Friday, 16 January 2015

Quote of the day

“Admittedly, there is a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson in history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face.”
Ronald Regan

Yo Momma...

Pope Francis

Pope Francis is “pontificating” over the Paris Massacres in Sri Lanka on a trip that focused on “inclusion” and “Harmony” between religions.

Pontificating - That’s what Popes do you’ll be thinking, practically part of the job description.

No one is saying he is not a nice, well meaning man. That is what he ought to be and history might have been less bloody if some of his predecessors were more like him in that. On the other hand maybe not, who knows.

Specifically he has been commenting on the Charlie Hebdo aspect of the apparently religiously motivated Paris murders/killings.

Presumably the massacre of Jews, simply because they are Jews does not quite fit within his homily. Those murdered French people – blameless Parisians who also happened to be of the Jewish faith - "move along, no insults to see here folks".

He seems to simply sign up without question to the Islamicist argument that any depiction of Mohammed at all is an insult to Islam. If it is actually in bad taste or an insult seems to be irrelevant.

Pope Francis suggests that some sort of physical and violent action (a bloody nose) is actually somehow appropriate to a perceived insult as long as it falls short of an actually fatal response
He goes on to say that; “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”

One question that immediately arises is  - why? Why one can’t point out the inherent illogicality and ridiculousness of some aspects of a faith or belief, or mutual contradictions, or two faced practitioners, or moral contradictions – Exactly? 

What, dare I ask, makes belief based on some aspect of religion - no matter how sincerely held so…  for want of a better word.. sacred? 

 No one would reasonably expect similar preference and deference to politically based beliefs - except perhaps the apparent British devotion to it’s National Health Service :-)

Many Nazies apparently sincerely believed in racial superiority, a master race. Would anyone now suggest that belief should not be questioned, possibly made fun of?

It seems to me that Pope Francis is skating dangerously close to saying that a physically violent response to a perceived insult - intended or not - to a person’s religion is acceptable. He just feels that actually killing people is too extreme. Conceding that, “To kill in the name of God is an aberration.”.

It seems to me that an all powerful and omnipotent being who created the cosmos would be able to take note of…  and casually mention at some later accounting if he/she felt any behaviour - was “inappropriate”, that they would not be even a tiny bit insecure or thin skinned. Further that a person truly convinced of their own faith ought to view any so-called insult as pathetically risible and beneath their notice.

Maybe the Holy Father should Google “Yo Momma” before he punches anyone out. An art form all on its own - Just sayin man…

Notice: this is in no way intended to the Pope's Mother, any parent of any senior religious figure, any person living or dead. Any resemblance is coincidental and it is intended simply as an example of the art form.


Yo mama so poor I saw her holding a penny and I asked "Whatcha doing with that?" and she said "What’s it look like dummy?  Taking my life savings to the bank!"

Monday, 12 January 2015

Je pense donc je suis... Charlie

Not much else to say - or maybe an entire essay?
What is it paints a thousand word? Oh Yes...

Monday, 30 January 2012

State of the Nation

I am getting a little tired of listening to people complaining of government ‘cuts’.

The UK state is unnecessarily and unaffordably bloated and unwieldy.

It is that way, largely because too many people reflexively expect it to control so much more of every aspect of our lives than it has any real right or honest need to. So much so that even our ownership of our own bodies is threatened. it is that way because Authoritarian Stateists want it to be. It is that way because of empire building.

One suspects many of the places cuts fall are exaggerated or are made worse by the self serving politically motivated spin and subterfuge of some Local Government.

Ed Milliband (leader of the opposition) is now shifting his basically dishonest and untenable position on cuts slightly. Labour's latest line is that it opposes some spending cuts, on the basis they slow recovery. At least now he admits he would not necessarily reverse them. Many in the LibDem party, Partners in the coalition seem unable to move even that far towards actual coffee smelling.

Presumably Vince cable and Nick Clegg have had their noses sufficiently rubbed in economic reality to be ahead of the average member of the so-called “Liberal” Democrat pack.

OK, so let’s look at the actual figures (as seen in the Guardian).

What do they show?

They show that after inheriting a nice black balance sheet Gordon Brown, first as Chancellor and then as Prime Minister spent money hand over fist that he just didn’t have.

He was running the UK deeper and deeper into debt over the whole period he held office.

He also sold off half the UK's gold reserves when gold was at an all time low and plundered pension schemes helping to create the current pensions "Black Hole", and promised "No more Boom and bust", he got plenty of mileage out of that, but what's all that between friends, eh?

Don’t forget the graph only shows each year’s borrowing, not the total amount the UK actually owes. That is horrendous and still going up literally by the minute, check out the TPA clock on this site (top left). God help us if we loose our triple A rating and have to pay higher interest rates on it.

Look at the last two years of the graph. Those are the years of so-called coalition cuts that Labour and the Lib-Dems have bleated so much about and blocked at every turn.

Those cuts have not been enough reduce the debt. No – those last two years figures just show that the actual speed that we are sinking into the financial doo-doo under the Coalition has finally actually slowed a little.

If the majority of the electorate had the feeblest grasp of simple maths… perhaps enough to avoid being short changed… and if Milliband, or Balls, had any shred of honesty, or were capable of the least embarrassment, they would cringe and hide themselves in a deep cave somewhere from the honest light of day.

Meanwhile the UK economy continues to be crippled by so-called green taxes, an unwieldy unaffordable social security system and wasted billions pumped into our EU membership.

Should we pay out yet more to rescue the Euro? In an ideal world no. The Euro is probably not capable of surviving in anything like it’s present form without much of Europe being disenfranchised and a severe loss of sovereignty for most nations in it.

But the Euro needs to be supported into a landingsoft enough the world can walk away from in one piece, so reluctantly we have to at least to some extent.

Foreign aid? Again used properly it saves us from having to fight wars, and we no longer have the military capability we had a decade ago, thanks to a maintained level of government dishonesty, waste and incompetence over the last decade or more.. As the civil service has got bigger and more unwieldy the armed forces have been cut back and back... so again in our own interests we need to keep up foreign aid.

What can we do about it all, if anything?

Take responsibility and PAY ATTENTION!! for a start, don’t let the politicians distract you with pretty lights and spin.

Make sure you really know the facts and arm yourself with them. Actually think. Is what a politician says really true? Does it fit with the facts? Politicians are careful about the words they choose. Are they true, but still fool you into misunderstanding what they actually mean.

When they talk about inflation going down what they really mean is that it is going up more slowly than it was. It is still going up it is just the rate that has decreased.

What is their track record? Did they deliver on what they promised to get elected? If not, why not - and why should you believe anything else they say?

Ask yourself what might happen down the line if they bring in some new policy, or law and do you really need it?

Check their sums are honest and make sense. Remember there are lies, damned lies - and worst of all statistics. Check your pockets after you hear a politician speak.

Vote. Not like some zombie for whoever your ancestors did, but for what you think makes sense and is best. Watch what they are up to – ALL THE TIME. Don’t take your eye off the ball.

Email your MP if you don’t like something It only takes a few minutes. If you don’t like his answer, or it tries to wriggle off the hook then email them again and tell them so.

Sign single issue petitions you support, email your MP about issues you feel strongly about.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Merry and Happy Christmas One and All

It’s Christmas!! As Noddy Holder’s "pension plan" announces to us every year from the end of November to the New Year.

And it is Christmas, so despite the world not necessarily being the way we would like it to be and practically all of us not being what we should be, and that ramps up by a factor of 10 when talking politicians and fanatics.

Despite that, even for the secular, Christmas reminds us that we have the potential to be better than we are. Rousseau’s perfectibility of man if you like. That we could be better if we would.

For Christians it is a chance to remember, celebrate and give thanks that God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

So for a moment let’s turn our attention away from how spectacularly well politicians and people in general are getting it wrong and think on how they sometimes get it right and that it could actually be worse. And how it might be made better. It’s a wonderful life.

It is an interesting thought that the big, huge stuff.. constitutions, political systems, Yes we need to get those right. But if we get the small things right that builds the big picture. Jimmy Stuart’s George Bailey: “I know what I'm gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that.”

A little like comparing a top down command economy to the market. The market isn’t an entity. It is countless small actions adding up.

Imagine for a moment if we all just made a little effort to be a tiny bit more polite and considerate, a little more forgiving, slower to anger and irritation – every day. What might that add up to in the long run?.

For those of you who love individualism liberty think of it as charitable giving that costs no cash. For the coercive and authoritarian think of it as a tax on the freedom to be an ass likely to fall more heavily on everyone else - and that you can benefit from by promoting..

Any system we live by should ideally naturally reward such behaviour and discourage the opposite, preferably gently but persistently.

Merry Christmas One and All.

Friday, 16 December 2011

In Memorium Christopher Hitchens

Here is what is intended to be a small - and gently humorous - tribute to Christopher Hitchens, author and journalist, who has died of cancer.

He was a fan of Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson, so had two good points at least.

An avowed an antitheist Right now he is either not saying "I told you so!", but would if he could , or being "I told you so!"'d by St Peter and thinking to himself.. "You win some. You lose some.".

Buddy, peut vous ├ępargner un sou?

EU political machinations against the UK clearly continue apace. Christian Noyer the French equivalent of the governor of the bank of England has evidently been wound up by his political masters, such as his organ grinder the French prime minister Francois Fillon, cherleading, or Mario Draghi Italian governor of the ECB, or Sarko himself, all part of the elite European rulership - and then pointed at the UK.

There is little need to link to it, as even the tabloids have noticed and have commented.

A country’s credit rating is based on its, well - credit worthiness. The worse it is the higher the interest rates it has to pay to borrow, a bit like people really. One of the reasons Greece and Italy are in such difficulties just now.

Put bluntly it’s ability to pay its debts. How safe it is to lend them cash. The world can be in little doubt that whatever else the UK is, unlike Greece, Italy, or even France for various reasons as an examples, about as safe a haven as it is possible to find in the current world economic climate.

The only real threat to the UK’s ability to pay its bills is probably the EU and the Euro crisis.

No one would really take such comments seriously, except this particular individual happens to be the governor of the Banque de France. A bank that is effectively, in turn, the glove puppet of the European Central Bank (ECB). It's main reason for existence these days being simply to implement the interest rate policy of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB).

Clearly M. Noyer is not fit for purpose as the figurehead of even a hollow shell of a bank and in a rational country would be removed from office.

Clearly we would also be foolish to expect anything other than , not necessarily entirely justified reflexive overweening pride and slightly irrational Franco centric behaviour from France.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Ken's got to pick a pocket or two

So much to post on so little time.

With a smorgasbord of ‘delights’ available I decided to focus, for this post, on a fairly "local" matter but it perfectly illustrates the left’s thinking on personal property and the private contracts we enter into with each other voluntarily.

Dear old cuddly newt loving - amphibian type not republican politician type - ‘Red’ Ken Livingstone, for those of you who don’t know, Is an ex mayor of London England, not to be confused with the Lord Mayor of London of - No I have not been hanging round in dubious clubs – “puss in boots” fame, I am talking - as seen in Shreck.

Having been thrown out of office Ken wants to get back in to city hall out of the cold. Having brilliantly worked out that rents (property prices, transport and just about everything) are a bit high in London he had decided if he can offer tenants a discount paid for by someone else’s money they might vote for him, despite his record.

I am reminded here of Ben Franklin’s comment that “When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

Ken is proclaiming that “rents rose by 12% on average in the capital last year - with no sign of improvement in the quality of the housing provided.”

October’s official National RI rate is 5.0347% inflation. That figure is derived over the whole country, London is, as we noted, more expensive and this does not take into account of the disproportionate impact of some commodity rises, 12% is probably not unreasonable. Some London business rates (property tax) were up by 23% in 2011 for instance.

He is quoted as saying; “no one should pay more than a third of their income on rent” and in the London Evening Standard saying;“I would cap the rents. We want to have rent control.

He has also been quoted as having said he would "actually intervene" in the private sector rent controls?

So Given his prefernce he would definitely cap rents. So not just taking from all London’s council tax contributers, but specifically something extra directly from the pockets of private landlords.

He would presumably impose a maximum that a landlord could charge. I am not sure how that would dovetail with ensuring no tennent paid more than a third of their wages in rent I find it difficult to imagine landlords would be forced to rent expensive properties at knock off prices to pecunious tenants, but who knows.

Virtually any cap would involve the local government forcing landlords to let properties below the market level. In other words the state treating private property as it’s own, and possibly intervening/restraining in private commerce and contracts.

It is open to question how long any landlord who owned decent properties would actually be willing to rent them at all under those circumstances. They would shortly find it to their advantage to sell to private owners who could afford it, thus reducing rented stock and reinforcing the effect still further..

Instead of picking private landlords pockets it would be possible to achieve virtually the same aim by introducing some sort of housing tax rebate, based on earning bands or tax levels might be more equitable and less damaging, but far less ideologically pleasing to Ken.

Boris Johnson (the current Mayor) pay attention here - you could steal a march on Ken here, feel free to pinch this idea, gratis. Though if you need further advice I am available for weddings, bah mitzvahs and helping govern London J

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Economics 101 - and a half

This seems to be doing the rounds at the moment and someone emailed it to me. It made me chuckle and is reproduced below, for your enlightenment and edification. I notice there is no mention of haircuts. Hat Tip to Pam.

Understanding Economics:
The Eurozone Bailout

It is a slow day in a little Greek Village. The rain is beating down and the streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody lives on credit.

On this particular day a rich German tourist is driving through the village, stops at the local hotel and lays a €100 note on the desk, telling the hotel owner he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs in order to pick one to spend the night.

The owner gives him some keys and, as soon as the visitor has walked upstairs, the hotelier grabs the €100 note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the €100 note and runs down the street to repay his debt to the pig farmer.

The pig farmer takes the €100 note and heads off to pay his bill at the Farmer’s Co-Op.

The guy at the Farmers' Co-op takes the €100 note and runs to pay his drinks bill at the Taverna.

The Taverna owner slips the money along to the local prostitute drinking at the bar, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer him "services" on credit.

The hooker then rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill to the hotel owner with the €100 note.

The hotel proprietor then places the €100 note back on the counter so the rich traveller will not suspect anything. At that moment the traveller comes down the stairs, picks up the €100 note, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, pockets the money, and leaves town.

No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole village is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is how the bailout package works.