August 31, 2006

That book meme

Matt has tagged me with that annoying book meme. Oh well here goes.

1. One book that changed your life - the hardest question first.
Unfortunantly I cannot actually remember it's name. It was a small book on the workings of the EU, I was vaguely pro-EU at the time. I was flipping through and came to a section on the European elections where it outlined how badly they where attended but how little power the elected representatives had so it didn't matter. This seemed an account of such a poor state of affairs that it had to be the result of a bias in the book, so I started looking more deeply into the EU to see if this was true. Soon I found it wasn't, but by then was also looking for the reasons for the EU. That was the start my journey to the Dark Side.

2. One book that you've read more than once
I read most of my books more than once. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson never looses it's power.

3. One book that you'd want on a desert island
The Koran or the Bible. Desert islands are not generally known for their abundance of loo paper.

4. One book that made you laugh
Catch 22

5. One book that made you cry
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

6. One book that you wish you had written
The Da Vinci Code. It's not a particually good book, but the royalties would make up for that. A less cynical answer would be Neuromancer by William Gibson, a great book and it's not everyday that you become the touchstone of an entire sub-genre.

7. One book you wish had never been written
Well there are so many that I could choose. The Koran, The Bible, or the Torah so that neither of the other two would have been writen. Maybe the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or (moving from fiction) The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kamph. But the answer is none of them. There is no book that I wish had never been written. It is just that I wish that people would not act in the murderous way some do after reading the above.

8. One book that you are reading at the moment
Secrets and Lies by Bruce Schneier

9. One book that you've been meaning to read
Too many to name, Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality by Michael Walzer is pretty high on the list.

10. Five others that you’d like to do this
Tom di Giovanni, Bishop Hill, The Longrider, Martine Martin and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran

more porn

A little more on the governments latest little increase in censorship. By the governments own numbers this measure is not wanted:
Respondents answered the question "Do you think the challenge posed by the Internet in this area requires the law to be strengthened?"as follows:1

No Yes Not Stated Totals
Individuals 223 90 0 313
Organisations2 18 53 13 84
Totals 241 143 13 397

1Those who answered ‘no’ to this question were typically against the proposals, those who answered ‘yes’ were in
favour of the proposals. A few answers were inconsistent with this trend; for instance some answered ‘yes’, and
explained they thought some new law or action was needed but then went on to express concern about the
proposed offence. In these small number of cases, their response was analysed and a notional ‘yes’ was entered if
they chose options 1, 2, or 3, and a ‘no’ was entered if they chose option 4 (‘do nothing’) or otherwise expressed
their opposition to the proposed legislation.

2‘Organisations’ indicates all responses not from individuals: this includes police forces, campaigning groups, charities, religious groups, professional bodes, government, and regulators.

Some people will argue that the availability of porn will lead to more people committing sexual violence. It won't. The available data is quite explicit. The availability of porn does not lead to sexual violence, it actually decreases the incidence of it.
The incidence of rape in the United States has declined 85% in the past 25 years while access to pornography has become freely available to teenagers and adults.
Not good enough? How about in the land of tentacle sex?
Within Japan itself, the dramatic increase in available pornography and sexually explicit materials is apparent to even a casual observer. This is concomitant with a general liberalization of restrictions on other sexual outlets as well. Also readily apparent from the information presented is that, over this period of change, sex crimes in every category, from rape to public indecency, sexual offenses from both ends of the criminal spectrum, significantly decreased in incidence.

Most significantly, despite the wide increase in availability of pornography to children, not only was there a decrease in sex crimes with juveniles as victims but the number of juvenile offenders also decreased significantly.
There will also be the argument that porn stars are all somehow forced into it, rather than doing porn because they get a kick out of it and like the money. This is not about non-consensual sex, which you might have realised is already a crime with stiff penalties, it is about people viewing porn that was probably made in a completely consensual way and could well have been made by the viewers themselves. Push the production and viewing underground and the chances of real non-consensual acts being involved increase considerably. It will also mean than owning works of art where it is known absolutely that everybody involved consented and nobody was harmed will be illegal, a point made by Frank Fisher in The Guardian
Well, any image that is pornographic, and involves violence that appears realistic and would result in death or serious or disabling results. Something like this would appear to fit the bill.

That's from Hitch's Frenzy, probably his most gruesome and sexually explicit killing, but of course the Master had dozens.
Think that is far fetched? Well how about this case of the police demanding sections of a book containing the works of respected photographer Robert Mapplethorpe be removed and destroyed from a university library after copies of some of the images inside, to be used as part of a thesis, where forwarded to them.

I will leave the final words to Frank Fisher
Nope, the Net is free, and governments don't like that. So the Net must become Evil and Dangerous, in order that the peepul will accept control.

Religion is stupid

This is absolutely superb. Evangelist drowns trying to walk on water after being given a message from god in a dream. He tells his congregation that he is going to walk over the Komo estuary:
He took his congregation to the beach saying he would walk across the Komo estuary, which takes 20 minutes by boat. He walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back.
It does not say if he had had children or not, because if not he could be up for a wonderfully ironic Darwin Award.

The Koran and Hadrith, and other violent porn

New Labour is planning to criminalise certain types of porn, because it might have interested somebody that later murdered a woman. Porn obviously being to sole motivating factor, and ignoring that access to porn decreases incedents of rape, dramatically. But then there where never any sexual murders before the internet. Oh no.

The Koran and Hadrith are claimed as inspiration for hundreds of murders each year, the murderers hoping their actions will lead to sexual gratification.

So lets ban the Koran and Hadrith. They depict and glorify a lot of violence; mass murder, forcing women into sexual slavery, as well as sex with girls as young as 9. They are known to have inspired vast numbers of killings over the centuries and are directly responsible for a legal system that kills hundreds every single year.

Lets ban the Bible, a book containing (and condoning) much violence, murder, even sexual slavery and genocide.

Lets ban satire, since Salman Rushdie's satirising lead to several deaths including his Japannese translator.

Lets ban dogs, because it was his neighbours dog that told Son of Sam to kill. He would obviously have never done anything violent where it not for the instuctions of his canine overlord.

Or maybe not.

Consuming fiction (be it pornographic, satirical, or religous) does not make anybody do anything. People are their own free agents, they can themselves alone choose their actions. It is actions alone that can cause harm to other people, so it is by actions that people should be judged. Not on something that might indicate that at some point in the future they may change their moral view of the world and could then, possibly, perform actions that harm others.

August 29, 2006

Religion is stupid

One of the oft made complaints about secular society is that it is undermining the basis of marriage by making divorce so easy. However nowhere is divorce as easy as it is under the religious Sharia Law, where it is so easy that you can get divorced by accident. It must have been a really great converation over the dinner table,
"So what did you do today darling?"
"Errm ... I got drunk and accidentally divorced you, can you pass the rice please?"
The poor wife now has to remarry a 70 year old for a day according to the local clerics (I wonder what age they are, not young I would guess). This is the wonderful legal code that Muslim 'community leaders' would prefer that their communities live under rather than the same laws as the rest of the country.

August 28, 2006

Proportional Representation in the Lords

There are many kinds of proportional representation. One of the worst is the Party List system as used in the European Elections. It gives the power of whether an MP is elected or not primarily to the parties not the people, so it is too the parties not the people that a politicians loyalty will lie. This is not some horrible conspiracy, merely the fact that politicians, like everybody else, follow their own self interests.

My bitch MP is Adrian Sanders, and he is a very good, responsive, local MP. As can be seen from his record. This is what you would expect for somebody with a majority of only 2000, making him 566th safest out of 643 MPs. If his seat, and all the goodies that go with it, where mainly the gift of central office then he would be working as hard to please them as he does to please his electors.

It does not therefore come as much as a surprise that the centralising control freaks of New Labour have chosen the same party list system to complete their 'reforms' of the House of Lords. It is hard to think of a system that is worse than a legislative house based on hereditary privilege, but after 10 years of experimentation it appears that New Labour have found one.

August 18, 2006

No updates for a week

No updates for a week

August 16, 2006

EU attempt to change UK justice system by the back door

The EU continues its slow but steady erosion of British sovereignty ready for the time when what used to be Great britain is just a province of the state called Europe. The EU is after our judicial system this time, what with 40% or more of all UK regulation originating in the unaccountable maw of the EU I guess they want the rest of the statute book to play with now as well. It should not be much of a surprise that they are using everybody's favorite excuse for actions without any logical reason, terrorism. But what does running the judicial systems of the member states really have to do with a free trade area, that is what was sold to the British people in the referendum of 1972? Well nothing, but that has never been the goal of the EU anyway.

Civil servants or masters?

We know that in the UK the bureaucracy has much higher average pay than the rest of society, the people that create the wealth that they extort for themselves. This is not just a quirk of the UK system, it also happens in the US where the civil servants 62% more than the average worker. As too why this happens? Well because it can. Civil servants are extremely hard to get rid of, the civil service has no competition and the only constraint on the amount that it extracts from it's workforce is the level of taxation that will lead to the fall of the governments that nominally controls them. Bureaucracies, like everybody else, are out for their own self interest but unlike everybody else they have fewer constraints and can therefore indulge their self interest more.

August 15, 2006

No to Sharia, the murderers charter

(Via DK) The fascist cunts want to use the latest terrorist plot by their fellow Islamists as an excuse to impose Sharia.That is to give in to the demands of the terrorists. This isn't the first steps to the imposition of Sharia, there have already been exception given on stamp duty for Sharia mortgages and the Inland Revenue has even considered giving special exemptions for (currently illegal) second wives. The demand is, currently, just for Sharia to cover family matters. The answer is a categorical no. If they want to live under that barbarous mediaeval code then there are plenty of shit heaps that have already implemented it. Choose one and leave. But if you really need to know what Sharia is about here is a little taster of what it would be like even if just applied to family matters.

Bored with your wife and want a second? Or third? Or fourth? Perhaps what you are really into is pre-pubesent girls and you want to fuck a nine year old? No problem just repeat after me, There is no God but Allah; and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. Perhaps you where driven wild by a woman proactively flaunting her shoulders at you and ended up raping her? No problem unless there are 4 men willing to back up her story then there is no crime, a woman's word not being worth as much as a man's. You can also get the little minx sent away for crimes against castity.

Is it your daughters that are causing the problem, they don't want to marry the illiterate cousin that you imported for them perhaps? Fancy stabbing her to death in front of the rest of the family to appease your honour? Just say the magic words and everything is nice and legal. Maybe it's your son, and your worried he might be ... you know ... batting for the other side as it were. Well Sharia is so nice and liberal that he even gets to choose what happens next! Get a wall pushed on top of him, publicly hung, or maybe he wants to be set on fire. He can't however choose to be shot, that would be too quick.

Muslims are a problem

Between a third and 40% of Muslims in this country want to live under Sharia law rather than British law, with demands from mulsim leaders that Sharia be imposed in the Muslim colonies. 24% think that the 7/7 bombings where justified. There is a problem with the Muslim minority in this country and it is nice to see somebody recognising it in Al Guardian rather than blaming the victims. Polly is right that we cannot give these religious fantatics a veto over british policy, and even if we did it would make no difference as the Islamists have their own agenda. Unfortuantely her blindness to anything but big government means that she is not able to see the quickest solution.

Polly recomends getting rid of faith schools (something which would be good in itself), but there are currently only 5 Muslim faith schools in the country. I too would prefer no faith schools, but that is not the problem. That Muslims self segregate into their colonies is why, as Polly says:
local school allocations that allow 90% of children to be Muslims in one state school while other schools nearby are mainly white.
The kids are sent to the nearest school to the colony which will therefore become a de facto Muslim school. Not that much schooling will happen there:
In primary schools, the report cites instances of first grade boys' refusing to participate in coed activities and Muslim children's refusing to sing, dance, or draw a face.
That is when they are in school
They [Ofsted inspectors] also found that extended holidays in Bangladesh which run into term-time can pose a particular problem to pupils’ progress.
Polly suggests a solution to this would be bussing kids all over the place to make sure that the schools are mixed, so eventually friendships between muslims and everyone else are formed slowly breaking into the myth of difference that Muslims weave around themselves. Selective education, even the secular Grammar schools, will be of no use here and could be detremental as to get in would require that the child has not just the apptitude, which many muslims certainly do have, but also the attitude of wanting to learn, which many Muslim children and their parents clearly do not have. But still at the end of the school day the Muslim kids will return to the Muslim colonies.

What is needed is the breakup of the Muslim colonies. There is a tool to do this much faster than chipping away over generations through the school system, the welfare system.
more than 30% of British Muslims of Pakistani origins are workless;
due to
over 30% of working-age Muslims have no qualifications, twice the national average
from not getting a good education.

But being so welfare dependent offers a point of leverage that would otherwise be missing. Publishing the forms required to get hold of these payments only in English would certainly be a good incentive to learn for the majority of the Muslim community that are not fluent in it, and therefore cannot operate outside the colonies. Cut benefits and suddenly more Muslims would have to find jobs rather than relying on handouts. Which would mean leaving the colony and interacting with the rest of the country. We cannot force integration, but we can force interaction with a hope that once Muslims get to know the other people that live in the UK as something more than a cash cow they will not feel the need to self segregate and may even integrate. Reducing welfare will cause 'muslim anger', in the short term, but so does everything. That is not a valid reason for not pursuing a course of action that may lead to integration.

August 13, 2006

Spot the difference

Last month the Pedant General cast his critical eye over a bit of Hezbollah propaganda. Those evil jooooz had according to Hezbollah fired one of their precision missiles on an ambulance, slamming through the red cross on the roof and exploding inside, killing nobody. They even had photographs of the ambulance to prove it, such as this one below:

Note how strangely undamaged it is. Especially when compared to the results of an Israeli car hit by one of the extremely imprecise missiles fired by Hezbollah in this picture found from Andrew Sullivan

Drink ... Feck ... EU

One of Labour's few, very few, liberal policies was liberalising the licensing laws so as to allow later drinking rather than the traditional (since world war one that is) dash to get as much down as possible just before 11pm as possible. Unfortunately The EU now seeks to restrict drinking, all in the name of making our lives healthier of course.
The EU proposals are based on a report entitled ‘Alcohol in Europe’, which was commissioned by DG SANCO from Dr Peter Anderson and the Institute of Alcohol Studies, a UK-based organisation hosted by the temperance-promoting Alliance House Foundation. It has called for higher taxes on alcohol, restrictions on cross channel shopping as well as a restriction on licensing hours
A temperance-pomoting organisation claims that drink is bad for you, now there is a turn up for the books. As this slowly churns through the EU decision making process do not expect any protestation from the government, yet more tax and one where the blame lands somewhere other than Gordon Brown.

One of the (few) benefits of being in the EU is freer trade and yet now the EU wants to restrict trade. A trade restricting free trade area. But then the EU never was supposed to be a free trade area, that was just an excuse, it has always been heading towards statehood and nothing else.

August 11, 2006

EU micromanagement

Do you keep your lights on whilst driving during the day? Do you care? The EU does, and wants everybody to be forced to keep their lights on at all times. And what exactly does this have to do with a free trade area? There is a reason that it has a reputation for silly laws to micromanage every part of peoples live. There are arguements for and agaisnt this proposal
Katherine Mill, for Greenpeace, said: "Any proposal that would have an impact by increasing CO2 emissions should be matched by one to counteract that." Dudley Curtis, spokes-man for the European Federation for Transport and Environment, added: "Keeping car lights on during the day will save lives. There's no reason why fuel-efficiency should take a big hit."
But neither seems to have struck on the obvious objection, that this has absolutely nothing to do with the EU and has no need for being regulated at the EU level.

The heathrow Islamic bomb plot

The number of arrests is up to 24, and there are also two people that have been arested in Pakistan in relation to this plot. There are reports that the police have found a suicide video from one of the suspects, so it looks like this was genuine Islamic Terrorism and not just willy waving by the security services to build up Fear. That might not be enough to satisfy Muslim leaders, with all their implied threats, but it is enough for me at present. So what could be behind it?

It wasn't about youth. Young men are prone to violence, but of the impulsive posturing kind. Not carefully planned mass murder.

It wasn't about race. Two of the suspects where white converts to Islam.

It wasn't about poverty. The suspects where generally university educated and middle class.

It wasn't about prospects. They where part of the small group of Muslims that where highly educated and so likely to get good jobs, not the 30% that leave school without education and so end up unemployable.

It wasn't much to do with Lebanon. The planning started months before the current phase of that conflict started.

It wasn't much to do with Iraq. Where it about Iraq why suddenly increase in anger now to suicidal levels when it has been a bloody mess (Islamists being behind most of the bloodshed) for years?

It wasn't a response to any backlash following the last Islamic Terrorist attacks. Because there wasn't any, nor will there be any this time despite preemptive calls of Muslim victimhood.

All of the suspects where Muslim, and the religion of peace is one of the major terrorist causes around the world at the moment. So perhaps these Muslims where Islamists, and planning to commit an act of terrorism in the name of Islam. Just like many Islamists around the world do daily, because Islamism has it's own agenda of death and destruction unrelated to anything that happens outside it.

August 10, 2006

Religion is stupid

and the overly religous are uneducated, deliberately.

I was taking calculus. I was a mathematics major and I was at a Christian college that was called Christian, but was not Christian....

I asked a question to my calculus professor: "What makes this course distinctly Christian?" He stopped. He said no one has ever asked that question before...

He said, "Okay, I'm a Christian; you're a Christian."

I said, "That's not what I asked! What makes this calculus course distinctly Christian? What makes this different from the local secular university? Are we using the same text? Yes. Are you teaching it the same way? Yes. Then why is this called a Christian college and that one a non-Christian college?

Mathematics isn't 'christian' therefore it is not just worthless, it is dangerous. I hope should this guy ever go into hospital he demands that the surgeon be one that knows no mathematics, or anatomy.

The Islamist plot, and their sympathisers

You might not be able to predict whether the plot this morning turns out to be real or not. But there are somethings that you can predict with certainty, as the Pub Philosopher notes:
We can be sure of some things though. Before the day is out, the usual suspects will claim that the attack was a response to Britain's stance on the Israel-Hizbollah conflict.
So what do we find in Al Gaurdian?
Now our diplomacy is sidelined. Our voice is an echo. Our moral authority scarcely exists. Our people are the targets of terrorism and the threats of terrorism, wherever they are, and whether they travel by underground or in the air.

Our government has endangered us. It is time we connected the dots.

We need Habeus Corpus

The police have foiled a major terrorist plot. Or maybe they haven't. This has lead to the arrest of 18 people, based on good inteligence gathered by the police. Or maybe it wasn't. The threat level has been pushed up to critical so an attack is expected imminently. Or it might not be.

What we do know is that Muslims are isolating themselves from the rest of the country. That Islam glories in death and that Islamists, and their fellow travellers, glory in terrorism. There will be more Islamic Terrorist attacks in the UK. But was this one? Or just an attempt by Labour to bury some bad news? That we do not know. We should not have to ask whether the government is arresting people and making up stories simply to stoke up Fear, but with Labour in power we do. We need to see the evidence, or to use that quaint legal term from before Labour: Habeus Corpus, but such quaint old notions have no place in Labour's modern Britian.

August 09, 2006

Hezbollah's propoganda war

As EU Referendum continues it's work exposing how the news has been staged in Lebanon I think I'll stick my oar in. I don't want to talk about the faked smoke as I find the faked missile attack much more interesting. Here it is again if you haven't seen it yet:

What is happening here is that an Israeli F16 has deployed flares and is banking heavily as it's pilot thinks he is under attack. What the caption said was that it was an Israeli F16 after it had just released missiles. This sums up perfectly the propaganda campaign that Hezbollah has been waging so successfully against Israel, with the media's full cooperation.

The image is purely of the Israelis, no context that there might be anything else of of interest about the situation, there is no indication that Hezbollah has done anything at all, it's attack is ignored. Like the missiles that Hezbollah has been firing against Israel for the last 6 years are ignored. Like the fact that Hezbollah deliberately started this conflict by raiding Israel to kidnapping Israeli soldiers. An act it knew would provoke a serious response having seen the government of Palestine use exactly the same tactic, and get the same response, the previous month. The Israeli jet is firing flares (not missiles), a defensive maneuver, but this is transformed into an aggressive one. Like how Israel after being attacked is using the provocation to finally hit back in an attempt to defend it's citizens from yet more years of indiscriminate bombardment from Hezbollah. But a more nuanced approach would wreak the 'David vs. Goliath' story that they are trying to build, a tale of a sassy underdog and a powerful aggressor being much easier to sell. Even if it has little to do with the truth.

August 08, 2006

Israeli intransience

This time it is Israeli intransience. The Lebonese government has agreed to move it's troops into the south and prevent Hezbullah from any more attacks. Israel should accept, but you can see the reason for their reluctance since the Lebonese government includes Hezbullah. So the Israelis do have reason to worry about whether the Lebonese government will actively police a ceasefire when one of the parties in it is commited to breaking any ceasefire.

Had the lebonese government done this a long time ago rather than allowing the south to become a de facto Hezbullah controlled territory then a lot of blood shed could have been avoided. A compromise will probably be reached involving the lebonses military plus international observers, hopefully sooner rather than later, but the ball is now in the Israeli court.

Harry's Place: Sparte-Smythe Speaks

A very funny send up of the 'ooh, jackboots ... shiny' tendency in the Left.

Harry's Place: Sparte-Smythe Speaks

A very funny send up of the 'ooh, jackboots ... shiny' tendency in the Left.

August 07, 2006

24% of UK Muslims back 7/7 attacks

24% of UK Muslims back 7/7 attacks where justified (via the Pub Philosopher), and there is a rally of somewhere between 20,000 and 100,000 in support of a terrorist group dedicated to the destruction of a democratic state, and it's replacement with a despotic tyranny, while openly advocating genocide. They are calling for a ceasefire, one that has now been offered, but rejected by Hezbollah. Hezbollah's use of it's war crimes to gain good publicity is obviously working too well stop now. Even without the pictures being deliberately doctored the results of Israel's misses are good propaganda. Especially when no European news source will run anything about what happens when Hezbollah's rockets hit their intended target.

But we must feel sorry for the Islamists, they started this fight and are therefore the victims. We must feel sorry for the ordinary Muslims, having long tolerated and sympathized with the Islamist faction amongst them are now beginning to be treated as Islamist sympathizers. Any divergence from this line can lead to a pointed critique. We are told that bringing the rather high number of Muslim citizens in the west that follow the Islamist agenda might bring about a backlash against them. Like the one that didn't happen after 9/11, or the one that didn't happen after 7/11. There having not been any retaliation attacks after these acts of terrorism, and there having never been any open advocates of genocide, so obviously there are dark impulses in the western soul that must be restrained at all costs. So all support must be given to groups that are pledged to the destruction of liberal values or the west will find it's liberal values destroyed.

Hezbollah refuse ceasefire

Since Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers prevoking the current conflict, it's previously having fired rockets into Isreal for years not having had the proper effect forcing an Israeli response, there have been many calling for a ceasefire. Here is the google definition of a ceasefire:
A ceasefire is a temporary stoppage of a war, or any armed conflict, where each side of the conflict agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions.
And here from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
cease-fire or cease·fire (ssfr)

1. An order to stop firing.
2. Suspension of active hostilities; a truce.
Seems quite strait forward, and this is exactly what the current UN resolution proposes
The draft calls for a full cessation of hostilities, telling Hezbollah to end attacks immediately and saying Israel should stop all offensive military operations - although Israel is permitted to defend itself.
Israel seems happy with stopping hosilities, but wants to remain in place until an international force can be assembled to police the truce. This is quite understandable considering that they have been under rocket attack from Hezbollah for years and when they unilaterally pulled out of Gaza the rockets started flying from there as well the very day after. The problem with a ceasefire is not Israel, it is Hezbollah.
"Lebanon, all of Lebanon, rejects any talks and any draft resolution" that do not address these demands, said Nabih Berri of Hezbollah, the speaker of the Lebanese parliament.
What Hezbollah wants is not a ceasefire, they want something a bit different
Hezbollah ministers in the Lebanese Government say that their party's fighters will not stop firing until every Israeli soldier has left Lebanese soil.
That is not a ceasefire. What Hezbollah wants is for the international community to give it a victory in a fight that it started when it knew that it had no hope of victory otherwise. Hence Hezbollah's use of tactics designed to maximise civilian causalties (itself a war crime) with the results stage managed to maximum effect, or simply made up by sympathetic reporters.

more taxes

Personally I don't have much in the way of debts, I make sure that I spend only what I earn. A foolish idea I know, when there is the Welfare State around to penalise such behaviour. Many people follow the calling of the Welfare State and so spend far more than they earn:
A record 26,000 people became insolvent in England and Wales during the second quarter of 2006 - 66% more than in the same period last year.
This is personal bankrupcy increasing, not business
In total, 3,265 firms went to the wall, representing a decrease of 3.3% on the same period last year.
Why could this be happening with inflation so low? Well perhaps partly because inflation is not so low, compared to earings growth it is only 0.5% above RPI. Except that we do not use RPI anymore as during the preparations for joining the Euro the Bank of England switched to CPI, which shows there a clear 1.3% gap of earnings growth over inflation. It could also be very well to do with the fact that people are bing taxed to till the pips squeak.

The latest taxes pretend to be about helping the enviroment. Except that they aren't actually for that at all, such as the return of the ever increasing fuelu taxes. Fuel Duty is a very good enviromental tax since it specifically targets the problem, CO2, and nothing else. Burn more fuel, preduce more carbon, pay more tax. But if it where being used as an enviromental tax it should be priced at the cost of said carbon, internalising the externality, which would be 3.95p per litre. Government also wants increased road tax, despite all the enviromental impact of a car journey having already been priced into it thanks to Fuel Duty. Plus lower speed limits rigerously enforced, a code for more revenue robots making the roads less safe.

I know my largest expense, and it's tax. Yet the government still wants yet more taxes. Just a little more money and it will make all the difference to public services they whine, despite the money that they have been hosing the public sector down with having made no difference what so ever to services. If I had just a little more money it would also make a difference, I could look in the mirror and not count my ribs.

Islamic Terrorism

Apparently the Met Police is worried that Muslims seem to be being targeted for stop and search due to fears about Islamic Terrorism. Now I wonder why that would be, not because Islam might just have something to do with Islamism perhaps? Obviously not there being so many christian, hindu, buddhist, and atheist Islamic Terrorists around. But we cannot have anything that might suggest that Muslims have anything to do with Islamic Terrorism, as that could make them angry and might lead some to commiting acts of Terrorism in the name of Islam.

August 05, 2006

Don't be fooled by the fanatics

Now here is something that you won't find in the pages of Al Guardian a piece about Islam's liberals. They have actually found some, rather than claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood writers beloved by Al Groan are anything other than imperialist fascists.
Man from the Netherlands: “We, as Muslims, need to look in the mirror instead of blaming everybody else!”

Woman from Germany: “I don’t have an identity crisis. I’m Western and Muslim and grateful to be both.”

Imam from Britain: “The minute a woman becomes a mufti [Islamic judge], I will be the first to study at her feet.”

August 03, 2006

Britain Adopts Threat Levels

Security expert Bruce Schneier has a round up of his thoughts on the threat levels britain has just adopted. In short they are a terribly stupid idea if your aim is to improve security. For reasoned argument from an expert you should read it. However if you just want ranting ... I think that Labour won't even find this thing useful for it's true reason, stoking up Fear at politically advantageous moments. They have set the initial level too high, there is no room for tweaking it around in order to lull people to a state of lowered panic before blasting it up to put the frighteners on when they need them.

ID cards, why won't they just die?

While he won't be writing it Tony Blair has today said that ID Cards will be in Labour's next election manifesto. Everybody knows that they will not work. Even the civil servants that are going to have to implement the damn things know that they will not work. The biometric passport that was the original excuse as to why they where needed has already been hacked, it's design being "Brain dead", so expect the supposedly flawlessly secure ID Cards to fall equally quickly should they ever get out in the wild.

Why won't ID Cards just die? Nothing else for it. Stake, cross, holy water. Time to go to work.

arrested for playing in a tree

Nobody seems to have really picked this one up, and I only found it on Slashdot (not your normal place for UK politics), btu it really is a damning inditement of the current state of the country. Children arrested, DNA tested, interrogated and locked up for playing in a tree. Children havign harmless fun, but somebody obviously worried that it wasn't government approved harmless fun somebody phones the Stasi police complaining according to the spokesman:
Superintendent Stuart Johnson, operations manager at Halesowen police station, said: 'I support the actions of my officers who responded to complaints from the public about "kids destroying" an ornamental cherry tree by stripping every branch from it, in an area where there have been reports of anti-social behaviour.
Perhaps once the person in question would have been willing to ask them to find another tree in which to play. But not anymore, and so a situtation that should have been resolved by social preasure is transformed into one requiring to full force of the state as the state has for the last 50 years been trying to destroy these social alternatives to it's own overwhelming power.


The Welfare State continues it's slow decline into irrelivancy, reliant as it is on central government rationing of sevices it will never be able to provide as good a service as a system that uses a market for it's rationing. An example would be this story (via DK) of a man with only months to live being denied treatment by the NHS because his need wasn't great enough. He was able to get treatment within days by not using the NHS. We have heard stories like this before, such as this man with a brain tumour that only got it diagnoused because his colleagues had a whip round to pay for his getting the scan he needed privately. Had he waited for the NHS he would have died. Or this one (via The Englishman) about a deaf toddler refused treatment on both his ears because the powers that be thought he only needed one. Waiting lists are completely unheard of in market based systems, such as in France or Germany, but for a centrally rationed system like the NHS they are a requirement. So much so that any attempt to reduce waiting times below the government proscribed times will lead to financial penalties. Hence why some trusts secretly run a system of two waiting lists, the official one and the waiting list to get onto the waiting list, just to make sure that the lists are always at the time that will maximise the resources that central government directs to each Trust.

August 02, 2006

top ten places for doing business

The top ten places for doing business are:
1 New Zealand
2 Singapore
3 United States
4 Canada
5 Norway
6 Australia
7 Hong Kong, China
8 Denmark
9 United Kingdom
10 Japan

From the World Bank via this blog.

Religion is stupid

Religion is stupid, but good for a laughing at. An article that discribes the way that almost every religion in the world has ever worked.

sci-fi sounding, but real, method of nuclear waste desposal

Tim Worstall is pointing to an interesting way of speeding up the decay of nuclear waste. Embed it in a metal and then cool it to a few degrees above absolute zero, and the decay rate of certain materials increases that decay by alpha particle or positron emmision. This is because the negitively charged free electrons in the metal are able to give an extra bit of pull on the escaping particles so that they require less energy to break free from the effects of the Strong Force that binds them into the atomic nuclius, since they require less energy it will take less time before the random energy flutuations caused by the Uncertainly Principal temporalily give the escaping particle enough energy to escape.
They are now investigating the α-decay of radium-226, a hazardous component of spent nuclear fuel with a half-life of 1600 years. Rolfs calculates that this half-life could be reduced to as little as a year and at the very least to 100 years
However there is a problem with trying to use this on an industrial scale, that is that it takes an aweful lot of energy to cool things down to close to absolute zero. Scaling up the cryogenic systems that we currently use would be very expensive for the quanitities of material required. One way to do it might be to place them in space with a parasol to shield it from the heat of the sun, this will get you to some very low tempartures effectively for 'free' just needing to cover the costs of getting it up there. Another use for the Space Elevator perhaps?

Solar panels in Currys

There is a friendly article in the guardian by Lucy Mangan today on Currys starting to sell solar pannels for home electricity in four of it's branches. They can generate 40% of a households electricity needs, over the course of a year so they can produce a greater percentage of the needed juice in summer than winter when you have to relie on the grid. Obviously currys think that there is a market for these things and like good capitalists have moved to exploit it. However I am not going to part of it, you see they cost £9000, my flat is powered entirely by electricity but at that price it will take 22 years for them to pay for themselves in the cost saving on my bill. So at the moment I will wait for the market to reduce the price to something a little more affordable.

August 01, 2006

Tory's can be authoritarian bastards to

Living in Torquay there is often acres of bare flesh on display, often acres just on one person. So I can quite understand how the sight of a walking lard mountain wobbling down the street is not the most aesthetically pleasing of sights. But having their bodies that way is their choice, and should they want to display them to the fullest extent that is also their choice. If you don't want want to know the result of a few chips too many, then just look away.

Unfortunately some people cannot grasp that simple concept. Such as this Tory councillor who wants to ban men walking around bare chested in public.
Last weekend, former local government minister Nicholas Bennett, who is now a senior councillor in Bromley, Kent, e-mailed Conservative councillors across England asking if any council had introduced a bylaw to prohibit men from exposing themselves in such an unattractive manner.
If somebody chooses to dress in klan couture in order to remain modest because of their religion, then that is fine (being force to wear one is completely different matter). However so is going around skyclad, should that be what your invisible friend tells you to do. Perhaps your chip based body building has given you a physique that is simply better suited to living on ice flows in the arctic than the warm weather we have been having recently and you need to keep cool.

Your body is your property and nobody has the right to dictate the way it is decorated. Nobody has ever died because of aesthetic shock.