surely be cowboy-poetry festival administrators, and a Bureau of Cowboy-Poetry Festival Licensing, and cowboy-poetry festival administration grant-writers, and a Department of Cowboy Poetry Festival Administration Grant Application Processing, and Professors of Cowboy-Poetry Festival Educational Workshop Management at dozens of American colleges credentialing thousands of cowboy-poetry festival workshop coordinating majors every year.


I see that French President Sarkozy, the frog-kissed-by-a-beautiful-princess-who-remained-a-frog, has taken over the lead from Britain's Boy Wonder in agitating for military action to protect Franco-British interests freedom-loving people in Libya.

Since neither France nor Britain have the military capacity to impose a no-fly zone or even to maintain combat air patrols over the main rebel centres, this amounts to an insolent attempt to require the USA to do it for them. US Defence Secretary Gates has jeered at their "loose talk".

Meanwhile EU President Herman van Rompuy and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Catherine Ashton continue to make me proud to belong to such a vibrant and inspiring multinational force for good in the world.

The massed might of international bureaucrats is to be mobilized! Led by Yurrup! After all, it was so effective in Bosnia, where EUFOR stepped in only after every last ember of nasty war-fighting had been doused - so why not do it again?

Here's the vibrant and inspiring declaration made by the European Council in full (pdf). The most vibrant and inspiring section reads as follows:

The European Council expresses its deep concern about attacks against civilians, including from the air [clever, that: the rebels are civilians]. In order to protect the civilian population, Member States will examine all necessary options [oooh!], provided that there is a demonstrable need, a clear legal basis and support from the region [and from the three bears]. Those responsible will be held accountable and face grave consequences [thereby ensuring that they will stay and fight to the death]. We will work with the United Nations, the Arab League, the African Union and our international partners [coded reference to shhh - you know who-ess-ay] to respond to the crisis. We call for the rapid holding of a summit between the Arab League, the African Union and the European Union.

Yeah, that'll do it.

11 March 2011

Why was 9/11 so special?

Because it affected the constituents of New York Congressman Peter King, previously a fervent supporter, apologist and enabler of terrorism, who spent decades squeezing himself with delight whenever the explosives and weapons he put in the hands of the IRA killed and maimed people in Ireland.

He is the new Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. I don't do this often, but I am going to quote the New York Times:

Long before he became an outspoken voice in Congress about the threat from terrorism, he was a fervent supporter of a terrorist group, the Irish Republican Army. "We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry,” Mr. King told a pro-IRA rally on Long Island, where he was serving as Nassau County comptroller, in 1982. Three years later he declared, “If civilians are killed in an attack on a military installation, it is certainly regrettable, but I will not morally blame the IRA for it".

Nor do I often watch, let alone cite, the supposedly amusing American TV commentator Jon Stewart (odd - I actively despise every person I know who spells his name "Jon"). Yet I am going to link to this video from his "Crooks and Liars" series, as it does the requisite number on the Irish-American scum-bag.