Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Smartest, Best, Brightest, Wisest, Bla-bla-bla... the trope eurocentric critics have of their domestic press in a search for promotional comparitives of most anything outside of Europe. But you would think that this should include the basic communication of news.

15h =/-: France24 mentions the earthquake in Chile in a one line subtitle. Not even showing a crawler 8 hours after Fox News, BBC, and the wires; they go back to yacking on, over and over, about the National Agriculture show. A pilgrimage in the cult of terroirisme, we're supposed to be surprised after the 30th year of such reportage, that politicians like to show up and look folksy.

15h39 France24 finally come in with a report, managing to talk with an American scientist at USGS, where it is not yet 8 in the morning. I guess European scientists don't pick up their phones on the Ouikend.

They came in at least 4 hours after the US press.

Euronews has yet to mention anything 7 hours after the fact, as does the glossed-over propaganda outfit, Russia Today. It's largely made up of foreign hires reading wire stories bracketted by fawning interviews with Lavrov that are well beneath his dignity, and strange opinion pieces constructed on snarky smear fit for an anonymous internet chat room.

Opacity Transnational

Kazakhstan, favored by the Euro-polity to be the rotating head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), ranks 120th in transparency on the perceived corruption index. It shares the slot with Armenia, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Mongolia, and Vietnam. With its’ corruption in military procurement featuring prominently, the OSCE seems to have taken up the method of rewarding venality as a means of encouraging self-improvement.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wealth Redistributions is Bad for your Health

Especially if you’re poor. The weird lefty bugaboo (if it really is a bugaboo, and not just a social pry-bar) of trying to construct ‘sameness of income’ in society is a crock.

It is not the fact that Swedes in in Malmö and Vellinge are rich that is CAUSING Rosengård dysfunctional, as Wilkinson claims. If Vellinge had an economic crisis and became poor, this would have no effect of health in Rosengård (or probably a negative effect, since the hospitals would have less money). The causality is more complex.

People in corrupt southern Italy have lower health outcomes and lower economic outcomes than North Italians. The casual link is that Mafia, lack of trust, and low education make south Italians poorer, and it makes them have lower health outcomes.

The Spirit Level thinking instead childishly interprets the complex relationship that North Italians are rich makes South Italians unhealthy, because of the stress of knowing they are doing worse than North Italy.
In other words, whatever effect a social scientist wants to assume to produce an outcome is piled in, even though the data never seems to bear it out, but dispelling fond assumptions about the link between poverty and crime, (or in the case of the new left: differential income or any sort,) and so on.
Using levels for OECD countries we have no statistically significant relationship. Using levels for UN we still have no statistically significant relationship, and even find the opposite of what the book claims. Using change we find no statistically significant relationship, and the opposite of what they claim.

This does not mean Wilkinson is wrong. It just means he has no evidence for his hypothesis. Wilkinson and people who think inequality causes lower health (for example through stress) need to find exogenous experiment to verify their hypothesis. Until they have done that we cannot accept they claims as science. But not only have they not done that (to my knowledge), they are going ahead and selling their story as if they had evidence!

This is deeply unethical, because ordinary people trust academics.
Actually, I think that very few people still trust academics, which on one hand might lead to outbursts of the calling the public ignorant, anti-intellectual, or the sort, but that would be specious. For one thing, people know the stench fairly well at this point, and know that the frustrated critic is expecting the public to have the same level of aptitude in their field as they, the “expert” would.
Another fishy looking claim in "The Spirit Level" is that more equal countries are more innovative.
The funny thing is that when it comes to addressing what looks like a social stunt using statistical buckshot, for the most part, they do know a lot more about the reality of society that the crash-test dummy manipulating the science for the sake of politics or their own miserable Niedkultur:
Notice that the United States is one of the least innovative countries according to "The Spirit Level". Now, no matter how dogmatically leftists you are, it is hard to claim that the U.S., the most technologically advanced country in the world, winner of 60% of scientific Nobel prizes in the post war period, is one of the least innovative advanced nations on earth, no more innovative than Portugal.
So what it all amounts to is a study that measures the world’s ability to have the same priorities as the studies’ framers, the UK’s “Equality Trust” which says that their theory (essentially holding up communist economics as a cure for humanity’s ills, not to mention the allpowerful autocracy that it will need to do it) EXPLAINS things like individual childhood illnesses. Among their many goals for the whole of humanity:
For centuries the best way of improving the quality of life has been to raise material living standards. But we have now come to the end of what economic growth can do for developed countries. Measures of well-being or of happiness no longer rise with economic growth. Even though health goes on improving in rich countries, that improvement is no longer related to economic growth. We also know that rates of depression and anxiety have risen over the last fifty years or so.

Not only has economic growth in the rich countries ceased to bring the social benefits it once brought (and continues to bring in poorer countries), but it now threatens the planet. We are therefore the first generation to have to find new ways of improving the real quality of life. The evidence suggests that we need to shift our attention away from increasing material wealth, to the social environment and the quality of social relations in our societies.
Got that? It’s the hushed leftist argument of explaining to people how compassionate they are, even though advancements in health are only for those with economic (or political) utility to the managed society, not for the sake of the flowering of the individual, the morality of withdrawing support, or a basic respect for the dignity of the individual. The managed society (read: the state) is more relevant that the dignity of the individual, as if the existence of a good society would require the vernichtung of the autonomous individual, the retired, and the like. It leads to classic European superman theory, with Communism and Fascism fighting to lead the left. It also comes with the same tactics too: like arguments that one-party states were the real democracies, simply inverting the meaning of things, in this case calling a society where your means were less likely to rise a place that has more “social mobility”.

The evidence of statistics is not causal. It does not make you pick a column and want to join up to a behaviour. And to think that they are tacitly implying that the PUBLIC is stupid, as is obvious from signing up a bad Señor Wences impersonator as their spokes-sock.

Ignoring the evidence of the income equalized societies in the past, including their ultimate need to employ social oppressions to “keep the magic” of passivated equality construction alive, they aren’t accounting for the life-quality aspect of what they eventually led to: failed societies that couldn’t evolve, and ended up with revolutions.

On Denmark's editorial pages, "there has been a total agreement that it is a necessary war"

While the "popularity of the international campaign in Afghanistan has fallen across Europe and in the U.S.", writes the Wall Street Journal's Alistair MacDonald (tak til Vincent),
the Danes have largely maintained public support for the effort, selling the mission as a humanitarian effort rather than simply protection against a terrorist threat, and building consensus among political parties. They have reaped the benefits of a largely supportive media and the country has, to some degree, rediscovered its pride in an active military.
In addition, incidentally, the British criticism of the U.S. ignoring its allies in tales of war and combat is turned against the Brits:
"When I read a U.K. paper its just like, the U.K. and nobody else" fighting, [Danish Defense Minister Søren Gade] said.
Finally, a chicken hawk charge ("if you haven't served or aren't serving, you cannot support") is pointed out — in reverse.
When troops say, " 'We did a job and we did it good, and it is worth doing,' then it is very hard indeed for a lot of people to oppose, because those are the men and women who risk their lives," he said.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Making Jimmy Swaggart look like a lightweight

When that old time religion takes hold, look out:

Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders said Tuesday that people who do not take the threat of climate change seriously remind him of those who downplayed the growing threat of fascism and Nazism in the 1930s.

The climate change debate "reminds me in some ways of the debate taking place in this country and around the world in the late 1930s," Sanders said during a Senate hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency's 2011 budget.
Keep in mind, these comments did not take placed in some peyote-fuelled sweatlodge/yurt session or on the fevered sets of MSNBC, these comments took place in an official US Senate committee room.

You can watch the video here, begins at 102:25.

Embracing their Inner Dictator

Never mind the bio-fuel argument. One can only wonder where Europeans get the temerity to declare the territory of another nation a forest or a farm.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

“Diversity” vs. Human Morality

"What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy," said Gen. Casey, the Army's chief of staff, "but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here."

- US Army Chief of Staff General Casey

The two matters cannot be compared. Diversity is simply something that can be observed when you see something that resembles a description of it. To align it with human morality, or make informed moral choices conditional to it is beyond absurd, it is to politicize and racialize the concept of good and bad. It’s as basic as that.

Mark Steyn:

The fact that a grown man not employed by a U.S. educational institution or media outlet used the word "diversity" in a non-parodic sense should be deeply disturbing. "Diversity" is not a virtue; it's morally neutral: A group of five white upper-middle-class liberal NPR-listening women is non-diverse; a group of four white upper-middle-class liberal NPR-listening women plus Sudan's leading clitorectomy practitioner is more diverse but not necessarily the better for it.
Let’s put it another way. What if the composition of patients in an ICU had to be diverse, and you were the one who altered the “desired complexion” of that one night. Which “virtue” would be more relevant?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Posts which write themselves

As we were saying....

Statists don't do consistency

Today's headlines write themselves:

Time everyone paid their fair share of tax

Well, not everyone:

Flat taxes are just an excuse to make the rich richer

Heaven forbid that everyone kick in a bit.

Imaginary Compassion

At least they have multi-culturally appropriate fictional characters doing something for humanity. Hidden Disaster! (VERY well hidden.)
The graphic novel follows the 'adventures' of Zana, Max et al at the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Department – known as ECHO – as they struggle to secure funding for the fictional sate of Borduvia, which has been devastated by an earthquake.
Securing funding! Look! It’s a bird! No, It’s a plane! No! It’s middle age apartment dweller with a grant application!
Zana: "No the aid is channelled through organisations like UNICEF or Oxfam. When the Commission finances them, they become what we call our 'implementing partners'."
So off it goes to someone else, leaving our Young Pioneer reading it to wonder why that characters would be there at all, or for that matter, asking:
Tesjang: "So are there many people from the European Commission here?"
[ ... ]
Zana pleads the case, explaining: "In tragedies like this, international solidarity is normal.
No, European publicity hounds and sympathy sluts chaotically fighting over who can making claims about themselves is the norm. With a budget roughly 1/600th of the ammount American individual citizens (not the government) give to charity, it's no wonder that they need to program children into trying to do as Zana and Max do, because their parents certainly aren't.

Especially amusing is that one cannot find any indication of how many “Zana and Maxes” there actually are, and I’m please to report that they cite as a source of revenue for “Humanitarian aid” as “humanitarian aid”.

Quelle Arteeste!

I’ll be happy when she’s dumpster diving like most Berliners her age.

The daughter of a celebrated literary über-dude, who was fawned over for being about the 9 782nd person to rip off the childhood passive self-pitying anguish theme from the 1980’s move “Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo” has been nailed for sourcing her Tsunami of the literary season from a blogger.

She is the daughter of a famous German professor and at 17, her best-selling debut novel about sex, drugs and teenage self-discovery is already in its third edition, only weeks after being published. With her book also just nominated for a major literary prize, some have begun to label Helene Hegemann insufferably precocious.
Or rather just an insufferable spud made whole flesh out of the public’s desire for just such a public character, a la Barack Obama. But I digress.

Strangely enough, she’ll probably still get to be a talk-show spittoon for the next 5 decades if the state of European public intellectualism is anything to go by. It might be the strangest kind of meal-ticket you can imagine – sort of like a Truman Capote thing without really having to accomplish anything for 30 years at a time.
Yet Ms Hegemann now faces embarrassing allegations that she stole whole chunks of material for her book from someone else's novel and other sources.

It has emerged that a key inspiration for Ms Hegemann's book was a far less well known novel called Strobo, which has sold only about 100 copies. It is by a 28-year-old Bavarian blogger who writes under the nom de plume of Airen.
Hey, dat bitch owes me money!
Interviewed last week about the charges, Ms Hegemann's defence was simply "I cannot understand what all the fuss is about."
When putting a noble face on plagiarism in the most predictable way possible by calling theft a minor philosophical burden, and airing the Joe Biden defense.
"This novel follows the aesthetic principle of intertextuality and may contain further excerpts,"
Hm. I was just about to sat that, the very moment before I was going to ask: “WHY THE HELL SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT HER FEELINGS!”
But if the young writer's ego had swollen at the praise for her work, it has now been dramatically punctured. For the charges of precocity pale in comparison to the torrent of criticism
As to what she should do at this point to ‘transtexualize’ her generation, and possibly understand them, she could join them for a while:
"Young people put on their Che Guevara hoodies and go containering for a couple of years," Bergstedt said.
And be more honest about how she roams around the trashcans of other peoples’ minds.

Funny, That

In EUtopia, you can feign intellectualism my parroting all manner of paranoiac stuff, and no-one will say that you’re part of the black helicopter crowd. It’s actually a pretty good racket.

EU President's secret bid for economic power
Am I asserting too much? Hell no! The Independent’s party line has been to address anything from a pothole to the relocation of the politically defective to re-education camps as a call for “more Europe, not less”. Of course that also applies to fevered conspiracy theories too, I guess: the members entered tehh EU with the intention of it functioning as a nation-state, except for every other thing that isn't part of some dope-addled "Age of Aquarius" fantasy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Up in smoke (again)

When individuals are forced to pay taxes there is at least the vauge hope that some inkling of the purloined funds are spent on some noble cause. Relief for a charity case, some oldster getting heart surgery, troops being well-equipped in the field, etc. Reality has a way of shattering these myths:

One could not want a better vignette of the gulf that has opened up between our “political class” and the rest of us than a bizarre little item which emerged last week on an obscure part of the European Commission’s website. The British Government, as revealed by the EU’s Official Journal, has allocated £60 million of taxpayers’ money to be spent on buying carbon credits from the Third World for the use of government buildings and other official purposes – so that our civil servants can continue to benefit from the CO2 emissions needed to keep their offices warm and lit.

Our entire Government machine – politicians and civil servants alike – is now obsessively dedicated to the proposition that we must drastically cut our “carbon emissions” to save the planet, at virtually unlimited cost. But when it comes to the officials and politicians themselves having to make sacrifices, as our own fuel bills soar, they have quietly arranged for the rest of us to shell out £60 million to allow them to carry on much as before.

The story then becomes even more bizarre. The contracts with Barclays, J P   Morgan and co – who will retain up to £9 million in commissions – will be used to buy Certified Emissions Reduction (CER) credits under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) set up under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
As with the theft of taxes used by MPs for their squalid system of expenses, one wonders how many families went without in order that this latest wasting of £60m could take place.

By the way, will the usual suspects bleat uncontrollably that the banks involved forced the government into these arrangements? Of course not, statists don't do consistency.

Let’s Please not Tell Erik, Shall we?

Italian celebrity Chef promotes cat as a fine winter-time protein.

A top Italian food writer has been suspended indefinitely from the country’s version of the television programme Ready Steady Cook for recommending stewed cat to viewers as a “succulent dish”.