February 3, 2010

Turning a retreat into a rout

Filed under: Environment, Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 13:00

ESR calls for even more naming and shaming of the climate fraudsters:

I too long to see the frauds and the fellow-travellers in the hell they’ve earned for themselves. But revenge, while it’s a tasty dish that long-time public “deniers” like Delingpole and myself are now thoroughly enjoying, isn’t the best reason to hound them and their enabling organizations out of public life. The best reason not to relent, to name and shame the fraudsters and shatter their reputations and humilate them — ideally, to the point where there’s a rash of prominent suicides as a result — is this:

If we don’t destroy them, they’ll surely ramp up yet another colossal, politicized eco-fraud to plague us all.

He’s quite right, many of the people deeply involved in the swindle would have been just as happy in another pseudo-scientific attempt to wrest control of the economy in order to “protect us” from ourselves.

Any conspiracies in sight? Yes, actually . . .

Conspiracy #1: Most of the environmental movement is composed of innocent Gaianists, but not all of it. There’s a hard core that’s sort of a zombie remnant of Soviet psyops. Their goals are political: trash capitalism, resurrect socialism from the dustbin of history. They’re actually more like what I have elsewhere called a prospiracy, having lost their proper conspiratorial armature when KGB Department V folded up in 1992. There aren’t a lot of them, but they’re very, very good at co-opting others and they drive the Gaianists like sheep. I don’t think there’s significant overlap with the scientists here; the zombies are concentrated in universities, all right, but mostly in the humanities and grievance-studies departments.

Conspiracy #2: The hockey team itself. Read the emails. Small, tight-knit, cooperating through covert channels, very focused on destroying its enemies, using false fronts like realclimate.org. There’s your classic conspiracy profile.

My model of what’s been going on is basically this: The hockey team starts an error cascade that sweeps up a lot of scientists. The AGW meme awakens chiliastic emotional responses in a lot of Gaianists. The zombies and the green-shirts grab onto that quasi-religious wave as a political strategem (the difference is that the zombies actively want to trash capitalism, while the green-shirts just want to hobble and milk it). Pro-AGW scientists get more funding from the green-shirts within governments, which reinforces the error cascade — it’s easier not to question when your grant money would be at risk for doing so. After a few times around this cycle, the hockey team notices it’s riding a tiger and starts on the criminal-conspiracy stuff so it will never have to risk getting off.

There’s lots here . . . go read the whole thing.

More on Premier Williams’ medical decision

Filed under: Cancon, Health, Politics — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 12:07

Following up to yesterday’s post on Newfoundland and Labrador premier Danny Williams and his decision to seek care out-of-country for his heart condition:

I have always argued that every Canadian should be free to seek treatment wherever he or she wants. Elective or lifesaving, complicated or straightforward, it is none of my business where Danny Williams goes for his operation, or who pays for it.

True, there would be something of a hypocrisy factor at play if Mr. Williams has preached the virtues of Canada’s state-monopoly care and now, when he has to put his faith in the system, he has flown the coop rather than stand in line for a treatment he could receive here.

But we don’t know what exactly is wrong with the brash and charming politician, who is one of the few chunks of flavour in the floury roux of Canadian politics. Perhaps what ails him can only be fixed south of the border — in which case, the province might even have paid for his treatment in a foreign clinic.

The point I am trying to make here is that only because we have turned health care into a political hot potato are any of us even wondering whether the premier is justified in going to an American clinic.

Well, when an ordinary person has to wait months and months just to see a specialist, and then wait even longer for surgery, while the political class can (apparently) get immediate attention and care, it becomes difficult to continue believing that all Canadians are entitled to equal care . . .

I can’t disagree with Lorne Gunter here:

What I resent is the way premiers and prime ministers won’t free you or me to buy insurance that would enable us to procure first-class care in times of need. What I resent is the way many limousine liberals lash us to the mast of the good ship Medicare, then run off to the United States when it’s their lives or their families’ on the line. They are like public school trustees who send their kids to private school.

Perhaps the Vikings should draft to replace McKinnie

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 09:45

Judd Zulgad rounds up the rather pathetic story of Vikings offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie’s Pro Bowl antics:

McKinnie was booted off the NFC roster after missing three of four practices, all but one meeting and even the team photo last week. After using his twitter account to document his partying ways, McKinnie also used twitter to say that he was in the process of pulling out of the game because of injury. However, that did little to help his NFC teammates. The fact is McKinnie was kicked off the roster and it was too late to replace him.

Craig was told that McKinnie became a “running joke” among players on the NFC roster — something that isn’t funny at all in reality. So how is McKinnie taking all of this? Well, it appeared that last night and early this morning he was back to using twitter to express himself.

Among McKinnie’s tweets:

— “What I realize is ppl like negative that’s what sells [at] the end of the day.”

That was followed by:


— “That’s My Motto! So Feed me the hate! All yall doing is make me stronger! Don’t know what yall Talking bout! THanx 4 getting me followes!”

— “I’m thankful 4 every1 who voted 4 me from the bottom of my heart!”

— “I give the LORD PRAISE 4 giving me the strength 2 deal anything that come my way and 4 being by my side! ONLY GOD can JUDGE ME!”

Unlike defensive linemen, where hearing their names mentioned during a game usually means they did something good, hearing the name of your offensive tackle mentioned in a broadcast usually means they’re scraping your quarterback up off the turf. McKinnie’s name got mentioned a lot this year.

If his Pro Bowl behaviour is typical of his regular season behaviour, the Vikings would be well advised to look to replace him during the draft in April. Stars who have behaviour issues can be tolerated, but his star value isn’t anywhere near as high as he seems to think it is.

Canada’s economy judged (marginally) more free than the US

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Government, Liberty, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 09:30

H/T to Power Line blog for the image.

Paul Volcker praises Canadian banking system

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 08:50

Expect this to continue to be the story of the week in Canadian newspapers:

Paul Volcker, the former U.S. Federal Reserve Board chairman who’s now a key economic advisor to the White House, told U.S. lawmakers Tuesday they ought to learn from Canada’s banking system as they seek to overhaul rules governing the biggest U.S. banks.

Speaking at a hearing to tout his proposal to rein in risky investing activities by large U.S. commercial banks, Mr. Volcker said the life’s work of Canadian banks is retail banking: “That’s no longer true of great big American banks.”

With just five or six banks dominating the industry, Canada’s banks benefit from having less competition, Mr. Volcker said. “It’s a stable oligopoly.”

There’s a mixed blessing in that: fewer banks means less competition, so there’s less need for banks to compete for customers in meaningful ways. Look at the feeding frenzy once banks were allowed to buy trust companies . . . partly because trust companies were more actively competing for business. Having a “stable oligopoly” has benefits, but consumers have fewer choices on where to bank, and banks have far less pressure to lower fees or increase services.

Here’s what Americans may find the most unexpected part of the story:

Canada’s banking system also has been shielded by the fact that it has less government interference in its mortgage market, unlike in the United States, where banks have been pressured by the government to make low-cost loans to the economically disadvantaged, he said.

Mr. Volcker’s endorsement of Canada’s banking system — the only Group of Seven nation that didn’t need taxpayers to bail out its banks — came two days after The New York Times published a piece by Nobel Prize-winning economist and columnist Paul Krugman that said the United States should emulate Canada’s financial regulatory regime.

Unfortunately, the wrong lesson is likely to be drawn from this: much of the reason Canada’s banks didn’t need to be bailed out was the much lower political interference in their lending policies. Instead, US politicians are likely to insist on even more political interference to achieve the “right” result.

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