Freedom, system thinking, politics, science, education, economics, pirates

Sunday, 30 November 2008

GM boss in last-ditch talks on debt for equity swap

Having been turned down by congress, GM is turning to its creditors for help. Seems like a good idea, will Ford follow suit?

Friday, 28 November 2008

economic collapse said... comment on Guido today

Britain and the British will neither get nor deserve the relative good fortune of a Velvet Revolution type release from its current totalitarian lockdown. Nor will it be delivered by the collective courage of its common people dispatching summarily its dictatorial leader and his regime as per the Romanians. The path laid out for Britain and the British is regime collapse through total economic collapse as per the Soviet Union in 1991.

It is little reported in the British media that Poland now has a lower rate of unemployment than Britain, its rate having fallen from 8.7% to 6.4% in the last 12 months. UK's true figure, with long-term economically inactive included and those claiming disability is only matched by that of Spain's at 13%, within the European Union.

All the signs are there of a false economic structure on its last legs. The Soviet's was the military-industrial base, the British the housing/finance/public sector base, again highly artificial and unproductive. When collapse comes, as it will, within 12 months, real national output and incomes will fall by a quarter with up to a 10 million out of work and real starvation and deaths from common, as in Russia during the aftermath of the communist system collapse. As per the Russian experience real economic recovery will not take place for a further 10 years due to the massive shock to the whole politic-economic system.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Jeff nails it

Excellent article by Jeff Randall in the Telegruff today. Shame he's not on telly more.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Christmas shopping

So is 2.1276596% off enough to get us all rushing to the shops to buy imported goods and save the economy? Probably not.

Is delaying it until Monday going to turn shopping centres into ghost towns this weekend? Possibly.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Ministry of Truth on Climate Chaos

Excellent blog on climate science. So much better than the anti-science tosh on most blogs.

Best burger in the world

I wonder how long before I get to have another of these?

Miller's Bar, Dearborn

Metro Detroit's most famous bar burger is an undeniably delicious no-frills classic: a thick patty of fresh ground beef on an honest bun, brought to your table on a square of waxed paper. Help yourself to pickles from a jar on the condiment tray; sliced onion is served on request. Want cheese? It's Swiss or Velveeta, sliced off long loafs and melted onto the patty into near-oblivion. You won't get a bill; just tell the bar man what you had and he'll tell you what you owe. For its fans, the bare-bones service and semi-divey setting only enhance the growing Miller's mystique. Hamburger, $4.75; cheeseburger, $5.50.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Passing on the savings

So after cutting bank rates, and not finding it passed on to loans & mortgages, how long before the badger is on telly complaining that retailers are not passing on his VAT cut?

Iain Dale's Diary: A Real Life Example of Why the VAT Cut Won't Boost the Economy

Iain Dale's Diary: A Real Life Example of Why the VAT Cut Won't Boost the Economy

Chris Dillow today

"New Labour’s claim to believe in technocratic, evidence-based policy is a sham. They are not technocrats at all, but either priggish moralists or cowardly panderers to mob prejudice."

P.J. O'Rourke on fiscal stimulus programmes

I must say we're doing good work on our final task--attaching the garden hose to our car's exhaust pipe and running it in through a vent window.

Andrew Haldenby: Fiscal stimulus will prolong the recession

Good article over at Conservativehome.

Excerpt: "In retrospect the UK has endured a long period of living beyond its means, supported by interest rates held far too low. We have become used to unsustainable levels of debt and consumption (we use the graphic image of the “obese economy”). We now need to find a new path based amongst other things on saving (remember that?). A fiscal stimulus would be the last hurrah of the debt-binge era. It’s time to move on. Instead the Chancellor should get a grip of public spending. That does not mean crisis cuts in public spending, which would increase inefficiency and – by creating a perception of under-funding – lead to demands for higher spending later on.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

2 1/2% off VAT - waste of time

When shops are cutting prices by 20% and aren't getting big boosts in sales, how will a 2.5% price cut start a spending spree? It won't all get passed on by all retailers, it's not charged on food, which is a big bill, especially at Christmas and for the poor.

He's going to drop small savings in lots of different places, so most people won't feel any better off.

For a fiscal stimulus to work, it has to be so big that it can't be afforded or funded. James Callaghan found this out the hard way. This is pissing on a bonfire - pointless.

Matthew Parris, Today's times

Mr Brown's claims to cosmic leadership rest on what he says his measures will achieve, not on what they have achieved. The boasts will finally grate, and a Conservative message that if he can't whistle up a recovery, at least he should stop running up bills, should feel timely.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Jeff Randall in today's Telegraph

Excellent article. I could add: are you listening Mr Cameron?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

That's cheered me up

A new Wallace & Gromit for Christmas! Hooray!

UAW dinosaurs

The US car unions have made it clear they aren't going to make any concessions to their contracts with the car companies. The Japanese are making better, cheaper cars in the non-union south and Mexico. The Chinese are going to be shipping cheap cars soon. The unions are determined to join the ranks of the US consumer electronics industry, shoe and clothing industry, etc.. They'd rather close the industry and put them all on the dole, than concede any reductions in pay & conditions. The world has changed, and they haven't realised it.

Brown talks down the economy

Brown warns of deflation. (AFP)

Oh, he's allowed to talk down the economy.

Click title for link.

"Labour should listen to Will Hutton" by John Redwood

My comment to John's excellent article.

"It seems the govt is going to give away cash to the "poor". I wouldn't call it tax breaks, when those getting the money won't be those paying the high taxes when it needs to be repaid. Sadly I probably earn enough to not be "poor" to get the handout, but not enough to be "rich" to avoid the taxes. Of course, I'll probably lose my job the week after the handouts, so maybe I won't have to pay the taxes after all..

I'd go a lot further than stop final salary pensions for the statritariat, I'd give them a 10% pay cut and put them on a contributory pension at 65, obviously expediently to save the economy, but it needs doing, so why not now? Taxes could really be cut accordingly. They would only be going through what their neighbours in the private sector are going through.

The inequality between those employed in the private sector and those working in the public sector, or those on benefits is going to become a major social & political problem."

Sunday, 16 November 2008

It's an ill wind...

Spam spam spam spam spam & spam is selling really well, it is boom time for Hormel and their employees. Rice, beans and other basic and low cost foods are also increasing in sales, according to the New York Times. Perhaps the scale of the increase in these sales is an indicator of how bad folks think the economy is going to get. Wisdom of crowds ?

Fraser was right

I can't shake off the feeling the old boy is right this time.

Quote of the week

Nick Robinson on his BBC blog, talking about Osbornes mutterings:

"A British fiscal stimulus package will be too small to make any real difference if it's affordable, or unaffordable if it's big enough to make a difference."

Rings true to me, sadly.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Jefff Randall rocks

Gordon Brown’s fingerprints are all over a disaster made in Britain
We are about to witness a burst of old-fashioned pre-election giveaways to hide the Government's epic blunders, warns Jeff Randall

Who's to blame? Look in the mirror, Mr Brown

An article by John Major. Good to see one Tory having a go at making blame stick to El Gordo.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

America the Illiterate - Hedges

Good article about the rise of stupidity in America. Some of the features discussed are prevalent here also.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Mick Hume's wisdom on housing

Very poor article by Mick Hume. He is stereotyping council housing as being intrinsically bad, so building more only condemns tenants to bad lives.

There are lots of council houses and estates I know of, which are no-go zones full of smashed up cars and broken windows with the stairways running with urine. But if they were private they would be really nice places to live.

The problems are:
The housing is effectively given away, rents are so low so as to look like they are free. The tenants can value them accordingly and treat them badly. If they were charged real money, they would look after them better, even if they were given rent money through the benefit system, as private tenants are.
The housing is heavily subsidised, but it is only means tested once when it is first given. If instead market rents were charged, rent money could be given depending on individual circumstances and vary as these change.

Introduction to the Land Value Tax Campaign

Monday, 10 November 2008

Iain Dale's Diary: Poll: Ministers Are Dedicated Public Servants...Who Lie

Iain Dale's Diary: Poll: Ministers Are Dedicated Public Servants...Who Lie

Broon's lovin' it

We have a right to know where the EU's millions end up

Marta Andreassen is after your vote to help her become a UKIP MEP. She was previously Chief Accountant of the European Commission, sacked by Kinnock (hung out to dry according to Tim Worstall)for whistleblowing on the Financial incompetence she saw.

Libby: 'It's knives, firearms, cash, drugs. Every night'

Today's Times.

What is the point of Libby's article? Interesting maybe, but this doesn't tell us anything we don't already know. It doesn't contain any OPINION, which is what Libby is supposed to do.

Camilla Batmanghelidjh is a far more important writer on youth crime, she has ideas of what causes it and what to do about it.

Camilla's article also addresses the recent findings that bullies enjoy inflicting pain, due to brain make-up.

Going down the pan?

The future of toilets

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The case for forcing birth control on unfit mothers

Minette Marrin in today's Sunday Times

Discusses a Dutch politician's idea of enforced contraception for "unfit" parents.

Quite a topic. I can't work out what my response is. On the one hand I can see that it is unfair for children to grow up in homes where they will not learn to be a successful, happy, law-abiding person. On the other hand, taking away the ability to have a child seems way outside what the state should be allowed to do.

What I am certain though, is that the state welfare system should not be designed so that it encourages childbirth to people dependant on welfare.

Obama's America: no gay marriages

I've not seen this in the MSM or elsewhere, but many US states had motions to make same sex marriages illegal. It seems that voters progressive enough to vote Obama want to interfere in the private lives of others.

Friday, 7 November 2008

OH has fun with Hazel

If such a thing is possible.

Awesome post: Cynical Nihilism

Best. Post. Ever.

A cogent Fisking of the chipmunk by Alix Mortimer. Read it. Now.

Credit crunch kills the SNP

According to Michael Crick, Labour are about to win the Glenrothes election with a good majority. Bugger.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Stair porn

really, it's surprisingly good.

Socking great interest rate cut

1.5% rate cut today. Seems a bit panicky.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Jeff Randal in today's Telegraph

By any conventional measure, the US economy under Bush has been a fool’s paradise: a place where consumers believed they could spend more than they were earning, without a final day of reckoning.