As if The Life of Bryan could be made today

From Terry Jones: Python and Renaissance man.

First and foremost, Jones will be remembered as a Python, with his directorial tour de forceLife of Brian (1979), the pinnacle of his achievements. At the time, the film – which told the story of a man, born on the same day, and next door to, Jesus Christ, who finds himself mistaken for the Messiah – won plenty of plaudits, but also plenty of opprobrium, particularly from the Christian right. Thirty-nine local authorities refused to screen it. Those cinemas that did were picketed by evangelical groups.

The images of crucifixion, in particular, were considered exciting and groundbreaking, or sacrilegious and beyond the pale, depending on your viewpoint. The scandal came to a head in a TV debate – still worth watching – in which Palin and Cleese effortlessly deconstructed Catholic journalist and satirist Malcolm Muggeridge and the Bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood.

Don’t know much biology

For those in doubt, this is from Wikipedia: Woman. Includes this:

Typically, a woman has two X chromosomes and is capable of pregnancy and giving birth from puberty until menopause.

And if someone does not have two X chromosomes, and is not capable of pregnancy and giving birth from puberty until menopause, or not even capable of menopause?

Here’s the full article the video is from: Women’s March ‘Feminists’ Unable to Define ‘What a Woman Is. As for the title of the post, it comes from here:

Strange visuals for a love song, btw. This is more like it and as far from the Women’s Parade as it is possible to be.

A movie from a galaxy far far away.

Bryan Noakes (1930-2020)

The less anyone notices the workings of the Industrial Relations system, the better it is actually working. Bryan Noakes passed away yesterday and this is in memoriam. I will just add that no one has had more influence on my professional life than Bryan who employed me at the Confederation of Australian Industry in 1980 where I continued as its Chief Economist until 2004. And as a personal memory, it is Bryan sitting across the table from Bob Hawke negotiating some agreement. You need a phlegmatic personality and a cast-iron constitution to sit through such moments – which I do not have – without getting angry but just get back into it for hours on end. Bryan did enormous amounts on behalf of this country that no one outside a small group within the “Industrial Relations Club” will ever have the slightest idea about.

One of Australia’s leading employer advocates both nationally and internationally, Bryan Noakes, died on Tuesday at the age of 89 after years of ill-health.

Noakes served in leading and senior positions with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and its predecessors from the 1960s through to the early 2000s.

In 2001, when he retired as ACCI’s director-general (industrial), he said the highlights of his career had been the achievement of labour market reforms in the 1980s and 1990s and steering the Confederation of Australian Industry’s 1991 landmark policy shift away from support for a centralised IR system.

His ACCI successor Peter Anderson, now a Fair Work Commission deputy president, said Noakes’ contribution to the national IR system had been formidable.

Even after his retirement he had continued to be a source of counsel to many, “myself included”.

“He was a serious man but did not take himself too seriously,” Anderson said.

“With his passing, and that of Bob Hawke and George Polites in the same 12-month-period, it is the end of an era of three industrial relations giants of our past generation.”

Bryan Noakes joined the Australian Council of Employers’ Federations (ACEF) in the early 1960s as an IR advisor on major construction projects, after cutting his teeth on the Snowy Mountains hydroelectricity project.

He eventually became the director-general of the Confederation of Australian Industry (which succeeded the ACEF) after the retirement of George Polites in 1983 and continued in a leading role with the formation of ACCI in 1992.

In a statement this week, ACCI described Noakes as a “significant, respected and well-liked figure across the political and industrial divide”.

He had worked “tirelessly” to represent the business community over a period of profound challenges in Australian industrial relations and resulting legislative reform under the Hawke, Keating and Howard governments.

Another FWC member and ACCI colleague, Deputy President Reg Hamilton, said Noakes’ advocacy had played a major role in tribunal decisions and the major legislative changes of 1988, 1993 and 1996.

“He was able to judge proportionality well and avoided the obvious mistakes of appeasement or extremism.

“He also had good personal relationships with nearly everyone.”

While Noakes retired from ACCI in 2001, he completed his term (in 2004) as a member of the governing body of the International Labour Organisation, representing Asia-Pacific employers.

Deputy President Anderson said it was in the international arena where Noakes’ “star shined most brightly” and his “patient but firm advocacy” prompted governments to improve law and practice on industrial issues.

In its statement ACCI said Noakes won recognition for his significant work protecting the fundamental rights of both employers and trade unionists throughout the world through the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA) and had been instrumental in the creation of an employer voice for the Asia Pacific region, through the Confederation of Asia Pacific Employers (CAPE).

ACCI workplace relations director Scott Barklamb said the perspectives Noakes developed from four decades at the peak of Australian and global IR continued to inform the work of ACCI.

“Union and employer colleagues throughout the world ask after Bryan to this day and express their profound respect and appreciation for his work, particularly as a leading figure in the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA).”

In 2003 Noakes became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his “service to industrial relations in Australia and overseas through policy development, fostering improved relations between employers and employees and as an expert in the area of international labour law” (see Related Article).

In February last year he attended a memorial celebration following the death of his former colleague and leader George Polites who he described as an influential figure who “always had a solution and it always worked”.

Just three months later he was paying tribute to another contemporary, former Prime Minister and ACTU secretary Bob Hawke.

“It is a cause for pause and reflection that two of our nation’s greatest industrial figures, Bob Hawke and George Polites respected differences, found common interest and have now passed at grand ages within months of each other,” he said in a personal statement following Hawke’s death.

Why is Robert Skidelsky speaking at Mont Pelerin??

I’m off to the regional meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in Palo Alto which is the meeting of the remnants of the last few remaining supporters of market economies not only as the means to prosperity, but also as a necessary element in the preservation of political freedom.

So imagine my astonishment to see this as one of the sessions being on offer:

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm Lessons Learned from History for the Future of Freedom
Gabriel Calzada, Universidad Francisco Marroquín (Chair)
Victor Davis Hanson, Hoover Institution
Amity Shlaes, Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation
Robert Skidelsky, Warwick University

This is from Robert Skidelsky’s Wikipedia page:

In September 2015, Skidelsky endorsed Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign in the Labour Party leadership election, writing in The Guardian: “Corbyn should be praised, not castigated, for bringing to public attention these serious issues concerning the role of the state and the best ways to finance its activities. The fact that he is dismissed for doing so illustrates the dangerous complacency of today’s political elites. Millions in Europe rightly feel that the current economic order fails to serve their interests. What will they do if their protests are simply ignored?”

As a minor matter next to this, but not minor to me, is that he is the most prominent defender of Keynesian economics, along with Paul Krugman, anywhere in the world. There is also a fact virtually unmentioned on his own Wikipedia page but mentioned here in relation to a disgraceful book he published at the start of the GFC: Keynes: The Return of the Master.

Keynes: The Return of the Master is a 2009 book by economic historian Robert Skidelsky. The work discusses the economic theories and philosophy of John Maynard Keynes, and argues about their relevance to the world following the Financial crisis of 2007–2010.

I’m not surprised he is reluctant to have the book mentioned. Want more? From the same source:

Chapter 8 sums up Keynes’s relevance to the current age as of 2009. The author suggests that Keynes would likely advise us to rethink macroeconomic policy, with a greater emphasis on balanced growth and with a somewhat large role for government in ensuring there is a smooth flow of investment to help protect the economy from unpredictable shocks. Macroeconomics should be reformed so that it again recognises the role of uncertainty and so it draws on other areas of knowledge such as history and International political economy, with a less central role for maths. The global savings glut needs to be addressed. Ethics should once again have a role in guiding capitalism, as should Keynes’s vision of harmony, where differences are cherished rather than pressured to conform, as can be the case with current concepts of “social cohesion” and “consensus”.

Why is such an out and out socialist being allowed to speak at Mont Pelerin? And on that minor matter of Keynes, this is the most recent cover description for my next book which I have just sent to the publisher.

Classical Economic Theory and the Modern Economy’

Steven Kates

Economic theory reached its highest level of analytical power and depth in the middle of the nineteenth century among John Stuart Mill and his contemporaries. This book explains classical economics when it was at its height, followed by an analysis of what took place as  a result of the ensuing Marginal and Keynesian Revolutions that have left economists less able to understand how economies operate.

Chapters explore the false mythology that has obscured the arguments of classical economists, clouding to the point of near invisibility the theories they had developed. Kates offers a thorough understanding of the operation of an economy within a classical framework, providing a new perspective for viewing modern economic theory from the outside. This provocative book not only explains the meaning of Say’s Law in an accessible way, but also the origins of the Keynesian revolution and Keynes’s pathway in writing The General Theory. It provides a new look at the classical theory of value at its height that was not based, as so many now wrongly believe, on the labour theory of value.

A crucial read for economic policy-makers seeking to understand the operation of a market economy, this book should also be of keen interest to economists generally as well as scholars in the history of economic thought.

 

Learned ignorance page after page

Went into a bookshop today and went to the politics section and this was a part of the selection of what I found. There must have been around a dozen books on American politics, that were all were desperately anti-Trump and with many of them turned towards us potential readers to ensure we saw what there was.

Nothing will apparently educate the “educated”. Their ignorance is invincible. Their shallowness knows no depths. The incapacity to learn from actual real world experience is capacious. It is truly frightening how much they don’t know about so much, but worse, the extent to which they will close their ears and eyes to alternatives.

I find it the same in discussing economics with many of these so-called experts. The American economy may never have prospered as it now is. Jobs numbers are increasing while real wages at the bottom of the income distribution are rising for the first time in decades.

PDT foreign policy is another area where one success follows another. I am sickened at the thought that Iran could just blow an airliner out of the sky. Seriously, whose side are they on? It’s not yours.

The consistency of the left

No one can be more consistent than the leaders of a modern left-side party. Policies are irrelevant – they just do or say whatever will lead them to power. Take this for an example: Oppose Iran sanctions, but support BDS against Israel?

Contrary to the claims of some of its apologists, the purpose of BDS is not to pressure Israel’s government to change its policies. As the founders of the movement and its leading advocates in the United States have repeatedly made clear, its goal is to eliminate Israel.

So if you support BDS against Israel but oppose sanctions against Iran—a brutal theocracy that oppresses its own people, seeks to impose its brand of Islamist tyranny on others via terrorism, and is dedicated to the goal of destroying Israel—then you are not merely being hypocritical. Singling out Jews for treatment that you think not even one of the worst governments on earth deserves is a form of bias that is indistinguishable from anti-Semitism.

Then there’s this:

Donald Trump and the mythmakers from Caroline Glick.

For the past 40-odd years, two narratives have guided American Middle East policy. Both were invented by the Carter administration. One relates to Iran. One relates to Israel.

Both narratives reject reality as the basis for foreign policy decision-making in favor of delusion. Over the past two months, President Donald Trump has rejected and disavowed them both. His opponents are apoplectic.

As far as Iran is concerned, as journalist Lee Smith explained in Tablet online magazine this week, when Iranian “students” seized the US Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, they placed the Carter administration in a dilemma: If President Jimmy Carter acknowledged that the “students” weren’t students, but soldiers of Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Khomeini, the US would be compelled to fight back. And Carter and his advisers didn’t want to do that.

So rather than admit the truth, Carter accepted the absurd fiction spun by the regime that Khomeini was an innocent bystander who, try as he might, couldn’t get a bunch of “students” in central Tehran to free the hostages.

 At the base of their decision to prefer fantasy to reality in regards to Iran was the hope that Khomeini and his “students” would be satisfied with a pound or two of American flesh and wouldn’t cause Washington too many other problems.

So too, as Smith noted, the Carter administration was propelled by guilt. The worldviews of many members of the administration had been shaped on radical university campuses in the 1960s. They agreed with the Iranian revolutionaries who cursed Americans as imperialists. They perceived Khomeini and his followers as “authentic” Third World actors who were giving the Americans their comeuppance.

Khomeini and his “Death to America” shouting followers got the message. They understood that Washington had given them a green light to attack Americans in moderate and, as Smith put it, “plausibly deniable” doses. it. For the next 40 years, Iran maintained its aggression against America. And from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, every president since Carter accepted and kept faith with Carter’s decision not to hold the Iranian regime responsible for the acts of aggression and war it carried out against America through proxies.

Which continues:

This then brings us to President Trump. Trump’s decision to kill Qassem Soleimani – who as commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force was the head of all of Iran’s regional and global terror apparatuses – destroyed the Carter administration’s Iran narrative.

Soleimani was killed in Baghdad along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the commander of one of the Soleimani-controlled Shiite militias in Iraq. Iraqi protesters, who have been demonstrating against Iran’s control over their government since last October claim that Soleimani was the one who ordered al-Muhandis to kill the demonstrators. More than 500 demonstrators have been killed by those forces in Iraq over the past three months.

By killing the two together, the Americans exposed the big lie at the root of 40 years of American deliberate blindness to the reality of Iranian culpability and responsibility for the acts of terror and aggression its surrogates have carried out against America and its allies.

By killing Soleimani, Trump made clear that the blank check for aggression the previous six presidents gave Tehran is now canceled. From now on, the regime will be held responsible for its actions. From now on US policy towards Iran will be based on reality and not on escapism.

At least from now on until the next post-modernist clown, looking to preserve every possible constituency, takes over, which must happen eventually.

The Battle of Warsaw 1920

From The war that saved Europe from Communism, from a hundred years ago. Here’s the conclusion from a book written by the English ambassador to Poland at the time the battle took place.

Had the Poles “failed to arrest the triumphant advance of the Soviet Army at the Battle of Warsaw, not only would Christianity have experienced a dangerous reverse, but the very existence of western civilisation would have been imperilled.”

Just as the Battle of Tours “saved our ancestors from the Yoke of the Koran”, he concluded, had the Poles “failed to arrest the triumphant advance of the Soviet Army at the Battle of Warsaw, not only would Christianity have experienced a dangerous reverse, but the very existence of western civilisation would have been imperilled.”

Just as the Battle of Tours “saved our ancestors from the Yoke of the Koran”, he concluded, so the Battle of Warsaw saved Western Euro
had the Poles “failed to arrest the triumphant advance of the Soviet Army at the Battle of Warsaw, not only would Christianity have experienced a dangerous reverse, but the very existence of western civilisation would have been imperilled.”

Just as the Battle of Tours “saved our ancestors from the Yoke of the Koran”, he concluded, so the Battle of Warsaw saved Western Europe from “a far more subversive danger – the fanatical tyranny of the Soviet.”

Here’s the movie with subtitles:

Not to mention the Battle of Vienna, 1683.