Piketty and scientific fraud

scientific method phd comics

The diagram above works just as well for climate change as it does for almost every left-of-centre political meme based on some kind of scientific conclusion. But I mention it because of Piketty and his apparently fraudulent data on income distribution. It doesn’t surprise me that hiding the decline is a universal practice on the left. But the real issue is that it should not matter.

You have to be ignorant as the day is long not to know that capitalism has made us wealthy beyond all possible expectation, even going back thirty years never mind three hundred. We now have a vast number of people who do not work because we produce at such a prodigious rate that it just doesn’t require more than about a quarter of the working population to produce enough for us to maintain a 1950s and better lifestyle for those who choose not to bother actually earning an income. In our society who hasn’t got a phone, a car, a colour TV, enough to eat, clothes to wear and a place to live. There are always people on the fringe who circumstances have dealt a bad card, but really we are beyond any issue of deprivation that had existed for the entire course of human history up until say around that same 1950s mark.

So Piketty lied. The people who line up behind the book will care about that as much as they did about Climategate. It is about power and wealth, with the facts of the case as close to a non-issue as it is possible to be. The only interesting question about wealth distribution to these people is that they would like more of our wealth distributed to themselves.

QPR v Derby

Tonight’s the night to decide who will go back to the Premier League. The video is of my QPR side from the 1970s that ended up runners up to Liverpool. A great great side.


60 min: Gary O’Neil is sent off! Lee Mason took a moment or two to consult with his assistant and although Clint Hill was trying to make up the ground from the left, he was too far away and O’Neil had to go. O’Neil doesn’t bother complaining and QPR are down to 10 men!

GOAL! Derby 0-1 QPR (Zamora, 90 min)
Bobby Zamora has repeated his heroics from 2005 and surely won it for QPR! Derby are stunned. It all came from a throw, but what a horrible mess. Hoilett battled his way past a limp challenge to reach the byline on the right and send a low ball into the area. There wasn’t much of a problem for Derby – until Keogh took a hapless swipe at it and sent it straight to Zamora, who sized it up, opened up his body and then curled a delicious first-time effort high past Grant and into the top-right corner with his left foot! What a finish! The 10 men lead!

Full-time: Derby 0-1 QPR
Bobby Zamora has sent QPR back into the Premier League! Incredible!

The highlights tape of the whole game.

Some needed balance, however, from Theodore Dalrymple:

Sport is morally and financially corrupt from top to bottom. Of the corruption at the top it is hardly necessary to speak. And the lessons it teaches, even at an amateur level, are horrible: win at all costs, be unscrupulous, cheat if necessary, take drugs to make you stronger. It arouses primitive, violent emotions, and appears to be worsening in this regard: the authors quote statistics showing that severe aggression was reported in 7,750 amateur football matches in France in 2006-7, and in the year following in 12,008 matches (half of the incidents were of real violence).


A policy experiment in the South Pacific

Apparently we ran an experiment in economic policy here in the South Pacific which is described here:

[New Zealand] Treasurer Bill English said last week that he would cut public spending as a share of gross domestic product by more than twice as much as the Abbott government has announced.

In fact, without a minerals boom to line government coffers and despite a huge repair bill from two devastating earthquakes, New Zealand’s budget will be back in surplus by $NZ400 million ($370m) next financial year, rising to $NZ3.5bn by 2018.

English, now in his sixth year as New Zealand’s Treasurer, commendably chose not to emulate the world’s greatest treasurer Wayne Swan and kept a tight leash on public spending before and after the global financial crisis, preferring to cut income taxes and lift consumption tax. The Key government, facing election again later this year, is now reaping the rewards.

It wasn’t just our Wayne who took this road to ruin. Virtually everywhere was the same, with the US leading the way into an economic darkness it is impossible to see ending any time soon. But try to tell someone that Y=C+I+G is an economic death trap. But if you doubt it, look at the comparison with Australia.

The culmination of almost two decades of mainly populist budgets, the Abbott government will spend $6200 a person on cash welfare next year, over 25 per cent more than New Zealand’s government will on each of its citizens (converting all amounts to Australian dollars).

Education spending, at $2900 a person, is 10 per cent more generous in Australia but health expenditure is torrential by comparison: Australian state and federal governments will lavish more than $4600 a person to keep Australians alive and healthy, almost 50 per cent more than is spent in New Zealand. No methodological quibble could bridge such stark differences.

The relative splurge extends to hiring, too. Australia’s population of 23.5 million is about 5.2 times New Zealand’s, but as of June last year we had 8.4 times as many public servants: 1.89 million across our state, federal and local governments compared with New Zealand’s 226,000. . . .

Apart from a bloated public sector and a wellspring of whingeing, what does Australia get for its vastly more indulgent public spending? Much higher taxes, for one thing. The marginal income rate most Australians will pay from July — 34.5 per cent — will be higher even than New Zealand’s top 33 per cent rate, which makes a mockery of our 49 per cent top rate, which will be higher than China’s and France’s.

Undisciplined government spending will pull an economy into the dust. Such spending is a disaster both economically and then politically as governments try to pull things right.

And then there is also the delusion that low interest rates will propel an economy upwards, yet another Keynesian bequest.

Even rising interest rates have been unable to dent record high confidence levels among New Zealand households and businesses.

There is no “even” about it. High interest rates, or at least high enough to shut non-productive borrowers out of the money market, are a major factor in keeping an economy on track and growing. Economic theory today is comparable to the theories Adam Smith was writing about criticising in 1776 if not actually worse.

Her indignant right to the income of others

Gloria (in excelsis), the telephone sex worker (wink, wink), has her say in today’s Age, having been “seething for weeks”:

She has a range of illnesses, including emphysema, and was particularly incensed about the proposed $7 GP visit fee.

It is probably ungracious for me to mention it but you can go to a doctor three times for the price of a pack of smokes, or perhaps we could say, for the return on 14 minutes of telephone sex. Why does anyone think free medicine is a right?

North Korea in the battle against climate change

korea arial view

This is truly beyond parody. From The Guardian, North Korea: an unlikely champion in the fight against climate change. As the story says:

North Korea’s energy security problem is well documented, revolving around four distinct challenges: supply, generation, power transmission, and secondary usage. Of these four challenges, electricity generation and transmission are the two that can be addressed through the UNFCCC.

Renewable energy may be the most appropriate vehicle for increasing generation capacity because unlike large centralised fossil-fuels, renewables can be scaled locally which reduces their up-front cost.

Just how batty are these people. From Powerline where Steve Hayward thought the story might have come from The Onion but this is so disconnected from reality that insanity comes to mind as a possible inspiration.

A repressive ideological police state

dea wounds

The United States is becoming an ideologically driven police state. The ideology is a Rampant Liberalism where no distinctions are permitted to be said in a host of areas at risk of career and reputation. In all these areas, and you know what they are, the rule is that if you have nothing good to say then don’t say anything at all. But this ideological assault is now being coupled with a repressive use of the policing agencies. The US remains prosperous because of its inheritance from the past, but even that is no longer guaranteed going forwards say a decade and a half. It is this story that has again brought these issues to mind.

Look at the above picture. Does she look like the sort of person who would attack an armed officer of the law especially where there were quite a number of other such armed officers of the law right there as well. Here’s the story.

This is a photo of Arielle Lipsen (a good friend of mine) who was thrown to the ground and hit with the butt of a DEA agent’s rifle. She is now wrongfully being charged with assaulting a federal agent during a DEA raid of her sister’s smoke shop in Texas. Her sister gave the following statement to a local news site:

“She was having a conversation with a female agent, and trying to give the agents the lock code,” Ilana Lipsen claimed. “She was trying to tell them there was no key, but a code. There were too many officers and about half of them were doing nothing, then this one agent charged at her, threw her, kicked her legs out from under her, and when she was falling, her leg brushed up against his leg. That’s when he said ‘you’re trying to beat a federal agent’ and shoved the butt of his rifle into her neck.” (via BigBendNow)

Arielle reached out to me last night asking if I could help get eyes on her story because not only is she being wrongly accused, but her bond restrictions are insane. She said: “Part of the bond restrictions is that my sister retract all her statements from the press and say that I was never assaulted and that she lied.”

There are a lot more details here, here and here.

She asked me if I could get people’s eyes on this story. This is a thing to scream about. There’s no reason for a federal agent to put his hands on an unarmed, unthreatening citizen. Not only was she assaulted (LOOK AT THAT PHOTO) but now they might actually send her to jail.

Wow. Can they put restrictions like that on her bond?? They won’t let her out unless they tell the press they lied? I can’t eve wrap my brain around that.

This is from the account in the local paper:

On Tuesday, both Ilana and Arielle Lipsen were indicted on federal charges.

Arielle Lipsen was indicted on one count of assault on a federal officer causing bodily injury and Ilana Lipsen was indicted on one count of person under indictment receipt of ammunition.

Purple Zone owners Ilana Lipson, and her mother, Rosa Lipsen, are currently under state indictment for multiple first-degree felony manufacture, deliver, or possession of a controlled substance following four previous raids beginning in November 2012.

They’ve pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“They’re just trying to find something against me,” Ilana said. “This is extreme harassment. I’m aware of my 4th Amendment rights and they violated it.”

The catalyst for the most current raid, Lipsen also claims, was her internet search history, as well as her business dealings with China.

“They link people with internet search history. I own a hookah lounge, so I’m always looking at new products, and I breed, train, and show Arabian horses, so I’m always looking at them online. I do business with China. All my e-cigarette merchandise is bought directly from Chinese distributors,” she said. “It’s the last reach from the DEA in Brewster to get something from nothing. There were 30-plus officers at my shop, and they seized my personal and business computers, my camera, my cell phone, and my registered guns. They also seized packages of kratom, which is a legal herbal stimulant. They absolutely did not find anything illicit or any contraband.”

The officers, Lipsen also said, turned the security cameras in her shop to face the walls and not capture any agents in the raid.

“I’m not aware of the agents doing that,” said DEA Spokesperson Lilia Rico, who also said that the DEA don’t run cameras during raids.

The guns and ammunition seized in the raid, Rico also said, were taken as Lipsen is currently under state indictment.

Photos by citizen photojournalist Cochran that he had posted to Facebook during the end of the raid were deleted, then reposted once Facebook officials found nothing conflicting with their code, despite requests from authorities.

“The whole deal is just scary,” said Cochran, who witnessed the tail end of the raid. “It just shows the violent, confrontational aspects of modern policing and the increasing militarization of the nation’s police forces, as well as accusations of funding terrorism to get access and warrants against anyone.”

The use of terror, Cochran and Lipsen said, has been a part of Operation Synergy phase II.

“They claimed that I had ties with Hezbollah and Syria, which is ridiculous,” said Lipsen. “How can I, a Jewish woman who supports the State of Israel, contribute to those groups or states?”

And then from C.L. we have this, AWFUL! Imperial Cops Murder Afghan Vet For Missing Plates (SHOCKING VIDEO). The man is already in handcuffs when the police set upon him. This is the essence of the story:

Police stopped Afghan veteran for missing plates.

Tommy Yancy was savagely beaten, tasered and attacked by five officers after the traffic stop.

Yancy died on the street.

And here’s the video:

There are still people who will discuss these things in public so the news can get out. The reasons, though, we know any of this at all is because there are still people foolhardy enough to say things in public and with pocket videos everywhere, some of it gets recorded, But with the IRS and other federal agencies on the loose, you must be a very brave person to take any of these things on. Not only is this out of control, there seems to be no feedback loop that will end any of this any time soon.

The intial story via Instapundit.

What comes from listening to your enemies and not your friends

Given the star studded cast here at Catallaxy, I am almost embarrassed to mention that I found my way into The Australian this morning, but there you are. It’s a story by Christian Kerr on the various kites that were flown in advance of the budget [mixed metaphor alert] to test the waters. Here is the relevant passage from the complete story:

An obsession with kite-flying and budget cosmetics has left the government reeling in the wake of the worst received economic statement in two decades, experts say. . . .

RMIT University economist Steve Kates said that hit was harder than it could have been because of “strangely muted” messaging from the government in its first months in power.

“What they needed to do was sit down and talk about the structure of the budget and the looming deficits right away,” Dr Kates said.

He said voters would have understood the need for cuts if they knew about “landmines” left behind by the Gillard government.

“They didn’t make the case about the state of the economy,” he said. “They left themselves ­extremely vulnerable.”

He said the release of the audit commission report was left too late, meaning its recommen­dations were lost among budget speculation.

The thing about the budget is that not one person came out and said, “that’s nailed it; just what we needed”. It has been disappointment all round, a gift to Labor. It is a major question where to lay blame for this screw up of a budget. It didn’t go anywhere near addressing the problems that needed to be addressed, it’s a mish mash of policies that are defensible but only barely, and the political side has been atrocious. Reading Martin Parkinson’s comments both yesterday on the budget and today on superannuation reminds me the extent to which Joe Hockey was led around by Treasury. This was Martin Parkinson yesterday:

The Australian public needs to know that the nation faces a challenge and a tough budget was necessary, Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson says.

Dr Parkinson said while it was not his role to comment on specific government policies, Australians “deserve” to know there is a challenge ahead.

“It’s within my responsibility as Treasury secretary to say to the community we do have to actually take this seriously to start to address the issue,” Dr Parkinson told a business lunch in Sydney on Tuesday.

“It is (a challenge) that if we start today to take sensible decisions, particularly those that are essentially structural policy changes that take place over time, we’ll be in a much better situation.

“Otherwise we’re banking the house on 33 years of uninterrupted economic growth and there’s no precedent for that.

“We’re banking on another 10 years of fiscal drag and … that has quite significant regressive impacts.”

Parkinson should have gone on Day One. Instead, a Labor man to his back teeth, he has led this government down a primrose path and into a wilderness of policies only a Keynesian could think would make a significant difference and even then, ones no Labor government would touch. Where were Hockey’s political instincts, never mind his economic judgment, when all this advice was being put to him? Doesn’t Joe read Catallaxy, and if not, why not?

Welcome to the United States

welcome to new york

I read the brief rap on this story, Actor Alec Baldwin arrested after riding bike wrong way, and thought typical arrogance, right down to the “don’t you know who I am?” business. But then I read the actual sequence of events, which included his arrest because he did not have identification with him as he was doing what everyone who rides a bike has done at some point in their lives. And who wouldn’t have been irritated. Read it.

Actor Alec Baldwin was arrested Tuesday and issued two summonses — one for disorderly conduct — after riding a bicycle the wrong way on a New York street, police said.

The “30 Rock” star allegedly became angry and started yelling at police after they asked him for identification to give him a summons, police said. The other summons was for riding a bike against the flow of traffic. Baldwin is to appear in court July 24.

“Police stated that he got belligerent and started arguing with them and using profanity,” Deputy Chief Kim Y. Royster said.

Baldwin was not carrying identification and police took him into custody, police said.

The actor reportedly became angry at the officers, yelling “Give me the summons already,” a law enforcement official said.

After his release, Baldwin took to Twitter, posting the badge number of the officer he said arrested him and saying, “photographers outside my home ONCE AGAIN terrified my daughter and nearly hit her with a camera. The police did nothing.”

In another tweet, he lamented, “New York City is a mismanaged carnival of stupidity that is desperate for revenue and anxious to criminalize behavior once thought benign.”

Once in custody, Baldwin was taken to a nearby precinct, where he reportedly asked the desk supervisor: “How old are these officers, that they don’t know who I am?” according to a law enforcement official.

Baldwin was stopped for riding a bicycle the wrong way on Fifth Avenue and 16th Street, police said.

The only reason you might know that someone was arrested and handcuffed for riding a bike on the wrong side of the street is because it is Alex Baldwin. This story could not happen in any other country in the world. This is definitely an “only in America” story. Can you actually disagree with him where he wrote, “New York City is a mismanaged carnival of stupidity that is desperate for revenue and anxious to criminalize behavior once thought benign.”

America is in a very dangerous place.

alex baldwin in handcuffs

The kind of video that makes me think about how I came to be so that I could think about how I came to be

This is an incredible video that came with this story on The Washington Post Is Super Confused About Where Babies Come From. The Washington Post is confused about many things, so why not this too? But the evidence that life begins at conception is unarguable unless there’s another agenda in play.