Saturday, February 26, 2011
Clark Cross (letter) said that the Scottish Renewables spokesman is paid, via the windmill "industry" out of "hidden charges in our electricity bills" mandated by government. The truth is even more appalling.
Its membership, on their online site, shows a large part of their subsidy comes directly from government departments & quangos. Most disgraceful is subsidy by the Scottish Development Agency whose £350 million is nominally to develop the Scottish economy rather than subject it and us to power bills 10 times larger than they need be.
Government is using ever more taxpayer's money to finance "independent" organisations (known in the blogsphere as "fakecharities") who propagandise for ever bigger government bureaucracy taking ever more taxes to solve what are usually non-existent problems.
There is barely a scare story, whether it be about global warming, passive smoking or salt which cannot be traced back to some government funded front organisation.
As Mencken said "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
Friday, February 25, 2011
Public Choice Theory is economists, not the most successfully predictive science but far better than the political sort, applying their rules to the problems of government. It seems to work much better:
"As James Buchanan artfully defined it, public choice is “politics without romance.” The wishful thinking it displaced presumes that participants in the political sphere aspire to promote the common good. In the conventional “public interest” view, public officials are portrayed as benevolent “public servants” who faithfully carry out the “will of the people.” In tending to the public’s business, voters, politicians, and policymakers are supposed somehow to rise above their own parochial concerns.
In modeling the behavior of individuals as driven by the goal of utility maximization—economics jargon for a personal sense of well-being—economists do not deny that people care about their families, friends, and community. But public choice, like the economic model of rational behavior on which it rests, assumes that people are guided chiefly by their own self-interests and, more important, that the motivations of people in the political process are no different from those of people in the steak, housing, or car market. They are the same human beings, after all. As such, voters “vote their pocketbooks,” supporting candidates and ballot propositions they think will make them personally better off; bureaucrats strive to advance their own careers; and politicians seek election or reelection to office. Public choice, in other words, simply transfers the rational actor model of economic theory to the realm of politics.
Two insights follow immediately from economists’ study of collective choice processes. First, the individual becomes the fundamental unit of analysis. Public choice rejects the construction of organic decision-making units, such as “the people,” “the community,” or “society.” Groups do not make choices; only individuals do. The problem then becomes how to model the ways in which the diverse and often conflicting preferences of self-interested individuals get expressed and collated when decisions are made collectively.
Second, public and private choice processes differ, not because the motivations of actors are different, but because of stark differences in the incentives and constraints that channel the pursuit of self-interest in the two settings. A prospective home buyer, for example, chooses among the available alternatives in light of his personal circumstances and fully captures the benefits and bears the costs of his own choice. The purchase decision is voluntary, and a bargain will be struck only if both buyer and seller are made better off. If, on the other hand, a politician proposes a project that promises to protect the new homeowner’s community from flooding, action depends on at least some of his neighbors voting for a tax on themselves and others. Because the project’s benefits and costs will be shared, there is no guarantee that everyone’s welfare will be improved. Support for the project will likely be forthcoming from the owners of houses located on the floodplain, who expect to benefit the most. Their support will be strengthened if taxes are assessed uniformly on the community as a whole. Homeowners far from the floodplain, for whom the costs of the project exceed expected benefits, rationally will vote against the proposal; if they find themselves in the minority, they will be coerced into paying for it. Unless the voting rule requires unanimous consent, which allows any individual to veto a proposal that would harm him, or unless those harmed can relocate easily to another political jurisdiction, collective decision-making processes allow the majority to impose its preferences on the minority. Public choice scholars have identified even deeper problems with democratic decision-making processes, however." ctd
Thursday, February 24, 2011
However he recently denounced Bill Aitken, a Conservative MSP, in terms of pseudo outrage for having made the politically incorrect but surely factual remark that women who are not prostitutes are likely, on balance, to be more traumatised by forced sex than those who are. If anybody wishes to dispute that please do but they should produce some evidence or at the very least believable line of reasoning rather than merely assert that it it must be so because it is politically incorrect.
I put up a post saying that there was some hypocrisy in denouncing a simple remark on the grounds that it showed insufficient respect for prostitutes while censoring even the very mention of our government's complicity in sex slavery. In this case it was clearly on topic.
It got censored.
There is therefore no question that Jeff 's post was not, in the slightest degree, motivated by concern for the victims. It was simply a cheap attack on somebody purely for being a Conservative politician. Jeff himself has clearly, entirely deliberately, censored to promote sex slavery and child rape (also genocide but that is off topic).
If this is the highest standard of integrity one may expect from even the most thoughtful members of the eco-fascist "left" and clearly it is, there are no circumstances whatsoever under which any of them can be worthy of any respect.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
"Refuse disposal is one of those issues which I find seriously depressing – on several levels. On a professional level, trained and qualified in the arcane ways of managing Britain's waste, I find it offensive that our effective and economic systems have been destroyed, to be replaced by a shambolic mess.
At a second level, my status as a taxpayer kicks in, where it becomes doubly offensive to see the waste shambles set to cost us an additional £10 billion in set up and infrastructure costs, plus an additional £8bn a year to run, all for absolutely no gain – in fact, quite the reverse, a worse system. It is difficult to know what is more offensive – that it is to cost more, or that we get a worse system for the extra money...
we once had a refuse disposal system admired across the world, which made landfilling a public benefit, not something to be looked on as almost as evil as smoking."
Indeed. We spend that 8 billion on sorting rubbish into categories which still leaves it more expensive to "mine" it than to refine natural ores. The alleged justification for this is a shortage of landfill, ie holes in the ground.because the eco-fascists don't like us filling them in.
Meanwhile we are digging out hundreds of millions of tons of coal from open cast mines which the eco-fascists object to because they leave holes in the ground.
So more government parasitism is required and billions must be wasted to solve an artificial shortage and an artificial surplus of the same thing (or same nothing) at the same time.
Oh for the days when we could do something about people who tell us what to do Bernard Cribbins - Hole in the ground
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Andrew McKie’s column today in which he denounced the Alternative Vote (AV) system was strange (“Clegg dreams an impossible dream: a fair voting system,” The Herald, February 21).Published unedited. I didn't expect this to go in but Andrew McKie's article needed answering.
For him to tell us to be grateful we aren’t living in Libya does not convince. The contention that AV would increase party power is clearly wrong because the problem with first past the post is that it leaves us with the choice of only two parties, neither of which has shown outstanding competence, to choose from. He is certainly correct that AV is not nearly as good an option as full PR but this hardly fits comfortably with the fact that the people saying that are the very ones who, for decades, have denied us that third option. If they believe that, then it was dishonourable to prevent us having that choice. He has a point that total fairness is impossible and that it is theoretically possible, though unlikely, that even under AV someone might very occasionally be elected with less than 50% of the vote, as happens now in the overwhelming majority of seats. This is to argue that nobody should ever attempt to improve anything until perfection is attainable, which is both foolish and not how the real world works.
There may be arguments for the current system, other than the obvious self-serving one, that it gives security and power to the Labour/Conservative hierarchies. If so Mr McKie, or indeed anybody in the No campaign, should have put them. Instead we see that the No campaign is refusing to participate in a broadcast formal debate which is not convincing evidence that even they are comfortable with their case.
Monday, February 21, 2011
TAXPAYERS could face an extra £100 million bill for the new Forth road bridge if it affects an underground pipeline, ministers have admitted.
Finance Secretary John Swinney will this week tell MSPs that because the southern approach to the £2 billion bridge crosses the BP Forties system, the Government must indemnify the oil giant against any losses caused by roadworks or accidents.
The alternative would be to re-route the approach at a cost of £200 million, or re-route the pipeline, which would cost more than the whole bridge...
Mr Swinney will brief MSPs on Holyrood’s finance committee about the “contingent liability” in a special closed session tomorrow.
He is expected to stress any compensation in the event of an “incident” would be capped at £100m, and that the risk is theoretical, not probable...
However Mr Swinney’s request for the committee to approve the liability is bound to raise questions about the final cost of what is already the most expensive capital project in Scottish history.
In 2009, ministers needed parliament’s approval for another contingent liability on the bridge, to repay £10m incurred by construction consortia who made losing bids for the project.
The latest jump will also raise questions about why the pipeline liability wasn’t highlighted during the passage of the Forth Crossing Bill, which was approved by MSPs in December, or in this month’s budget process...
Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who supports repairing the current bridge instead of building a new one, said: “It’s breath-taking that the Government have only now come clean about an additional possible cost of £100m.
“Parliament should have been informed before signing off the project.”
Indeed. To be fair it is only a contingent liability i.e. if there is no interruption in the oil pipe it will not be called on. I was astonished to see the remark that rerouting the pipeline would cost more than £2.3 billion since it would only involve rerouting a short distance and I don't remember any news about the entire pipe costing hundreds of billions. Perhaps this is simply a sign that just as the new bridge costs 8 times, in real terms, what the previous one cost it is simply symptomatic of how, under our insane government regulatory system everything costs far more than it need do.
I could find no costing of the original pipeline online but there was this
BP's Forties Pipeline will be completely shut by 6am on Sunday as a two-day strike by workers at the Grangemouth oil refinery begins.
The pipeline, which brings in 700,000 barrels of oil a day from the North Sea, is powered from the Grangemouth site...
The move – which could cost an estimated £50 million a day in lost production
So allowance is being made for only a 2 day closure, or possibly 1 day and repairs completed within it.
The government have already spent 10s of millions, at least, on inquiries etc on this bridge & if remotely competent could not possibly have been unaware of this. Just as TIE, the government overseers of the Edinburgh tram project could not possibly, if remotely competent, have been unaware of pipes running under Edinburgh streets but say they were. It looks like the costs of this "world class" project are out of control before a shovel has been raised.
Looking at a list of the world's most expensive structures our new bridge currently places 25th at $3.75 but the target to make it truly "world class" will be to make it more expensive that the only bridge currently ahead of it - the Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge which is is £3.8 bn as well as being nearly twice as long, 6 lines wide; much higher allow ocean liners to pass and designed to withstand hurricanes and earthquakes.
I have to say I think our numptocracy are up to the task
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Number of the Week: 682%. From 1960 to 2010 wheat production in India went from 10,320 (1000 Metric Tons) to 80,710 (1000 MT) - an increase of 682 percent. According to the measurements at Mauna Loa Observatory, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration in 1960 was below 320 ppm and in 2010 it is about 390 ppm - an increase of 22%. No doubt the "green revolution" of better seeds, farming practices and fertilizer plus removal of government price controls greatly contributed to increased wheat production in India, but so did CO2
. I have previously discussed this this graph in connection with the agreed fact that human CO2 production amounts to only 3% of total CO2 production. This means that CO2 simply cannot rise, from purely human causes beyond the stage at which it causes plant and ocean absorption to rise 3%. This in turn suggests that the present CO2 rise simply isn't caused by human beings & is thus very probably a n example of CO2 levels historically lagging solar caused warm periods by about 800 years (in our case lagging the Medieval warm Period)
We would expect, from the graph, that a 22% from 320 parts per million, the solid line point, to 390 that we should see about a 5% increase in crops. That means that of India's 80.7 million tons of grain only 76.9 would be from agricultural causes.
That, while it means 4 million extra tons of food for the people doesn't greatly affect the impressive increase achieved by human progress in the field. Nor indeed the impressive effects of any compound growth formula. 80.7 million tons, a 682% increase, is an average increase of 4.2% each year. An increase to 76.9 million. an increase of 645% amounts to 4.1%.
The increase in food supply is not large compared to Moore's Law where we see computer capacity increasing from 41% annually yo over 100%. Not is it large compared to the 2 orders of magnitude increase in materials strength (steel to buckeytubes) over under 50 years ie over 10% annually.
However all 3 are enormously greater annual rates than humanity has ever achieved before. The 3 taken together establish overwhelming evidence that the era of human progress has barely opened. And that all the Luddite politicians and government funded propagandists saying we should expect/look forward to an end to the economic expansion the Greens say we must abandon.
That is why, despite all the lunacies of those in charge & their hobgoblin lies I am confident in the future.
On the other hand I may be wrong. Paul Ehrlich who, from the grants and awards he gets, must still be considered as representing the very best accuracy to which the eco-Nazi movement aspire:
"This [cooling] trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century." and advocated cutting off all attempts to aid India because "In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now." Ehrlich also stated, "India couldn't possibly feed two hundred million more people by 1980,"
The boss of the IPCC says "Climate change is bringing down wheat production in India... Agriculture productivity, particularly of wheat, has shown signs of going down as a result of the climate change,...”
Anybody suggesting that the eco-fascists, including Cameron, Miliband and Clegg, the BBC etc etc who, through our taxes, deliberately fund such liars should ever, under any circumstances be treated as more trustworthy than we Cornucopians must explain why, or prove themselves to be wholly corrupt too.